Archive for Far Right

Juan Cole: Sarkozy’s Loss in Part Due to His Islamophobia

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by loonwatch

France’s Muslims may not be flexing their electoral muscle as much as they can be, but according to a recent poll 93% voted for Hollande, which would be a considerable boost for the Socialist.

Juan Cole dissects Sarkozy’s loss and how part of it was due to Islamophobia:

Sarkozy’s Loss in Part due to his Islamophobia

by Juan Cole (Informed Comment)

The bad economy in France and outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy’s refusal to do a stimulus program, preferring instead “austerity,” were the primary reasons he lost the election to Socialist Francois Hollande. That and Sarkozy really is an annoying, strutting peacock who wore out his political welcome among voters.

But some of the margin of his defeat came from his pandering to the discourse of the French anti-immigrant far right, which he did especially vocally after he was forced into a run-off against Hollande. Sarkozy said there are too many “foreigners” (he meant immigrants) in France, that police should have greater leeway to shoot fleeing suspects, that the far right are upstanding citizens. He even talked about “people who look Muslim.”

Many observers in France argue that Sarkozy stole so many lines from the soft-fascist National Front of Marine LePen that he mainstreamed it, and made it impossible for the Gaullists of the Union for a Popular Movement (Sarkozy’s party, French acronym UMP) to argue that LePen and her followers should be kept out of national government because they were too extreme. (The irony is that Sarkozy himself is the son of a Hungarian father and his mother was mixed French Catholic and Greek Jewish; and he postured as Ur-French!)

Sarkozy tried to depict the French Left as so woolly-headed and multi-cultural that they were coddling and even fostering the rise of a threatening French Muslim fundamentalism that menaced secular, republican values. Theinfamous daily hour set aside by the mayor at a swimming pool in Lillefor a few years for Muslim women to swim without men present was presented as emblematic of this threat. But it was all polemics. Some Gaullist mayors did the same thing, and for longer.

And, Sarkozy showed much less dedication to Third-Republic-style militant secularism than most Socialists (only 10 percent of the French go to mass regularly and almost all vote for Sarkozy’s UMP, so the Catholic religious right is his constituency). But, he did support the Swiss ban on minarets and he banned public Muslim prayer in France, and the wearing of the burqa’ full veil (popular mainly in the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and worn by like 4 women in France aside from wealthy wives of emirs in France on shopping sprees).

Sarkozy’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and punitive laws in the end drove centristFrancois Bayrou to repudiate him. Bayrou, leader of the Democratic Movement party, had run for president on a platform of reducing the national debt and reining in public spending, and was more center-right than center. He got about 9% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election.

Late last week, Bayrou made the astonishing announcement that Sarkozy’s obsession with “frontiers” just seemed to him a betrayal of French values, and that he was throwing his support to Hollande. Sarkozy’s political platform, he thundered, “is violent” and is “in contradiction with our values, but also those of Gaullism [the mainstream French right] as well as contradicting the values of the republican and social Right.” I am not and never will be, he said, a man of the left. He said he was sure he would be upbraiding Hollande for his spendthrift ways. But on the issue of republican values, he had to back Hollande.

Although he left them free to vote for whomever they liked, Bayrou threw about a third of his centrists’ vote to Hollande, or roughly 3% of those who went to the polls in the first round. Hollande won this round by 4%.

Only about a third of France’s roughly 4.5 million persons of Muslim descent (mainly North and West Africans) identify as Muslims. Only about 10 percent of Muslims are said to vote. So French Muslims are not flexing their electoral muscles yet in a meaningful way. Probably many more secular French voted against Sarkozy because of his odious language about immigrants than did Muslim-heritage French, in absolute numbers.

Sarkozy, by embracing the noxious language of hatred of immigrants and fear-mongering about secular Socialists spreading Muslim theocracy in the villages of France, failed to convince the hard right to vote for him but managed to alienate the center. Even MPs in his own party began speaking out against his having gone too far.

