On August 4, a rally in Stockholm that was expected to be attended by far-right anti-Islam groups from across Europe and the United States only drew 200. To put that in perspective, the so-called 'counter-jihad' protestors were outnumbered by anti-racist protestors who staged a counter protest just as many have done with the Westboro Baptist Church protestors in recent weeks.
The rally was organized by groups including the English Defence League (EDL) which has gained international attention through similar protests earlier this year, and from an admiring shout-out given to them by Anders Behring Breivik in his online manifesto. Breivik made international headlines when he killed 77 people in Norway because he felt that they were enabling the Islamization of the west. The group said that despite his comments they have no link to Breivik.
Nottingham University's Matthew Goodwin, an expert on British far-right militant groups, claimed that there was a strategic importance to the meeting of far-right groups, despite that the counter protest was larger. He claims that there is essentially a large level of anti-Islamic sentiment needed to attract even relatively small groups to these types of rallies because of the way the media and the greater public will view them.
It is not incredibly surprising that certain European nations would have such a reaction to the immigration of Muslims. Not only because of the reputation that radical Islam has given to all who practice the faith, but also because there are some nations in Europe that have grown accustomed to fairly homogenous population. The common culture and ancestry that many share in not like what is experienced in the United States because the United States is a nation of immigrants.
That is not to say that these groups are not racist hate groups or that the United States has been any better at avoiding the harsh anti-Islam sentiment because it has not, but it does have the unique ability to understand that this has happened before to many different faiths and ethnic groups. In the end, historians will point out that the west is in no more danger from Sharia law or a worldwide jihad than it was when opponents claimed that President Kennedy would be beholden to the Pope if elected in 1960.