In a recent interview with the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing party Front Nationale (FN), expressed her wish to collaborate with the Dutch right-wing party, Freedom Party (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, for the upcoming European election campaign. Le Pen intents to shows right-wing voters in Europe that xenophobic and racist national movements, which she terms as ‘patriotic’, aren’t isolated but exist in every EU member state. Both parties are infamous for their anti-immigrant, islamophobic and pro-white Christian rhetoric.
Despite the many similarities, however, the leader of the FN acknowledges differences with Wilders in regards to the subject of Muslims and Islam. In her view, she has “nothing against the religion itself”, but is predominantly concerned and against the “influ of Muslim immigrants and the visibility of Islam in society”. Wilders, the author of the controversial Islam critical film “Fitna”, on the other hand is all together against the prohibition of the Quran which he compares to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.
A new joint survey published by France Info, Le Monde and Canal Plus illustrates the normalisation of the Front national (FN) amongst the French. The study conducted by TNS Sofres exemplifies the change of perception about the French right-wing party over a period of 30 years in France.
The poll reveals that today 47% of respondents “don’t consider the party to pose a threat for democracy” anymore. In another poll conducted in 1990, 70% of respondents still perceived the right wing party to be of danger for French democracy. The numbers strongly indicate to a normalisation of the FN amongst the French population. It further underlines the mainstreaming of right wing ideologies amongst conservative voters. Accordingly, 54% of UMP voters do not consider the FN to be a threat anymore. Whereas the number of adherence of FN ideals has stayed relatively equal (32%), 63% of participants however said to disagree with the overall policies of the extreme right.
The crucial role of the new leader of the Front national, Marie Le Pen, in the process of normalising and popularising right wing politics becomes evident in the following numbers: whilst in 2012 41% of respondents said that the leader of the party is the representative of “a patriotic right attached to traditional values” instead of a leader of the “an extreme nationalist and xenophobic right”, a year later, 44% participants support such views. According to Le Monde, this hasn’t been the case during the long reign of Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, over the party.
Moreover, 54% of UMP voters consider the current leader to be the representative of “a patriotic right attached to traditional values”. Left wing voters on the other hand reject to 83% the policies of the FN, amongst the Front de gauche supporters it’s even 86%.
Right wing ideas are accordingly most strongly supported by French with little or no education: 42% of workers, 34% of clerks, 41% of the rural population 36% of the rurban population and 38% of the suburban population identify with FN policies. Those who finished higher education and hold further degrees (79%) are the ones that reject right wing ideas the most including those who live in urban centres, specifically large metropolises, as well as academics (85%).
The poll illustrates how right wing politics have been normalised over several decades in France. The integration of right wing parties and policies into the spectrum of mainstream politics indicates the positive revaluation of the right wing ideology and its representatives, the FN, in French politics. No more is the right confined to a state of pariahhood, but has seemingly arrived in the centre of French politic as well as gained the status of socio-political acceptability in France.
It was reported last Wednesday that Mulla Krekar’s detention had been extended for another eight weeks. He accepts the decision made by the District Court in Oslo, which also informed the public that his case will be decided in a minor court hearing. Krekar’s defendant Arvis Sjöding informed the Aftonposten (Evening Newspapers) that Krekar understood that chances of him being released in wait for the trial were minimal and for that reason he had accepted the Court’s decision without official meeting in the courthouse. The newspaper further presented the details of the case by disclosing that Krekar will most likely appeal the previous conviction given by the District Court in the Court of Appeals and that he will do so most likely in October. According to the prosecutor Marit Bakkevik this is the period that suits both parties in the case.
It was on March 26th (2012) that Krekar was sentenced to five years in jail for a death threat made to Erna Solberg, a leader of the Norwegian right-wing party (http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10064736). He had appealed the court decision just a day after, however his demand was declined. The Kurdish Imam was initially arrested by the PST (Norwegian Police Security Service) only to be detained for eight weeks (in wait for the prosecutor’s initial decision to prosecute him). Subsequently, the court decided that it would be highly dangerous to let Krekar free in wait for court hearings as the nature of his threat (to Bekkevik) was interpreted to be especially serious. Krekar’s defendant Sjödin points out the Krekar is involved in several projects, one of which is writing a book.
More about Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad (Mulla Krekar):
A 56-year-old Muslim cleric of Kurdish origin from northern Iraq and a father of four. Since 1991 he has been living in Norway claiming asylum due to high risk of imprisonment and torture in Iraq due to his political activities. He has been controversial throughout his stay in Norway which has been one of the reasons the Norwegian government did not grant him citizenship despite residing in the country for the past 21 years. Some of the alleged controversies include public statements where he had supported insurgent attacks against the U.S. and ally occupation of Iraq. He has also been the leader of Ansar A-Islam until 2003, an armed group in northern Iraq conducting violent attack against the occupying forces after 2003 and thereafter event the regional Kurdish government forces. He had denounced his leadership, nevertheless, the threat of extrajudicial treatment and torture still remains according to the Norwegian authorities who have not been willing to deport him to Iraq. In March 2012 he has been convicted to a five-year prison sentence due to repeated death threats made both to a prominent politician and a Kurdish-Norwegian writer.