Of course, the kind of violent, anti-immigrant, and Muslim-hating language Sarkozy used is par for the course in the GOP in the US today. But aside from some Libertarians such as Ron Paul, where are the mainstream centrist Republicans who will openly denounce it? Who among Republicans recognizes that the sorts of things Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney say about a monolithic Muslim Caliphate menace are violent and contradictory to the values of the American Republic. Not to mention the things many of them say about Latino immigrants. Where is our Francois Bayrou?


German Far-right Party Plans to Demonstrate Outside Mosques

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by loonwatch

anti-Mosque protests

This seems to be the strategy for the foreseeable future amongst far-right groups in Germany:

German far-right party plans to demonstrate outside mosques

A far-right party on the campaign trial in Germany’s most populous state is threatening to put caricatures of Mohammed outside mosques in a string of cities.

The “Pro NRW” party in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia has already shown anti-Islamic caricatures in Essen and Gelsenkirchen, though the police prevented demonstrations taking place directly outside mosques.

Police have also banned “Pro NRW”, which is campaigning on an Islamophobic platform, from using the Danish cartoons that caused massive protests in the Islamic world in 2005.

But “Pro NRW” intends to send activists to 25 mosques throughout the state in the run-up to the election on May 13, staging protests in Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Aachen, Wuppertal and Solingen. Areport in Die Welt newspaper on Sunday said the far-right party intended to post around 100 what it called “Islam-critical” drawings outside the mosques.

Interior Minister in state Ralf Jäger condemned the campaign and expressed support for planned counter-demonstrations. “Pro NRW is committing spiritual arson,” he told the paper. “The party is consciously taking into account that Muslims will feel provoked and upset. The authorities will exhaust all legal avenues to prevent a xenophobic hate campaign.”

The federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich is reportedly worried about violent confrontations with the Salafists, the fundamentalist Muslims who began distributing free copies of the Koran in Germany three weeks ago. A report in Der Spiegelmagazine over the weekend said his ministry had been in contact with the North Rhine-Westphalia state government in recent weeks to find a way to de-escalate the situation. The election there is on May 13.

“Pro NRW” campaign manager Lars Seidensticker says he did not understand the outrage over the campaign, and says his party would bear no responsibility for any violence.

“If the situation is so tense that you can’t do a campaign like this against Islamist influences any more, then the politicians are responsible for doing away with Germany,” he said, alluding to the title of a 2010 book by banker Thilo Sarrazin (“Germany Does Away with Itself”), which criticized Islamic immigrants in Germany.

“Mosques are potential centres of a new civil war that we have to prevent,” said Seidensticker. “That’s why we have to pull out the Islamist evil by its roots.”

“Pro NRW”, which boasts 250 members, is also planning to award a cash prize for the “best” anti-Islamic caricature, named after Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was responsible for the 2005 images. Westergaard has distanced himself from the competition and is reportedly considering legal action against the party for using his name.

The Local, 30 April 2012

Britain’s Far Right to Focus on Anti-Islamic Policy

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2012 by loonwatch

A follow up to our lead story.

Britain’s far right to focus on anti-Islamic policy

The head of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, will be named deputy leader of the British Freedom party this week after proposing that the group adopt virulent anti-Islamic policies as its central strategy.

Confirmation that Robinson is to be offered a political platform within the BFP is contained in internal documents revealing that he has forwarded a number of “potential policy suggestions” that suggest the party will widen its attacks on Muslims.

The document suggests the BFP with Robinson would “focus on non-Islamic population, not white/black population”, a move that critics describe as an attempt to antagonise relations between Muslims and other Britons. Other proposed areas of campaigning for the party, which will contest several seats in this week’s local elections, include calls for regulation of all mosques and religious schools and the banning of the burqa and niqab.

The unveiling of Robinson as deputy leader of the British Freedom Party will take place in Luton ahead of an EDL demo in the town, during which supporters will be banned from its centre by police, following previous disturbances.

Last week, a BFP member tweeted his support for Norwegian killer Anders Breivik, while an EDL member defended the 34-year-old, currently on trial in Oslo after confessing to the murder of 77 people last July, and said that if he had “singled out the muslim filth” he would be viewed as a hero.

Internal notes of a meeting held in a Luton hotel between senior EDL and BFP figures on 14 April, which have been seen by the Observer, reveal that participants believe the alliance is a development that “will change the direction of British politics”.

