News

Immigration Tensions Grow as Far Right Plots Pan-European League

Protester hold banners as people from anti-Islamic groups from all over Europe came together March 31, 2012 in Aarhus, Denmark.
Protester hold banners as people from anti-Islamic groups from all over Europe came together March 31, 2012 in Aarhus, Denmark.
Henry Ridgwell

Far-right groups from across Europe gathered in Denmark last week for a meeting that some analysts are describing as a watershed moment.  It comes at a sensitive time on the continent after a series of deadly extremist attacks and rising tension over immigration.

Around 200 members of far-right movements from across Europe came together in Aarhus, Denmark last Saturday.

“This day will be remembered and etched into history,  31st of the third 2012. The date where people came together from all European countries to give birth to the European Defense League," said Tommy Robinson, one of the organizers. A member of the English Defense League, he took to the stage to hail the meeting.

Even if the numbers did not match the rhetoric, radicalism expert Matthew Feldman of the University of Northampton says the meeting was a landmark.

“It does represent the first attempt at a really pan-European linking of the ‘defense leagues’ to counter what they see as an Islamization of Europe,” Feldman noted.

Just days earlier, an Islamist gunman, Mohamed Merah, launched a series of attacks around the French city of Toulouse, killing seven people. Among the victims were three Jewish schoolchildren.

In addition, last August in Norway, right-wing extremist Anders Breivik set off explosives in Oslo before carrying out a mass shooting at a youth summer camp - killing 77 people in all.  He has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Analyst Feldman says right-wing groups like the English Defense League try to avoid being labeled as extremist by adopting new ideologies.

“What we see now is what’s called an ethno-differentialist perspective in the literature," explained Feldman, "which says, ‘We actually don’t think that any group is better or worse than others. We simply think that cultural mixing, that multiculturalism is the great evil, because it destroys both cultures that are mixing."”

Such ideas have long been espoused by far-right political parties like the Front Nationale in France.  Its leader, Marine Le Pen, is expected to do well in next month’s presidential election.

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam platform gave his Freedom party more than 15 percent of the vote in the 2010 elections. VOA spoke to him before the poll.

“I have nothing against Muslims but I believe that Islam is a totalitarian ideology and it goes against our freedom,” Wilders said.

Feldman believes new technologies are changing the far-right politics of old.

“For example, the software Facebook, where it’s very easy to quickly coordinate something like a street demonstration or to be able to have the grassroots communicating with each other and with the leadership,” noted Feldman.

The analyst adds that the number of anti-fascist protestors who turned out to counter last week's rally exceeded the far right numbers by 20 to one.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: WhiteDude
April 06, 2012 9:32 PM
Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into White countries.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY White countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-Whites.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-White.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

by: Newspaniard
April 05, 2012 7:29 AM
Your last paragraph amazes me in that anti-fascist organizations are siding with islamofascism which is more right wing than any cult that Hitler could dream of and certainly far more right wing than the EDL or their fellow travellers.

by: Gab
April 05, 2012 5:35 AM
The anti-Islamic wave is mounting in all countries that have Muslim immigrants (the USA is probably the only exception, being traditionally a country of immigrants). Muslims who want to avoid a world-wide backlash against Muslim immigration should be in the frontline of trying to curb anti-foreigner anti-infidel sentiment in their own countries. It is their duty (not the West's duty) to reform their part of the world to make it more tolerant and welcoming.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs