A Danish journalist claims President Donald Trump's top adviser said that he believes Western civilisation is at war with the Islamic faith.
Steve Bannon, the chief White House strategist who pushed the administration to implement a travel ban on seven predominantly-Muslim countries soon after Trump took office last month, is said to have made the remarks in May during a conversation at a private event with Flemming Rose, who had come to discuss the rising influence of Islam in Europe.
“Bannon is of the belief that, if Europe is to be saved, there is no way to avoid armed conflict. The power of Islam cannot be stopped by peaceful means. In short, Bannon told me in no uncertain terms that the West is at war with Islam,” Mr Rose, who was at the centre of controversy for his part in publishing cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in 2005, wrote in the Huffington Post.
During the exchange, Mr Rose said that Mr Bannon expressed the belief that a violent war could have a cleansing effect and may be necessary to overcome the conflict between Western nations and terrorist organisations – like Isis and its supporters.
Islamic communities – whether violent or not – in Europe were eroding traditional Christian values, he said.
In the first few weeks of the Trump administration, Mr Bannon successfully pushed Trump to sign a series of executive orders that were later called a "Muslim ban" by critics.
That executive order, which restricted refugees from travelling to the US – and even targeted green card holders who were on trips overseas – has since been blocked in federal court.
Mr Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News, a conservative alternative news website that has given voice to the alt-right movement. The alt-right is defined by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as "a set of far-right ideologies, groups, and individuals whose core belief is that 'white identity' is under attack by multicultural forces using 'political correctness' and 'social justice' to undermine white people and 'their' civilisation."
His association with that movement has proven to be controversial and has resulted in Mr Bannon being called a “white supremacist” by his opponents, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a ranking Democrat (Independent)