However Nick Lowles of campaign group Hope not Hate said: “Although this shows the new face of the far right, a move that further marginalises the BNP, their agenda is so hate-filled that it will remain a minority message.”

Robinson and the BFP have yet to comment, but the documents show that he backs a ban on the building of mosques and madrassas, an end to mass immigration, withdrawal from the EU, and promotion of “Christian values”.

Last week a report by Amnesty International warned of the rise of extremist political movements targeting Muslim practices in Europe, a development evidenced by the surprisingly strong showing of support for the French Front National, the far-right party led by Marine Le Pen, in France’s presidential election. It also said that European laws on what girls and women could wear on their heads were encouraging discrimination against Muslims.

Observer, 29 April 2012

European Far-right Stage anti-Islam Rally

Posted in Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by loonwatch


The Israeli flag makes a regular appearance next to the flags of other European countries in such anti-Islam and anti-Muslim protests.

The above anti-Islam meeting organized by the Danish Defense League attracted 300 people.

Anti-Racists who protested the DDL attracted 5,000.

European far-right stage anti-Islam rally

Hundreds of far-right sympathisers are holding a rally in Denmark against what they call the Islamisation of Europe, starting with a moment of silence for the seven people who were killed by an al-Qaeda-inspired gunman in France.

Saturday’s “European Counter-Jihad Meeting” was organised by the Danish Defence League – an anti-Muslim movement claiming to have no neo-Nazis ties.

It has drawn participants from several European countries, including Britain, Germany, Poland and Sweden.

The rally is being held in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, 200km northwest of Copenhagen, the capital. Police spokesman Georg Husted says 300 people are taking part.

Nearby, a much larger group – about 2,500 people – marched in a counter-demonstration, under the banner “Aarhus For Diversity”.

‘No Breivik ties’

The rally takes place a few weeks before the start of the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist who murdered 77 people in Norway last July.

Breivik claimed to have had contact with the English Defence League (EDL) ahead of the attacks, adding that he had “spoken with tens of EDL members and leaders”.

In response to the killings, the league condemned the killings and added that it had no contact with Breivik.

In a statement on its website, the EDL said it would not associate with any individual or group who did not reject “extremism” and said “racists, neo-Nazis and any other extremists” were not welcome.

It said it had called on participating groups to sign a memorandum declaring that they were “anti-extremist, anti-fascist, and anti-racist”.

“We will protest peacefully, but we will defend ourselves if need be. We will be loud, and we will not back down,” the memorandum states.

EDL leader Stephen Lennon said: “We hope it [the rally] will be the start of a European movement that will continue to grow.”

Various far-right groups have been in Aarhus since Wednesday where they have had a chance to hold meetings and discuss ideas.


Anti-racist groups are worried that hardline anti-Islamic groups are mobilising and gathering support in Europe.

Police in Aarhus said the rally would be kept apart from an expected counter-demonstration by anti-racism campaigners.

Projekt Antifa, a Danish coalition of anti-fascist groups, had booked coaches to take protesters from Copenhagen to Aarhus.

Police Superintendent Mogens Brondum said: “The police can and will handle this situation. We will be out massively.”

Last week, several thousands people turned out for an open-air concert organised to protest against the far-right rally.

A statement issued by city officials said the concert was organised because ”Aarhus does not want to be associated with extremist groups” that represent “everything we want to distance ourselves from”.

French PM Calls on Muslims and Jews to Renounce Halal and Kosher Slaughter

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by loonwatch

More French loonieness:

French PM calls on Muslims and Jews to renounce halal and kosher slaughter

France’s prime minister urged Muslims and Jews to consider scrapping their halal and kosher slaughter laws on Monday as President Nicolas Sarkozy and his allies stepped up their efforts to woo far-right voters.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon made the suggestion after Sarkozy called at the weekend for butchers to clearly label meat slaughtered according to religious laws and his allies warned immigrants might impose halal meat on French schoolchildren.

Fillon and other conservative leaders linked this tough stand on ritually prepared meat to issues such as immigration and French identity that the far-right National Front uses to tap into resentment against Europe’s largest Muslim minority.

