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The Rise of the Right: Europe's Scary Solution to Immigration

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The Rise of the Right: Europe's Scary Solution to Immigration

By Handan T. Satiroglu, The Women's International Perspective. Posted January 29, 2009.

Anti-immigrant sentiment is growing steadily across the continent.

Not too far from the Baroque palaces and Gothic cathedrals that made the city of Vienna famous, a group of jubilant men and women are packed into a café. Glasses clink with each congratulatory toast. Jubilations like "long live populism," and "Austria is the Freedom Party" fly randomly across the room. On that memorable September evening, I watched the celebration of the far-right triumph in Austria. It was the Austrian ‘extremist' right's best performance since World War II.

If the old face of the Far-Right in Europe resembled that of a combative fascist, these new ordinary faces put those images to rest. Gone are the days when support for the radical right came from neo-Nazi elements in European society; they now come from ordinary citizens, concerned not only about bleeding social welfare programs, but also from worries about the continued influx of immigration -- a feeling that is likely to worsen as recession hangs over the continent.

"I voted for the Freedom Party to stop immigrants from burdening our social welfare system," says Lukas, a grandfatherly figure and government employee. A former supporter of the Social Democrats, he gestures towards the rushing pedestrians outside the café, "Austria has inhaled enough people. We are full."

Echoing similar sentiments, 35 year old Brigitte, a nurse practitioner who is proud to have led a major campaign in her neighborhood against the expansion of an Islamic center, claims, "the center already attracts hordes of people a day, and causes enough problems with congestion." Poised and confident, she continues: "The people who use the Islamic center do not try to integrate into society, or even socialize with us. None of the other parties would hear our concerns ... That's why we voted for Heinz-Christian Strache."

Not too far from the café, a mural reads: "Arab, go home."

Such is the dynamic in today's European race relations. A December Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project reports anti-immigrant, and especially anti-Muslim sentiments, to be growing steadily across the continent. Noting that the increase in Muslim prejudice has occurred over a period of decades, the report claims that nearly 52 percent of Spaniards expressed a negative opinion of Muslims -- a view echoed by 50 percent of Germans, 46 percent of Poles, and 38 percent of French people. According to an April Georgetown University report, 67 percent of Dutch, and 80 percent of Danes agree with the statement, "the growing interaction between the Muslim world and the West is a menace to freedom."

Bubbling for years, the resentment against foreigners has found expression in the success of the far-right, not only in Austria, but throughout Europe. A wake-up call to ruling socialist elitists, Europeans have propped up governments that are marching to the beat of the anti-immigrant drum. Only two of the 14 countries that were governed by the leftist or centrist political parties in Europe a decade ago remain so: Spain and Portugal.

Once a welcoming multicultural haven, Denmark's voters have given the Danish People's Party its fourth consecutive hike in voting share, making it the third largest party in Europe. In Switzerland where the foreign-born population hovers around 20 percent, the nationalist Swiss People's Party regularly receives 29 percent of the vote; in France, Nicolas Sarkozy grabbed the presidency after mimicking the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the unforgiving nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen. Netherlands, Sweden and Italy have all witnessed the rise of conservative discourse, while the second largest party in Norway runs on an anti-immigrant platform. And if there is anything that the Flemish and Walloons of Belgium can agree upon, it is the curtailment of the progressive Islamization of their society.

The term Islamization has gained much popularity in recent years, especially in the right-wing media. As European Muslims demand more mosques, state-funded Islamic schools, and even the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) in their host countries, the term refers to the gradual process by which European society is becoming increasingly and visibly Muslim.

Unquestionably, an exploding Islamic population remains the driver behind changing voter patterns. "It is everything. Or nearly everything," says Abigail Esman, an American writer based in the Netherlands who specializes in writing on radical Islam and post 9/11 political tensions in the West. "The rising immigration and the conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims have stirred voters to look to politicians who tend to take a less liberal view of social economic systems and in most cases, who take a hard line against immigration, particularly of Muslims."

