This is a comment piece that I was approached to write for Australian Outlook, an online comment website run by the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Given the Institute has been voted the top think tank in South East Asia and the Pacific in the Global Go To Think Tanks Index in both 2015 and 2016, this was a great honour.
To read my common piece in full, click here.
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The Rise of Europe’s Far-Right and the Anti-Muslim Tide
The notion of Europe being “invaded” by an Islamic other has gained considerable traction in the past decade and a half.
This rhetoric routinely cites the mass migration that followed World War II as starting the process, and uses more recent migration – in particular the ongoing plight of those fleeing the civil war in Syria – to argue for resistance to this invasion. Perceiving migration as an insidious process as opposed a humanitarian one, the narrative of invasion argues that, once here, those migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers that happen to be Muslim will then go on to “Islamify” the nation states that generously afforded them shelter.
Such rhetoric can be found across various settings. At its most extreme, it was evident with Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik who – shortly before killing eight people with a bomb in Oslo and a further 69 at a summer camp on the island of Utøya – uploaded a manifesto to the internet that called for resistance against the Islamic invasion of Europe as justification for the atrocities he went on to commit. Breivik added he was far from alone in this resistance, citing Germany’s Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund (National Socialist Underground) and Sweden’s Peter Mangs as examples.
That same discourse can be seen in the political mainstream also: the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has stated that Milan would become an ‘Islamic city’ while the Sverigedemokraterna (Swedish Democrats) have called for the need to limit the ‘birth rate’ of Muslim migrants to the country. In relation to the Syrian refugee crisis specifically, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has alluded to the vast numbers of Muslim migrants being part of a ‘master plan’.
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