The Spanish Parliament has rejected a motion to ban the burqa and niqab in public places. The motion was presented by the right-wing party (Partido Popular), with the support of CIU (Convergencia i Unió), a Catalan, right-wing, nationalist party.
The Director of the High School, who expelled from class the girl, Najwa Malha, because she wears headscarf, has been signed as an advisor for the Educational Department in the Autonomous Community of Madrid governed by Partido Popular, the Spanish right wing party.
A heated debate is taking place in Denmark between leading political commentators and the president of the Danish Free Press Society. Just before Christmas the president of the Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard, in a video interview said: “Muslims rape their own children. You hear that all the time. Girls in Muslim families are being raped by their uncles, their cousins or their fathers”. In protest against these utterances MPs Naser Khader and Søren Pind and Christian priest Katrine Lilleør left the Free Press Society.
The Free Press Society was established in 2004. Its mission is to defend the right of free speech. However, a broad spectrum of debaters and political commentators are criticizing Hedegaard and the Free Press Society for not being the defender of freedom of speech they claim to be, but instead being a forum for Islamophobia and being closely linked to the right-wing party the Danish People’s Party.
December 22, 2009 Lars Hedegaard was reported to the police for violating the so-called racism-paragraph that forbids utterances which could be understood as demeaning or deriding due to race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexuality.
The conflict about the building of a mosque in Sevilla began five years ago. All this time the Muslim community has been trying to find a place to build a large mosque. The current location is planned for the San Jerónimo neighborhood, the third of three options proposed by the city Council.
Neighbors of San Jeronimo organized a demonstration against the building of a large mosque in their neighborhood. The demonstration, which took place on November 12, had more than 1,000 people in the streets against the mosque. More recently, on December 15, the neighbors’ “Platform for Coexistence and Tolerance in San Jeronimo” organized, with the support of IU (left-wing party), another demonstration. 500 people attended this event to demonstrate against racism and xenophobia in the neighborhood.
The PP (right-wing party) has criticised the city council (governed by the socialist party) for its support of the second demonstration and for the cost of the mosque conflict. For their part, the residents opposed to the construction of the mosque defend themselves against the accusations of racism and xenophobia launched by the Platform for Coexistence and Tolerance in San Jeronimo.
Geert Wilders’ PVV party is an ‘extreme right-wing’ grouping and a threat to social cohesion and democracy, according to a report leaked by Volkskrant. The report, which has yet to be finalized, was created by three academics for the home affairs ministry and looks at polarization and radicalism in the Netherlands.
Ministers and the researchers are still discussing the final changes. Volksrkant notes that as it now stands, the report describes the PVV as an “extreme right-wing party which is mobilizing anti-Islam sentiment and hatred of governmental system”.
Media coverage around the leak has tracked responses to the report throughout the week. Wilders responded furiously to the report, calling Integration minister Eberhard van der Laan and D66 leader Alexander Pechtold, who had publicly responded to the report, “accomplices” of Mohammad B., Theo van Gogh’s murderer.
Meanwhile, a poll conducted in the aftermath of the report found 50 percent of the Dutch think the PVV is on the extreme right of the political spectrum and 66 percent think Wilders is stimulating a fear of Islam. A further 46 percent think Wilders is encouraging a hatred of the government.
A protest demonstration against party leader Geert Wilders was held Monday evening in the city of Arnhem. 200 protestors marched peacefully while the PVV met behind closed doors.
Banning the construction of minarets is more likely to serve the cause of religious fanatics than to halt extremism, the Swiss justice minister said on Thursday. Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told a news conference in Bern that banning minarets would infringe basic human rights and endanger religious peace. A nationwide vote on the issue is to be held on November 29.
“Such a ban would clearly run counter to the basic values of the Swiss state, and would be incompatible with the fundamental rights and principles laid down in the constitution,” Widmer-Schlumpf said. She added that the ban would be discriminatory against Muslims, since other religious communities would not be affected. “We demand that the Muslims of Switzerland should respect our system of law and society,” she said. “If we expect this of Muslims, we must also treat them in the same way as everyone else living in the country as regards religious freedom.”
This comes shortly after the city of Zurich has approved the display of a controversial anti-Islamic poster of a far right party, showing a menacing looking woman in a burqa, next to minarets that closely resemble missiles standing on the Swiss flag. The party have been given the go-ahead by Zurich city council, which argues that they are a necessary component of free speech.
Italy’s former deputy education minister, Mariella Mazzetto, has sparked protests after parading a pig on the site of a planned mosque in the northern Italian city of Padua. Mazzetto, a member of the populist, anti-immigrant, right-wing party, said the act was in defense of maintaining Italian identity. Pigs are considered an unclean animal in Islam, making the act extremely insensitive for Muslims. Several officials across political lines have condemned Massetto’s offense, including Giancarlo Galen, the right wing president of the Veneto region, Padua’s left-wing mayor Flavio Zononto, and Green party councillor Aurora D’Agostino. In October, Northern League senator and former minister Roberto Calreroli proposed a regular pig day, in which he threatened to take his pet pig on land where Italy’s Muslim communities were planning new mosques. Northern Italy has seen a jump in share of the country’s immigrants, due largely to labor sought for farm and factory work.