European Anti-Islamization Movement
By Ben Thorpe
It seems that, in recent times, the progress of Islamization has proved controversial, encountering opposition and making many enemies from individuals to entire political parties. Given the recent acts of radical terrorism in Paris, committed in the name of Islam, it seems prudent to examine just how strong anti-Islamization attitudes are in Europe.
France itself has struggled with and sometimes against Islam for many years. According to NationMaster.com, France sat with a Muslim population of 3.55 million in 2009, explaining France’s growing Islamization seen in recent years. As a result, opponents have risen to this social fluctuation, most specifically the National Front. According to The International Business Times, they are most recently known for a video produced by one of their advisors that was posted on Twitter, in which it is declared that France is ‘at war’ with Islam. That same video is also said to have parallels drawn between the arrival of Islam in modern France and the arrival of Nazism in WWII-era France. The National Front has gathered a decent following as an affluent right-wing party with strong anti-immigration policies, including their slogan, “The French Come First”. The incident in Paris has proven to be the perfect fuel for the National Front’s climb to winning the 2017 election. According to RT News, party leader Marine Le Pen referred to Islam as an ‘odious ideology’ in a video posted on the National Front’s Youtube channel shortly after the Paris attack. And also in the wake of Paris attack, Le Pen went on to Tweet about her plans to, in the event that she should win the upcoming election, call for the return of capital punishment to France, which has been outlawed since 1981.
We have seen a similar rise of anti-Islam attitudes in Germany, though much less official and certainly less focused strictly on Islam Fundamentalism. The presence of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) has seen a recent rise in popularity in Europe, particularly in Germany. Founded from a simple Facebook group, PEGIDA has fastbecome the face of German anti-immigration and anti-Islamization doctrine. According to The Independent (UK), prior to the Paris incident, PEGIDA held an anti-Islam march 18,000 strong in Dresden. The organization is mostly known for the 19 point manifesto they published, outlining their most fundamental political beliefs and demands for the German government. In said manifesto, they outline a support of Germany’s traditional Christian culture (point 13); an intolerance of religious or political doctrine that condones violence, but an acceptance of peaceful Muslims (point 10); and an attempt to establish a service within the European Union that equally distributes immigrants amongst its country members (point 4). Despite a seemingly well-organized set of principles, support for PEGIDA has been low. According to The Independent (UK), at PEGIDA’s march in Cologne in January, the entire city, including the cathedral, dimmed their lights and plunged the city into darkness while counter-protesters held up pro-immigration signs, as a group sign of disapproval.
Through the eye-opening tragedy that occurred in Paris this year, America has become increasingly aware of European-Islamic tensions across the Atlantic. Examples like the ones given above in France and Germany show us that we are not the only ones who have witnessed and are responding to the arrival of radical Islam into the world’s view. It also shows us that we must be careful that our opinions fall on the informed and moral side of the painfully confusing dialogue that is Islamization in Europe.