Sara Brzuszkiewicz, Research Fellow at the Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues, and Managing Emergencies (ITSTIME)
In the last few years, terrorism studies have been plagued by a myriad of acronyms, neologisms, and obscure phrases that are not always necessary, let alone informative.
In the case of akh-Right, however, the term can be quite illuminating. A play on the Arabic word for “brother” and the diverse phenomenon called alt-Right, it describes the contemporary online communities and individuals who appropriate features, tropes and—at times—ideological content traditionally belonging to the alt-Right and use it to support and disseminate values and opinions that range from reactionary and conservative to radical jihadist.
A big part of the akh-Right is into hate speech practices and its members do not normally post explicitly violent content. In other cases, the violent stance is much more apparent and can include open support for radical movements.
Some researchers divided these two groups into halalposters and haramposters.
Addressing the so-called akh-Right is imperative as it represents one of the most vital and dynamic trends within online radical milieus and, at the same time, it reveals a lot about the deepest changes and rifts now taking place among young Muslims online and, probably, offline.
The recurring tropes characterizing the akh-Right pivot around a mixture of ideological and aesthetic features of the alt-Right and Salafi-jihadist galaxies.
The main one is undoubtedly the aversion to every social trend that is perceived as mainstream, against social expectations, feminism, and political correctness.
The akh-Right environments are also characterized by the total rejection of any liberal, moderate, or multicultural way of experiencing Islam. This is particularly important to understand the relationship between the akh-Right and the so-called woke Islamists, and we will get back to this shortly .
Within akh-Right communities, we can also find widespread support for the jihadist cause in regions like Bosnia and Chechnya, often in the framework of the so-called white sharia .
Another primary feature of these milieus is the constant use of sarcasm, memes and, more broadly, images that are typical of alt-Right online subcultures and of other environments such as the manosphere, i.e. the heterogeneous set of websites, blogs, and forums characterized by varying degrees of misogyny.
Akh-Right users today are exploiting alt-Right favorites such as Wojak, Pepe and Groyper.
Akh-Right communities are located with the universe of redpilling. “Pills” started as a prominent feature in online chat rooms and forums of the alt-Right and then they became crucial for other environments, such as the manosphere.
The term redpilling is derived from a popular scene of the movie The Matrix (1999) in which the protagonist Neo is offered one of two pills: the blue pill would allow him to continue to live in a sort of happy ignorance, while the red pill would show him the world as it really is.
By choosing the blue pill, individuals opt for reassuring blindness, whereas by choosing the red pill they are willing to know unpleasant truths .
Being Islampilled, within the akh-Right communities, means being a redpilled Muslim who rejects mainstream, politically-correct attitudes, worldviews and statements by fellow Muslims who are believed to be detrimental to the Umma.
As noted by experts who have been studying the interplay between jihadism and alt-Right, until recently there used to be mostly alt-Right radicals praising jihadists’ rhetoric, actions, and worldviews.
Today, the favor is starting to be returned, with violent Right wing or alt-Right subcultures increasingly influencing Gen-Z Islamist audiences both producing and consuming content online .
Akh-Right, Woke Islamists, and Contemporary Rifts
One of the designated targets of akh-Right condemnation and mockery are those Muslims perceived or self-described as liberal, multicultural, and tolerant.
They are particularly blamed for choices like supporting LGBTQ+ instances, using dating apps, mingling with an array of diverse expressions of Western leftist groups and, more broadly, for corrupting and weakening the Umma and the image of Muslims.
Some of these progressivist Muslims are at times called woke Islamists, a term indicating individuals and movement who are well-versed in Western political discourse and have successfully styled themselves as politically relevant opponents of racism and discrimination. They have secured partnerships with a number of progressivist causes, despite having little in common with such progressivist-minded allies.
Interestingly, the rift between akh-Right and woke Islamists seems to be running along lines that are also gendered, and not only ideological.
