May 12 2011
As illegal alien Muslim parasites continue their relentless invasion of Europe, anti-immigrant right wing parties make big gains.
Washington Times – A train from Italy with a few dozen North African ILLEGAL immigrants crossing the border with France set off an uproar among the nations of the European Union. In Paris, Muslim women wearing veils were arrested after a ban on burqas took effect. Anti-immigrant populist parties continue to win votes across the Continent while their leaders intone: “Multiculturalism has failed.”
On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI urged Italy to welcome immigrants fleeing turmoil in North Africa, and more refugees crowded into rickety boats to set sail for Europe. (Is there such thing as a self-hating Catholic Pope?)
Europe is in the grip of an identity crisis, as many cling to what some analysts say is a myth about their nationalities. Europeans continue to believe that their countries are not nations of immigrants. “They can’t say that with a straight face anymore. It’s absurd,” said anthropologist Ruth Mandel of the University College London and author of the book “Cosmopolitan Anxieties.”
She said that Europeans have “an ideology of sameness” that includes viewing themselves as cohesive and homogenous. (What’s wrong with that? Europe used to be great, now it’s turning into a third world welfare slum) Recent immigrants are thus more “marked” or noticeable in these types of societies than in self-defined immigrant lands such as the United States or Canada.
That has been particularly true since the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamist terrorist attacks on the United States. In Europe, Muslims suddenly became more visible, and the fears of Islamic extremists and their terrorist acts grew. Populist politicians have capitalized on this to strengthen their anti-immigration credentials and win votes. (And thankfully they ARE!)
When Italian authorities authorized temporary residency permits for thousands of Tunisians fleeing unrest in North Africa, those documents also gave some of the immigrants the right to travel throughout the 27-nation EU. French and Germany complained that Italy, the former colonial power in Tunisia, was trying to fob off their immigration problem to the rest of Europe.
But Italy had been pleading for help from member states for months. “No member state wanted to touch this, to admit there is a real problem with these refugees pouring in, and take a coordinated, rational approach to handle it,” said one EU official who works with immigration issues. “That would have been seen as too soft on immigration.”
French border guards stopped the Italian train with its Tunisian refugees last month on the same day that the anti-immigrant True Finns party won almost one-fifth of the seats in the Finnish parliament. It was the latest breakthrough by a populist party in liberal Scandinavia.
In September, the far-right Sweden Democrats won their first seats in parliament. They are inspired by the Danish People’s Party, which campaigns against the “Islamization” of Denmark, the country’s third-largest party.
Norway’s anti-immigrant Progress Party won 23 percent of the vote in the last elections in 2009.
In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, wildly popular leader of the staunchly anti-immigrant Freedom Party, remains on trial for violating hate-speech laws for anti-Muslim comments. He has pushed for a ban on the Koran, and his party is the third largest in the Netherlands. “Eurabia and Netherabia are just a matter of time,” he has told the Dutch parliament in a warning of the growing Arab population.
The Swiss People’s Party has been part of the country’s governing coalition since 2007. It is responsible for the 2009 minaret ban and others targeting immigrants. Some of their campaign posters show white sheep on a Swiss flag kicking out a black one: “Promoting security,” they read.
In Austria, the ultra-right Freedom Party won 26 percent of the vote in local Vienna elections in October. In the nearby Styria district, the party distributed a video game called “Bye, Bye Mosque” during the campaign in September’s state elections. Players could win points by putting a target over mosques set on a typical bucolic Austrian landscape and clicking “stop.” The party more than doubled its share of the vote over previous elections and won seats in the state parliament.
“The new trend is that these parties are attractive to the middle class, especially in Scandinavia,” said Florian Hartleb, who specializes in populist politics at the Center for European Studies in Brussels.
“There is the fear of Islam in the entire population,” said Mr. Hartleb. “As a result, the winning political formula in some countries, such as Austria and the Netherlands, has been basically an anti-Islam [platform], playing on the fear of immigration since the terrorist attacks of 2001.”
These parties’ successes have radicalized the mainstream political discourse and are forcing establishment politicians to tilt more to the right, he said. (EXCELLENT!)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, always tough on immigration issues, is now trying to outdo the far-right National Front as it makes electoral gains, observers said. Mr. Sarkozy also is trying to portray himself as the defender of “Frenchness,” of French values, which is a key component of these immigration and integration debates.
In April, France’s ban on burqas and niqabs, the full-face veils that are worn by extremely devout Muslim women, took effect. A few women have been arrested and are subject to fines of $186 or lessons in French citizenship. France has 6 million Muslims, the largest population in Europe, and about 370 women wear the veils, according to French security officials. The debate over burqas, which started last year over women’s equality issues and Islamic fundamentalism, changed into one over national identity and values. “A veil that hides the face is detrimental to those values,” Mr. Sarkozy said in May 2010.