In just three short decades, Islam has moved from essentially being a nonfactor to a religion that challenges the European identity. Perhaps nothing illustrates this change more graphically than the omnipresent symbols of Islam sprinkled across European cities and towns: state-funded Islamic schools, halal butcher shops, Arabic signs in store fronts, ladies in burqas and headscarves, Turkish or Moroccan flags fluttering over residential buildings. Sharia courts have already been adopted in many cities in the UK after persistent demands by British Muslims. 

Indeed, the sheer number of Muslim immigrants sheds some light on the newfound fear of the "bewildering Islamic cacophony," as Johann Hari in a Dissent magazine article sardonically put it. By varying estimates, the European Union is now home to 15-20 million Muslims, with France hosting the largest number. Annually, half a million migrants flood the gates of Europe in search of work and an additional 400,000 seek asylum, many of whom are from the Middle East. Added to this mix, is the influx of between 120,000 to 500,000 undocumented immigrants.

High immigration from Muslim nations, combined with fertility advantages, means that ethnic Europeans might lose their demographic counterpoise: a fact that touches a raw nerve with many. For almost a generation now, Europe's birthrates have dipped far below the replacement level. According to 2005 statistics collected by the European Union, for instance, 30 percent of German women are childless, with the number rising to 40 percent among more educated women. With a Muslim population that is expected to grow to 40-50 million by 2050, the populations of major European cities would be half non-native within two generations.

Seizing on these numbers, Bernard Lewis, a leading historian on Islam, argues that Europe would complete its transformation into "Eurabia" by the end of the 21st century. Italy's flamboyant and controversial journalist Oriana Fallaci once lamented that their province was falling prey to ‘a colony of Islam' -- whereby a sense of surrender of fundamental European values such as freedom of expression and democracy were being felt.

The sense that Europe is under siege is further heightened by concerns over the welfare system being overtaxed by non-natives. American Bruce Bawer gave voice to these concerns in his book While Europe Slept, using statistics primarily from Nordic countries to highlight the issue of welfare dependency. In Denmark, for instance, he writes that immigrants from the Middle East "make up 5 percent of the population but receive 40 percent of welfare outlays" -- among them public assistance, unemployment benefits, relief payments, child benefits, disability, cash support, and rent allowance. Statistics for other countries are comparable.

According to Bawer, about 15 percent of the Moroccan émigrés in Norway are on a disability plan when a quarter of them have actually returned to their own country. The Frisch Center for Socio-economic Research study, supported by the University of Oslo, also claims that as many as 50 percent of immigrants are "caught up in various forms of welfare benefits." Further south in the Netherlands, rising unemployment rates have left 33 percent of the foreign-born population out of the labor market -- and thus dependent on the welfare system, while unemployed Belgians and migrants have found themselves competing for the lower-end subsidized housing market. Pressure from national authorities to use objective criteria when placing individuals in government housing has meant that migrants, due in part to their larger families, lower wages and high unemployment rates, tend to qualify for housing before Belgians.

Unsurprisingly then, unemployment, insecurity and concerns about welfare burdens have been the vote-winning themes for the extreme right on the continent. But clearly this is not the full picture; to some extent an extreme right vote is also a vote against elitist sentiments long perceived to be out of touch with the concerns of everyday folks. It is a desperate call for nation-building, leadership, and identity preservation as an overcrowded, embedded and burdened continent struggles to absorb waves of newcomers.

"Multiculturalism has, in practice, been a dismal failure," says Esman. Indeed, the integration of Europe's new arrivals from non-Western cultures stands out as one of the greatest challenges facing European governments in contemporary times -- a challenge that a growing body of citizens feel mainstream parties have not dealt with effectively. And insofar as left or centrist governments do not debate the limits and/or confines of multiculturalism, or take measures to fully integrate non-Western cultures into the 'European identity' to become fully at home in their host countries, we can expect individuals of all persuasions to flock to the far-right (whom they perceive as having "commonsensical" approaches to these issues.)

Though I don't personally believe the far-right is a panacea to the continent's woes, I do believe the time has come for a new kind of politics, not necessarily far-left or far-right, but politics that genuinely represent the interests and concerns of citizens; politics that make the diversity of Europe work. Until then, Europe can expect votes for the radical right to come from the right and the left, the young and the old, the marginalized and privileged, the integrated and the alienated, the urban and the suburban for years to come. It is a phenomenon leftist or centrist parties can no longer ignore.