Former Salafist, Umar Lee, provides an insightful perspective on this:
Many of them, what I call the “akh-Right,” especially males, have gravitated toward conservative and Right-wing politics in the United States. The ground of political dialogue is rapidly shifting in these Muslim communities in America.
If all you are offering is identity politics, you can go to TikTok and get that. You don’t need to go to the mosque if there’s no spiritual component.
What you’re increasingly seeing in the Muslim community in America is a gender divide. You’re seeing that progressive politics [are] very popular, especially with women, especially young women. We know after 9/11 there was this leftward shift in the American Muslim community — the Muslim Brotherhood, Muslim American Society — all those people supported that. It was kind of Machiavellian because they weren’t actually progressive.
But what happened is that their kids went very far to the left. It was a project — a political calculation in response to the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, MAS [Muslim American Society], the Ikhwanis, they allied with the Left. But their kids and the younger generation genuinely became progressive. They couldn’t manage the creation that they created. Their idea was “We are going to send our kids to Harvard, to Columbia and they’re going to come out being eloquent spokesman for political Islam.” And they came out leftist. […] But you’re seeing an insurgency led by men, particularly younger men, that are rejecting this progressive shift. They’re rejecting it in very harsh terms and going very far to the Right. What you’re seeing in the Muslim community is — especially the young people — the Left, and now this segment of the far-Right, are really taking up all the oxygen and moderate politics is very unpopular.
Based on this, it would not be wrong to see the akh-Right as a sort of niche counterculture, in which dynamics that are typical not only of the alt-Right, but also of the manosphere, are now taking place.
In the manosphere, Incels, Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOWs), and various Men’s Rights movements criticize the feminization of society and the weakening of traditional values and gender roles. This is exactly what is happening with akh-Right online environments too.
Daniel Haqiqatjou, founder of the online magazine The Muslim Skeptic and Alasna Institute, is believed to be one of the most well-known representative of the akh-Right.
Haqiqatjou is a hardline American online preacher and a loyal supporter of the Taliban who has thousands of followers online.
On the pages of The Muslim Skeptic, anti-feminist and reactionary sentiments are widespread: “Take marriage, for example. Muslim feminists usually end their tirades with the sentiment that Muslim marriage is ‘worse than prison,’ as you see here in this screenshot. Typical feminist take”.
Similarly popular are posts depicting women as a group asset and property.
More generally, the content analysis of posts shared by some of the major akh-Right accounts and pages reveal a widespread mistrust of women—especially of liberal Muslims and non-Muslims—who are often portrayed as overly emotional, materialistic, and shallow. Once again, this will certainly sound familiar to those familiar with the manosphere discourse.
The convergence between Islamist and alt-Right audiences online is nothing completely new, and we witnessed its beginnings a few years ago. Today, however, we are observing an interesting evolution of this convergence, with the rise of akh-Right ideology, discourse and stylistic features and its ability to influence Generation Z users, probably together with a good number of millennials.
The research into the interaction between alt-Right and different forms of Islamism, and the interplay between Islamism and the manosphere is still embryonic, but is also clearly cardinal.
European Eye on Radicalization aims to publish a diversity of perspectives and as such does not endorse the opinions expressed by contributors. The views expressed in this article represent the author alone.
 S. Brzuszkiewicz, The Muslim Brotherhood Collapses in the Middle East, Adapts in the West, Focus on Western Islamism, December 20, 2022.
 M. Ayad, Islamogram: Salafism and Alt-Right Online Subcultures, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 2021.
 S. Brzuszkiewicz, Incel Radical Milieu and External Locus of Control, International Institute for Counter Terrorism, Evolutions in Counter Terrorism, Vol. 2 (November 2020): 1-20.
 J. Guhl, M. Ayad, J. Ebner, From the vicious circle to ideological convergence, Vox Pol, January 26, 2022.
 D. Van Zile, Former Salafist Umar Lee: Middle East Islamism Is in Decline, Focus on Western Islamism, November 25, 2022.