Meanwhile, the Belgian lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved the ban on veils on April 28.
Scholars say that many in the EU reject the notion that second- and third-generation Muslims in Europe are, indeed, Europeans. Some Muslim leaders, meanwhile, say their communities need to do more to integrate into European society.
“We need to adapt and adjust to the host society better, not push for minarets or ninjas [burqa-clad
women],” said Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Educational Center of Oxford and a British imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation. “We also need to acknowledge that self-segregation is not a way forward.”
European societies have a responsibility to fight “Islamophobia” and to show European Muslims they are a valued part of society, some European leaders have said. (No, they don’t, and that’s why these leaders are losing power)
“We have failed to provide a vision of society to young Muslims to which they feel they want to belong,” Mr. Cameron told the Munich Security Conference in February. “Instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity, open to everyone.” German politician Cem Ozdemir, a child of Turkish immigrant parents, agreed. (Never gonna happen)
“What we need to tell people is to adapt to mainstream society, get an education, get into the ‘German Dream,’ ” said Mr. Ozdemir, co-leader of the opposition Green Party and a member of the European Parliament.
“On the other hand, we need to develop a constitutional patriotism, one that everyone can take part in.” He said many still question whether one person can be both German and Muslim. (They CAN’T, Muslims are always Muslims first)
RELATED STORIES/VIDEOS: islamization-of-the-west
SADLY, it is attitudes like this in the Christian Science Monitor that make me think Europe is doomed.
Abuse of Muslims shows equality is still an open question in Europe
(H/T Tom Z) Religious intolerance is a daily reality in Europe, mainly targeted at Muslims. We need to better understand the dynamics behind the new trend of laws and popular opinion banning minority religious expression and stigmatizing Islam.
Religious intolerance is a daily reality in Europe. Mainly targeted at Muslims, attacks on religious pluralism focus on refusing to share public space with non-majority religions or only tolerating practices seen as “secular.” The key voices of intolerance are neither marginal nor can they be dismissed as old-style far-right activists. They are today often heads of government, important ministers, or powerful politicians.
Their words express an emerging refrain of official xenophobia. Successive recent salvos by the French president and German chancellor on the failure of multiculturalism in countries where that policy has never been promoted, and the British prime minister’s February speech associating multiculturalism with Islamic terrorism are among the latest examples.
Europe’s Attack on Islam
The desire to make Islam invisible has resulted not just in stigmatizing speeches, but also in new laws, On 29 November 2009, 57.5 percent of Swiss citizens voting in a popular referendum agreed to forbid the building of new minarets in their country. This appears part of a broad European trend.
After the 2004 ban of the veil in France’s public schools as an ostentatious religious symbol, a new law came into force on April 11, 2011 that bans the wearing of the face veil (niqab or burqa) in “public places” throughout France – defined as everywhere except one’s home, car, workplace, or mosque. A recent study published by the Open Society Foundation found that less than 2,000 women wear the face veil in France. Many have already suffered insults and sometimes physical harassment. The new law will encourage only more abuse. Yet Christian religious processions that require face-covering hoods are still allowed.
Is there really religious pluralism in Europe?
We need to better understand the dynamics behind these controversies and new laws banning symbols of religious expression. And we must ask whether there is adequate protection of religious pluralism and confessional neutrality in Europe’s public space. The far right in Europe has occupied public space to aggressively assert their culture against Muslim practices. Pointedly insulting anti-Muslim actions are increasing.
In Italy, the right-wing Northern League party organizes processions of pigs on the sites where mosques are to be erected. In France, open-air “salami and wine” events, focusing on Islamic strictures against pork and alcohol, have been organized by an anti-Muslim movement that claims to be secular. This focus on food and wine shows that fear of threats to cultural identity in the face of globalization is at the core of the “new right,” as sociologist Mabel Berezin has argued in her recent book “Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times.”
The rise of the ‘New Right’
Religious expression is again becoming a marker of national cultural identity, and the xenophobic discourse that surrounds Islam seems to have broad appeal. The current generation of far-right leaders (among them Heinz-Christian Strache in Austria, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen in France, and Oskar Freysinger in Switzerland) wear new garb. They are younger and claim to be progressive while subverting the symbols and the struggles of the 1960s revolutions. Some profess to be feminist, pro-gay rights, and for public expression, and all are choosing Islam rather than Judaism as a target.
Mainstream parties are divided on these issues and how to respond to these movements. After decades of local and national attempts at accommodation to resolve practical issues such as space in cemeteries for Muslims and the organization of Muslim representative bodies, governments in Europe seem to be going with and enabling the flow of intolerance by banning and stigmatizing Islamic practice. READ MORE