Comments

Interesting article.

Naturally Europeans will be accused of "racism" or "islamophobia".  However, all peoples are entitled to protect their lands and community from outsiders.

I don't like Islam and I deeply resent Muslims in my country, Australia, telling me that I must accept Islam and that Islam should be the religion of Australia.

Hell will freeze over before that ever happens.

The Jewish nation-wrecking plan is bearing fruit.

Please Sir,can I have some more (soylent green)?

Please Sir,can I have some more (soylent green)?

How did white european man get to Australia? and how did white european man get to americas? maybe we should all pack and leave.

If Europeans are so evil for creating the nation states of the USA and Australia.  How much more evil are those who "invaded" these lands once Europeans had built the cities, roads, economy etc.  You know the Asians, Indians, Arabs, Africian Americans, Mexicans, Jews, they must be the MOST evil of all.

You really need to try and think independently rather than just spewing the liberal white guilt rubbish pushed down our throats by Jews.

will make  anyone to say  as following :

I don't like Islam and I deeply resent Muslims in my country, Australia, telling me that I must accept Islam and that Islam should be the religion of Australia.

Would you care to elaborate on why I need help?

Are you saying that only Europeans should leave nations such as the USA and Australia?

Why is my opposition to Islam in Australia, a religion which I believe is totally incompatible and unsuited to Anglo-Celts such as myself, a result of "talmud munching"?

Islam has no business in Europe.

Neither does Judaism.

As a matter of fact, it was a sad and mornful day when semitic  "Christianity" sunk its teeth into the neck of Northern Europe!

Happily, most of the good things in Christianity are in no way Christian (Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, etc :-)

-- Leif Oldhart

"Conservative:" Loves his money better than your freedom.

"Liberal:" Values temporary security more than your liberty.

-- Leif Oldhart

"Conservative:" Loves his money better than your freedom.

"Liberal:" Values temporary security more than your liberty.

What a  HATEFUL article, and such comments from leif and bush!  And the mention of disgusting knobs, orianna fallaci & bernard lewis.  UGH! 

If I am not mistaken Italy sent troops to Somalia under the guise of "peace-keeping" only to take advantage of an extremely poor, hungry and defenceless population.  There was mention of rape of Somalia's women among other things.  Then let us not forget the Canadian troops in Somalia, they certainly were no better.  I am sure SHIDANE ARONE would have agreed with me, if he could speak from the dead.

How about this?

Get your frigging butts out the the Middle East!

ALL of you!  Australians, Europeans, USA, Canadians!

GET THE HELL OUT.

Afghanistan and Iraq will not miss you.

Do you think the Lebanese want to live in USA, Australia, South America, Europe, or Canada?  You don't leave them any choice!  They have to leave Lebanon because....oh gee....the economies are shot....because oh gee.....the bombings of their infrastructure! 

How about Iraq?  How about Palestine?  Loads of Palestinians have left Palestine....or what is left of Palestine and most cannot get back into Palestine, although they were born and raised there.  That certainly is not their fault.

They need to make a living, a safe place to raise families, to get an education.

SORRY!

Get your troops out of all of the countries of the Middle East, STOP the way your governments throw away your tax dollars, STOP the wars for profit for "israel" and corporate  Western nations, and THEN you can bitch and moan.

Rhiannon

No answer to my question just a rant?

It appears you're caught in a Frankurt School logic loop.  Perhaps you should dump your indoctrination, stop rubbing up your own ego and try thinking independently for a change.

Unlikely of course but stranger things have happened.

Actually, I totally agree with you.

I believe Australia has absolutely NO business being in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I have voted independent for years precisely because the major politicial parties here are the lackeys of Israel and international Jewry.

Unfortunately I don't have any recourse but to bitch and moan.  If I or anyone else says that the wars in the Middle East are solely for the benefit of Israel (which they are) I will be charged with a thought crime by people such as AurionMission.  People whose sole purpose for existing appears to be telling others what they can and cannot think, the multicultural stasi.

