University of Toronto’s Janice Stein worries that [right-wing] “militants feed on attacks like the Charlie Hebdo massacre,” calling for things like sealed borders and “purification.”
“People are horrified,” Stein says, “and that feeds in to those on the other end of the spectrum …” She adds that the situation is “deeply worrying … because this is inconsistent with a rights-based democracy.”
“What you are seeing is a wider, almost a cross-Europe movement, but this is not the 1930s. That is not where we are.
In Germany, the PEGIDA movement, or the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, has been gaining steam, holding public rallies in Dresden and Dusseldorf. The group says it supports “integrated Muslims” living in Europe but anti-PEGIDA movements have sprung up to counter their rallies.
It is no surprise that this anger is rising at a time when the European Union is facing deep economic problems, Stein said.
“We’ve seen that historically in Europe — youth unemployment, frustration, loss of hope by young people and loss of confidence in government. So what do you do? You focus on the foreigner … Who suffers? Overwhelming, I am talking 99.9 per cent of European Muslims. They are the true victims.”
So, contemporary European acrimony has little to do with Islamic extremism … and much to do with sophistic scapegoating?