“Religions should think about keeping traditions that don’t have much in common with today’s state of science, technology and health problems,” Fillon told Europe 1 radio while discussing the two-round presidential election ending May 6. The “ancestral traditions” of ritual slaughter were justified for hygienic reasons in the past but were now outdated, he said. “We live in a modern society.”

Mohammad Moussaoui, head of France’s Muslim Council, said ritual slaughter was no more painful than modern methods and labelling meat as being prepared “without stunning” would feed resentment against the two minority religions using it. “It will stigmatise Muslims and Jews as people who don’t respect the interests of animals,” he said. “That will raise tensions in society.”

Reuters, 5 March 2012

European “Counter-Jihad” Meeting: A dangerous New phase in extremist politics

Posted in Loon People, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on February 28, 2012 by loonwatch


The English Defense League (EDL) is a far-right anti-immigration, anti-Muslim organization comprised overwhelmingly of young white men deeply pessimistic about the future.

Since its founding in 2009, the group has held a series of street demonstrations deliberately targeting neighborhoods with significant Muslim populations. The protests have often been marred by violence, racism, virulant Islamophobia, and frequest arrests.

Outreach is increasingly sophisticated, and their mission is global in scope. Next month’s meeting in Denmark may usher in a dangerous new phase in their quest for a fascist, worldwide “counter-jihad.”


Far right unites in European initiative

by Kevin Rawlinson & Paul Cahalan, The Independent

They achieve notoriety through a mix of combustible characters and often ugly protests, yet are kept on the political margins due to infighting and ill thought-out policies. But, next month, at a meeting in Denmark, some of Europe’s most notorious right-wing groups will meet for the European Counter-Jihad Meeting.

Those attending could witness the birth of a right-wing movement, the European Defence League – and the beginning of a dangerous new phase in extremist politics.

Representatives from defence leagues in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the USA, Italy, Poland and Finland are due to attend, along with the anti-Muslim groups Stop Islamisation of Europe, Stop Islamisation of the World and the far-right European Freedom Initiative. It is feared the new umbrella organisation could co-ordinate right-wing activities across Europe while politicising and unifying disparate groups. The idea, which is being championed by the English Defence League (EDL), could be modelled on the European Union – with delegates from participating countries meeting regularly.

Weyman Bennett, spokesman for pressure group Unite Against Fascism, said the meeting in Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, was the first meaningful meeting of such groups – which were looking at the EDL model and to mimic successful right-wing political parties in Eastern Europe, some of which have made it to government. He said:

The Euro-leagues are a new danger. We should not forget that it was the Norwegian Defence League that gave us Anders Breivik. The growth of a Euro-league in a time of economic crisis threatens to resurrect fascist street armies such as those that destroyed European democracies in the 1930s. The development of this network allows fascists and right-wing populists to share ideas, finance and experience in a way that should worry us all.

Mr Bennett added the groups would be using the euro crisis as a way to pull in new members, particularly from the middle classes.

He added: “We used to have a number of disparate groups. Now we are moving to a stage where we have fewer groups but they are more organised and sophisticated.”

Some 50 EDL leaders – whose members have been involved in violent clashes with anti-fascist groups in the past – will travel to the meeting. “This is the first proper European Defence League meet. We have been building bridges for the last two years and this is going to be the launch pad,” said Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the leader of the EDL, who is also known as Tommy Robinson.

He added the leader of each national defence league would sit on a panel and would meet “every three to four months”. He said: “We will discuss tactics. Each country’s delegates will get time to describe the problems they have. We will try to pool resources. For example, if another defence league wants to run a demonstration in their own country, they are unlikely to get as much media interest as if we were involved, so we would go over there and lend some support.”

Dr Matthew Goodwin, an expert on the far-right at Nottingham University, said a Continent-wide far-right alliance would help extremist groups organise demonstrations, which carry the possibility of violence and provide access to better-resourced and organised groups in eastern and central Europe.

He said:

The strategy is to organise large marches for the media attention and to provoke anti-fascist and Muslim groups, as well as the local population. Wherever these movements go, there is a possibility of violent clashes. With the EDL, there are question marks over where the movement is heading, if not towards elections. This would be an indication of where it sees itself going.