You still on duty at Abu Ghraib?

Please go to iamthewitness.com & download

Friday, 14th November,Daryl as a guest on 'Intellectual Challenge' with Inayet Wadee  part 1.( that's all you need)

Listen carefully  & then  make up your mind about Muslims. 

I have no problem with Muslims provided they are not in my country.

Muslims want to take over the world.  I mean just look at how they bitch and moan about Christmas decorations.  Here in my state in the US, we had to get rid of several police Chaplains because they refused to stop praying in the name of Jesus -- because we all know police chaplains don't violate separation of Church and State unless they cross the line and mention the vile J word.

And every time I go to the damn grocery store -- every package I see has those halal symbols on them (which the company PAID to be able to use or suffer a boycott organized by the Muslim population).  Why should I have to pay to certify food according to some crazy religious food restrictions I don't even believe in?

Don't even get me started on the Crusade propaganda.  I mean, every other week there is a movie about the Crusades and how horribly the Muslims were treated and how many millions of them were slaughtered.  There were other people slaughtered during the Crusades, too, you know -- but we just have the victimization of the damn Muslims shoved down our throats.  I hear they are even thinking about passing laws in the US making it a crime to deny any part of the Crusades.

Thank God we have people left in the world smart enough to catch on to what is really happening.  Just think what this world would be like if everyone believed all this propaganda and focused on some other enemy when the REAL enemy is already here and, obviously, is in total control of our governments.

Scarletm was being sarcastic to make a point... correct me if I'm wrong.

Any self-respecting free-thinking human being does not like to be told what to believe or who to believe in...

human dignity rests first and foremost in our freedom to believe in what we want to believe...

of course, this is not to say that freedom to do stupid hurtful things should be encouraged or even tolerated...

freedom must have its limits if it harms others.

therefore we must balance between freedom and co-existence

always keeping in mind that the best form of goodness is the kind that is self-administered.

this comes through constant efforts by people like yourselves to inform and guide others, humbly and with respect for their freedom and ability to think logically and discern right from wrong

with respect to knowledge, we are all just transmitters

we either function effectively to transmit the truth to others so that they may accept it  (emphasis on they) and be guided to inner peace and salvation or we act as barriers repelling people from the truth by our ignorance or arrogance...

walk lightly and hold the truth closely by your side, ever vigilant else the evil one sneak in between you and replace it with lies

___________________________

"Money" has no value - people do.

___________________________

"Money" has no value - people do.

video [hey hey we're the monkees] on You Tube but can't find it.

I thought of the lyrics right away when I read ScarlettM's comment:

Here we come
Walking down the street
We get the funniest looks from
Everyone we meet.

 

LOL!

AurionMission, I am sure that Scarlett M was being sarcastic.

:)

Rhiannon

 

Funny you should post that I query. I've just been thinking how that I, for one, often come off sounding like an idiot and / or asshole - which tells me that I need to take a break.(to try and pull myself together), &c. Valete.

Why on earth would you say that?

Is your question sarcastic or ? Aha, no need for a reply - 's alright (either way). Vale, for now.

I was just wondering why you said it!

What I was trying to say is that I'm MAD (as in angry), and going mad (as in even more noticably distracted).

I regret to have to concede my belief that certainly you'd agree I quite frequently write and communicate like an idiot and asshole. (But, you know how it is, &c.)

I'm also mad as in angry (getting moreso by the day) and heading towards being mad in the 'noticeably more distracted' sense too. What person in their right mind isn't going mad?

When are you going to install the "edit" post feature? That option might help me prevent sounding like an illiterate idiot and asshole - at least a little.

What i really meant to say at the end of that last is that, 'surely you, of all people, know how it is, &c.

See yez.

Joining this topic a little late. However I would still like to say that Islam is followed by people (real humans). Islam in itself is not evil nor does it create evil personalities.

However human beings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some are soft, and gentle others are harsh and extreme and all sorts follow all sorts of philosophies and religions, Islam has extremists who use it to vent their extremist ideas. This is true in other religions and secular ideologies as well. These type of people are archetypes.

