The terror attacks play into a narrative of "Islamisation" exploited by parties across Europeby Matthew Goodwin / November 15, 2015 / Leave a comment
“This is war. Nothing else,” tweeted Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, as news of the latest Islamist terrorist atrocity filtered out of Paris and onto our television screens. Like other radical right populists Wilders has long warned of the threat from Islamists and the wider “Islamification” of Europe. Since 9/11 the so-called “Eurabia thesis” has become a central reference point for not only the hard right but also some mainstream voices. It emerged long before the arrival of Islamic State, or the refugee crisis, but these events are bringing the idea to new audiences. In its various forms the theory posits that a conspiracy is underway to “Islamise” Europe, through terrorism, forced migration or disproportionately high birth rates among already-settled Muslims. The established politicians, so the argument goes, are either too weak to respond or, worse, are complicit through their unquestioning support for multiculturalism and their enforcement of political correctness. Europe, argues Wilders and others, thus faces an urgent fight for cultural and ethnic survival. What happened in Paris is taken as yet further evidence that the theory holds.
Read more on the Paris attacks:
What we know so far
A quantum leap in Islamic State’s capabilities
Why the 11th Arrondissement was the target
Of course, that a majority of Muslims in Europe openly repudiate fanaticism and violence underscores the flaws in this thinking. But unlike a few years ago it is no longer so easy for liberals to dismiss these ideas as a fringe obsession. If an election were held in the Netherlands tomorrow polls suggest that Wilders and his party would win more seats than the current coalition parties combined. In Austria, the Freedom Party, whose leader warns that “Islamisation” threatens “Christian-Western culture,” sits comfortably in first place with over 30 per cent of the vote. In Switzerland, the Swiss People’s Party, which has campaigned against the spread of Islam, recently won the highest share of the vote for a radical right party in Europe’s entire post-war…