Dr Goodwin added that, historically, the far-right has often tried to build alliances on the Continent. “If there is anything the Breivik experience taught us, it is that the European-level movements, which share ideas and resources, are very dangerous.”

Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the move was “worrying”. He added the MCB was trying to bring together Muslim groups to counter an increase in Islamophobia.

Last year, Mr Yaxley-Lennon announced that negotiations to set up a political wing of the EDL were at an advanced stage. An alliance with the far-right British Freedom Party was discussed and Mr Yaxley-Lennon said he hoped to stand candidates in the next round of local elections. That deal has not yet been concluded and it is thought that it has met with some resistance among the EDL’s grassroots.

Yesterday, about 600 people travelled to Hyde, Greater Manchester, to take part in an EDL protest against an alleged attack by Asian youths on two white teenagers in the town. Eleven were arrested for minor public order offences.

Germany holds state ceremony for Muslims murdered by neo-Nazis

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by loonwatch
German Neo-Nazi
A neo Nazi carrying a German imperial flag. (AP)

According to the German intelligence services, up to 30,000 Germans are believed to hold far-right beliefs — and among those, one-third are bent on violence. Critics claim authorities preoccupied with Muslim extremists have overlooked this growing problem.

Germany holds state ceremony for Muslims murdered by neo-Nazis

by David Crossland, The National

BERLIN // Germany held a state ceremony and observed a nationwide minute of silence yesterday in honour of the 10 people, most of them Muslim shopkeepers, who were shot dead by neo-Nazis during a seven-year killing spree.

Angela Merkel, the chancellor, said the murders, uncovered by chance last November, had brought shame on the nation. She apologised to the families for police errors that critics have blamed on institutional racism.

“The murders were an assault on our country. They are a disgrace to our country,” she told a memorial service in Berlin attended by 1,200 people, including relatives of the victims.

The shootings started in 2000 and continued until 2007, targeting small businessmen including a flower seller, a grocer, a kiosk owner and two doner kebab shop managers.

They happened in cities across Germany, from Munich in the south to Rostock on the north coast, and the same handgun was used each time. A German policewoman was also killed.

Police failed to investigate a possible racist motive, instead suspecting that the families might be involved or that the victims had been caught up in illegal activities.

Authorities found out by accident last November that the murders were committed by a terrorist group calling itself the National Socialist Underground and made up of three neo-Nazis who had been on the run for more than a decade.

Two of them, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, committed suicide after a botched bank robbery. A DVD claiming responsibility for all the killings was found in an apartment they had used with the third member, Beate Zschäpe, who was arrested.

The discovery of the trio was a major embarrassment for German security authorities. It exposed them to accusations of having been blind to the threat of far-right violence and preoccupied with Islamist militants since the September 11 attacks.

A parliamentary inquiry has been set up and steps are underway to improve coordination among national and regional intelligence authorities. But critics say deeper change is needed, not only in the organisation of the security services but in the mindset of the police.

“Some of the relatives were themselves under suspicion for years. That is terrible. I ask your forgiveness for that,” said Mrs Merkel. “These years must have been a never-ending nightmare for you,” she said.

For years, the murders were dismissively referred to by the media and the police as the “Doner Killings” because of the stereotype of Turks running kebab shops. The relatives were given little attention.

“Indifference has a creeping but disastrous effect,” said Mrs Merkel. “It drives rifts into our society.”

Turkish immigrants and their descendants make up most of Germany’s almost four million Muslims. Even though the community dates back more than half a century, they are still labelled as “foreigners” by many Germans, and live in parallel communities.

For some, the memorial ceremony was overshadowed by criticism from immigrant groups that the government is not doing enough to fight racism, and by warnings from police that there are further potential terrorists in the country’s far-right, which contains 10,000 people categorised by law enforcement as potentially violent.

“The danger of racism shouldn’t be seen as a peripheral problem or just being linked to neo-Nazi violence,” said Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of the Council of Muslims in Germany.

“Racism, anti-Semitism and hostility to Islam can keep on advancing into the centre of society if we don’t resist that more decisively with all democratic means at our disposal.”