Ethos of Extremism – Part Six


David Myatt
Extracts from
Part Six: 1998-2002

The Ethos of Extremism
Some Reflexions on Politics and A Fanatical Life

Introduction [From Part One]
As someone variously described – by assorted academics, authors, journalists, politicians, and others – as an extremist, a fanatic, a theoretician of terror [1], a neo-nazi thug, the man who shaped mind of a bomber, an example of the axis between right-wing extremists and Islamists [2], a man of extreme and calculated hatred [3], as someone at the forefront of extreme right-wing ideology in Britain since the mid-1960s [4], a ferocious Jihadi [5], and as an ardent defender of bin Laden [6], some personal reflexions on my forty years of extremism may be of interest to a few people, especially given that, as a result of experience, a pathei-mathos, I have come to reject racism, National-Socialism, hatred, and all forms of extremism, having developed a personal weltanschauung, a non-religious numinous way, centred around empathy, compassion, fairness, and love.

In respect of my extremist past – whatever and whenever the extremism – there has been, and there remains:

“…a deep sorrow within me; born from a knowing of inexcusable personal mistakes made, inexcusable suffering caused, of fortunities lost; a sorrow deepened by a knowing, a feeling, a learning, of how important, how human, a personal love is. Indeed, that love is the most important, the most human, the most numinous, virtue of all.” [7]

These brief reflexions are primarily concerned with past personal feelings, past political experiences, and past motivation – that is, with perhaps some of the underlying causes of extremism – and I have striven to be as honest as possible in describing these even if the result is an unfavourable impression of me or at least of the person I was. Furthermore, I will leave others to judge these former feelings, experiences, and motivations, of mine, and draw whatever conclusions, if any, they can about such extremism as I describe – be such conclusions personal, or political, or arrived at by means of some social or psychological theory applicable to subjects such as extremism and its causes.

On a more academic note, it might be useful to explain how I, in the light of practical experience, understand important terms such as extremism. By extreme I mean to be harsh, so that an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic. Thus extremism is considered to be: (1) the result of such harshness, and (2) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. In addition, a fanatic is considered to be someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.

In respect of racism, I accept the standard definition, which is that racism is a prejudice and antagonism toward people regarded as belonging to another ‘race’, as well as the belief some ‘races’ are better than or superior to others, and that what is termed ‘race’ defines and explains, or can define and explain, the behaviour and the character of the people considered to belong to some postulated ‘race’.

Note: […] indicates omitted text.

Extracts from
Part Six: 1998-2002

Conversion to Islam

There was no sudden decision to convert to Islam. Rather, it was the culmination of a process that began a decade earlier with travels in the Sahara Desert. During the decade before my conversion I regularly travelled abroad, with this travel including well-over a dozen visits to Egypt and a few visits to other lands where the majority of the population were Muslim.

Egypt, especially, enchanted me; and not because of the profundity of ancient monuments. Rather because of the people, their culture, and the land itself. How life, outside of Cairo, seemed to mostly cling to the Nile – small settlements, patches and strips of verdanity, beside the flowing water and hemmed in by dry desert. I loved the silence, the solitude, the heat, of the desert; the feeling of there being precariously balanced between life and death, dependant on carried water, food; the feeling of smallness, a minute and fragile speck of life; the vast panorama of sky. There was a purity there, human life in its essence, and it was so easy, so very easy, to feel in such a stark environment that there was, must be, a God, a Creator, who could decide if one lived or died.

Once, after a long trip into the Western Desert, I returned to Cairo to stay at some small quite run-down hotel: on one side, a Mosque, while not that far away on the other side was a night-club. A strange, quixotic, juxtaposition that seemed to capture something of the real modern Egypt. Of course, very early next morning the Adhaan from the mosque woke me. I did not mind. Indeed, I found it hauntingly beautiful and, strangely, not strange at all; as if it was some long-forgotten and happy memory, from childhood perhaps.

Once, I happened to be cycling from Cairo airport to the centre of the city as dawn broke, my route taking me past several Mosques. So timeless, so beautiful, the architecture, the minarets, framed by the rising sun…

Once, and many years before my conversion, I bought from a bookshop in Cairo a copy of the Quran containing the text in Arabic with a parallel English interpretation, and would occasionally read parts of it, and although I found several passages interesting, intriguing, I then had no desire, felt no need, to study Islam further. Similarly, the many friendly conversations I had with Egyptians during such travels – about their land, their culture, and occasionally about Islam – were for me just informative, only the interest of a curious outsider, and did not engender any desire to study such matters in detail.

However, all these experiences, of a decade and more, engendered in me a feeling which seemed to grow stronger year by year with every new trip. This was the feeling that somehow in some strange haunting way I belonged there, in such places, as part of such a culture. A feeling which caused me – some time after the tragic death of Sue (aged 39) from cancer in the early 1990’s – to enrol on, and begin, an honours course in Arabic at a British university [8].

Thus, suffice to say that a decade of such travel brought a feeling of familiarity and resonance with Egypt, its people, its culture, that land, and with the Islam that suffused it, so that when in the Summer of 1998 I seriously began to study Islam, to read Ahadith, Seerah, and the whole Quran, I had at least some context from practical experience. Furthermore, the more I studied Islam in England in those Summer months the more I felt, remembered, the sound of the beautiful Adhaan; remembered the desert – that ætherial purity, that sense of God, there; and remembered that haunting feeling of perhaps already belonging to such a culture, such a way of life [9].

Hence my conversion to Islam, then, in September of that year, seemed somehow fated, wyrdful.


Supporting Al-Qaeda

In many respects my move away from a naive Muslim convert toward extremism was similar to my much earlier, previous, move from naive youthful admirer of Otto Ernst Remer to fanatical, racist, neo-nazi. That is, a gradual change; a process that involved associating with, and learning from, people who already had a particular interpretation of events, and of ‘the cause’ they believed in.

Hence it was not that I suddenly made some kind of unilateral decision of my own as a result of literature that I by myself found and read – such as printed books, or items accessed via the medium of the internet. Rather, the essence of the move to extremism was talks, discussions, with Muslims over a period of a year or more; literature, items, those brothers gave or loaned or suggested I read; and a long period of reflexion on those talks, discussions, and items accessed, read and studied.

After my conversion in 1998 I would regularly attend Namaz at my local Mosque, and had arranged time-off work in order to be able to attend Jummah Namaz. At the end of Jummah Namaz we would all form a circle and sing the beautiful nasheed Ya Nabi Salaam Alayka – something I always looked forward to – after which each one of us would greet and shake the hand of the Imaam, an elderly learned man, white of beard, and of great dignity. On several occasions I noticed one of the brothers leaving before the singing of this Nasheed. Then, one Friday, as he happened to be praying next to me and with Namaz over, I asked him if, this week, he would be staying to sing the nasheed. He did not approve of that nasheed, he said, for reasons he would be happy to explain were I to meet with him. Thus, and later on, I learned the reasons for his objection; reasons which he explained by quoting from memory, and in Arabic, various texts. Further discussions with him, and then with some other brothers elsewhere, followed.

Naively enthusiastic as I was then regarding Islam – eager to learn more about my new Way of Life – I found these and other discussions with many other Muslims interesting, intriguing, and exciting, and so enrolled on a residential course in Arabic in order to better understand the texts they referred to. And it from some brothers on that course that I came to learn about Jihad, the Khilafah, and the Palestinian problem, subjects and an issue which, hitherto, had neither interested me nor as a Muslim concerned me, although I was vaguely aware of them. The course over, more discussions with other brothers – and some travels to Muslim lands – followed, with the result I began to be aware that I, as a Muslim, had certain duties and obligations, given by Allah; that life as a Muslim meant more than praying five times a day, attending Jummah Namaz, fasting during Ramadan, avoiding alcoholic beverages, eating halal food, and – if feasible – going on pilgrimage to Makkah.

There thus slowly, gradually, developed in me a sense of duty toward the Ummah – the duty of Jihad – and a certain resentment against ‘the machinations of the kuffar’, as well as a sense of injustice in respect of the continued treatment of the Palestinians.


David Myatt
2012 ce

Ethos of Extremism, Parts One and Two


[1] Searchlight, July 2000

[2] Mark Weitzman: Antisemitismus und Holocaust-Leugnung: Permanente Elemente des globalen Rechtsextremismus, in Thomas Greven: Globalisierter Rechtsextremismus? Die extremistische Rechte in der Ära der Globalisierung. 1 Auflage. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften/GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14514-2, pp.61-64

[3] Searchlight, July 2000

[4] Sunday Mercury, July 9, 2000

[5] Martin Amis, The Second Plane. Jonathan Cape, 2008, p.157

[6] Robert S Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, Random House, 2010.

[7] David Myatt, Some Personal Perceiverations. e-text, February 2012. See also my compilation Meditations on Extremism

[8] I soon left that university however, for personal and practical reasons to do with a romantic involvement with a lady who lived hundreds of miles away.

[9] In retrospect, this feeling concerning Islam is still there within, still living in me, for being Muslim is (it seems to me) manifest in the stark simple beauty of living in the desert or passing through it alone; for there in the dangerous silence we are or can be one with ourselves, aware of the numinous sans words, sans abstractions; aware of our fragile, fallible, error-prone, nature; of our need for the humility of the numinous.

One possible explanation of this feeling that I have found is that of The Religious Society of Friends: that there is ‘that of God’ in every person, and that answering to ‘that of God’ can and has taken various forms over millennia with such forms equally deserving of respect since there is an underlying unity, the same spiritual essence beyond those different outer forms.

Thus I am still respectful of the Muslim Way of Life, of what I sense is its numinous essence. Similarly, I resonate with the numinous essence of the Christian message because of understanding, of feeling, ‘that of God’; and therefore also feel the numinous in Buddhism, in Taoism, in Judaism, and in many other Ways.

The Ethos of Extremism
Some Reflexions on Politics and A Fanatical Life

Part One: 1968-1973

Becoming Nazi
Hatred, Love, and Violence
Conclusion (Part One)

Part Two: 1973-1975
Ultra-Violence, Covert Action, and Terror
Birth of A Theoretician of Terror

Part Three: 1979-1986
The Propaganda Years
Blood and Soil
Vindex – The Destiny of The West

Part Four: 1987-1992
Revisionist National-Socialism

Part Five: 1993-1997
Combat 18
The Strategy and Tactics of Revolution
The National-Socialist Movement

Part Six: 1998- 2002
Demise of the NSM
Conversion to Islam
Supporting Al-Qaeda

Part Seven: 2003-2006
The Question of Martyrdom Operations
Concerning Aqd Al Amaan
Pathei-Mathos – Genesis of The Numinous Way


Note: The full text of Ethos of Extremism is due to be published in Autumn 2013.