Islam does in some ways present its teachings as 'exclusive' and as offering eternal salvation only to its adherents. However it also teaches that human beings have limited knowledge and cannot therefore Judge people in unrestricted fashion. Allah is regarded as the Creator and Sustainer of All Reality, Muslims are required to respect the Creation of Allah and to be gentle towards it.

Immigration of Muslims to the largely European dominated areas of the world, is based on push and pull socioeconomic and political factors. Some factors pushing them out and others pulling them in. Obviously they are not going to abandon their religion to fit into their new homes, why should they?

In the west itself immigration has been used to create tension and divide and rule amongst the people, making the job of the rulers easier. They periodically create 'fear' and threats, by picking extremist spokespersons and giving them a platform to vent their extremist views. And subtle and not so subtle suggestions are made that these extremists are representative of Muslims as a whole.

Islam teaches that races, cultures, tribes were created as a reflection of the Greatness of the Creator, a celebration of variety, which Muslims should appreciate. Muslims have a lot to learn from their religious teachings, they are not required to coerce people or to make them reject their own cultural heritige  for a uniform Islam. All that is required is that we respect human dignity and encourage others to do the same.

If I have a garden I care for and someone is causing harm to it, I must advise him that such behaviour is  harmful and it would be better for all of us if we are to co-exist if we all respected and lived by a basic code of mutual respect and understanding.

I wasn't going to say "thanks for clarifying, and thanks for, &c." because there's probably certainly something more to my just 'seeming' to being sometimes stultified, frenetic, abstract (yet obtuse) and boorish.

Yes I was being sarcastic.  I am a Christian, but I am married to a Muslim -- so I have no fear of Islam or Muslims :)  My kids are half Muslim and I am rather fond of them.

My point -- which apparently was badly made -- was that everyone is going on and on about the Muslim threat -- but what exactly, other than daring to exist, have Muslims done in Western countries?  Sure, on TV shows like 24 and in Hollywood movies -- they are always swarthy and up to no good -- but in real life, and I am around a fair number of Muslims regularly, I see no signs of Muslims wishing to turn the US into an Islamic state.  I do hear an awful lot about our Judeo-Christian heritage and sadly many fellow Christians would be more than happy to do away with the Church and State separation.  And yes, in my state, police chaplains resigned rather than agree to stop praying in Jesus' name.  What astounded me was that no one seemed to think that either having a police chaplain or having him pray to God was separation of Church and State -- it was just that they were praying in the name of Jesus.  As if atheists or pagans or anyone else who doesn't worship the god of Abraham wasn't offended ... just those who believe in God and not Jesus.  Seemed a little obvious what that was all about.

In the future, I will try to avoid my lame attempts at sarcasm and just say it straight.

Am sorry scarlettm512 for the misunderstanding: I was addressing Mr. Sullivan, who'd ask'd me how anyone could possibly mistake me for being any sort of idiot or as*hole ...

Everybody knows i'd string whoever said such things up by their gonads from a... well, allow me to rephrase that (gently): I am not an asshole.

I'm sorry I overestimated my skills at sarcasm :)  Apparently, my skills have gotten rusty over the years.  I actually used to be fairly good at it in college, lol!

The problem is that many people still fall for the "it's the foreigner's fault" BS ... If only the Mexicans would leave the US, we'd still have jobs.  If only the Muslims would leave, there'd be no threat of terrorism.  It goes on and on.

The real problem are the elites in this country -- and I mean the ones really calling the shots, not just the merely wealthy -- know they have to divide and conquer.  Focus the anger on illegal immigrants so no one starts thinking about how they get these jobs in the first place (if no one would hire them without proper documentation, would they be risking their lives or paying $$ to be smuggled in?).   The Muslims are angry (you would be, too, if someone was bombing your family to bits and trying to steal/control your country) so you gotta pretend that it is just due to some religious fanaticism instead of a reaction to your gov't's foreign policies.

The elites know that they moment we stop blaming each other and realize who is really causing the problems -- is the day that their heads will roll ... maybe literally.  I only wish that  all us peons would be able to see that.  Because then WE would have the power.

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