Racism, bigotry and fascism: as European as the Enlightenment

[T]he primary threat to democracy in Europe is not “Islamofascism”–that clunking, thuggish phrase that keeps lashing out in the hope that it will one day strike a meaning–but plain old fascism. The kind whereby mostly white Europeans take to the streets to terrorize minorities in the name of racial, cultural or religious superiority.

For fascism–and the xenophobic, racist and nationalistic elements that are its most vile manifestations–has returned as a mainstream ideology in Europe. Its advocates not only run in elections but win them. They control local councils and sit in parliaments. In Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy, hard-right nationalist and anti-immigrant parties regularly receive more than 10 percent of the vote. In Norway it is 22 percent; in Switzerland, 29 percent. In Italy and Austria they have been in government; in Switzerland, where the anti-immigrant Swiss People’s Party is the largest party, they still are.

This is not new. From Austria to Antwerp, Italy to France, fascists have been performing well at the polls for more than a decade. Nor are they shy about their bigotry. France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen has described the Nazi gas chambers as a “detail of history”; Austria’s Jörg Haider once thanked a group of Austrian World War II veterans, including former SS officers, for “stick[ing] to their convictions despite the greatest opposition.” But the attacks of 9/11, the bombings in Spain and Britain and the riots in France gave the hard right new traction. The polarizing effects of terrorism facilitated the journey of hard-right agendas from the margins to the mainstream. Islamophobia became de rigueur. Recently German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a Christian Democrat party congress that “we must take care that mosque cupolas are not built demonstratively higher than church steeples.”

In September 2006, British novelist Martin Amis told the Times of London: “There’s a definite urge–don’t you have it?–to say, ‘the Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.’ What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation–further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan…. Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children.”

Source.

Related:
On the look out for an “intifada” in Europe
The myth of a pre-Muslim European utopia is nothing but the delusion of bigots

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1 Response to “Racism, bigotry and fascism: as European as the Enlightenment”



  1. 1 On the look out for an “intifada” in Europe « pixelisation Trackback on December 25, 2007 at 3:00 pm

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