Far Right and Islamophobia in Europe

Abstracts

Given its recent rising trend in the West in general and specifically in Europe and known as the new normal of “Europe-West” under such descriptions as “extreme right”, “radical right”, “populist right” or “new right”, being cognizant of the religious, ideological and historical bases-roots of “far-right” politics bears an utmost importance in respect of perceiving the present day far-rightist discourses, actions and policies. The analyses of such bases have gained importance particularly in the aftermath of September 11 where far-right evolved towards populism, immigrant phobia, islamophobia and racism. In this present study, we will firstly define the fundamental characteristics, evolution course of far-right and especially the far-right groups-parties in the European countries. We will then be elaborating on the religious-historical- ideological roots of far- right under such titles as “phobias” (xenophobia, immigrant phobia, islamophobia, Turkophobia), “national socialism” (Nazism), “racism” and the use of radical interpretations of the Holy Scripture by the far-right Jewish, Christian-Protestant Evangelical groups.

In the last quarter of the century, the right-wing parties tend to rise systematically and steadily in the elections. On the other hand, it is true that some right-wing parties rise in some countries while some others follow a different course: either they do not make any premiums, or they first rise and then tend to descend or follow a cyclical path. From this point of view, the main argument of this article is: the most important explanatory parameter that explains the power of the extreme right parties is the change and transformation dynamics in the global economic system, as well as the destructive impact of globalization on domestic social contexts and cultural domain. The main events and phenomena that feed extreme right are the economic recession and youth unemployment observed in the last decade, increasing violence and terrorism, global factors such as nationalism and populism triggered by the global wave of migration. This article uses the metaphor “second image reversed” which was introduced by Peter Gourevitch to the discipline of international relations. With the support of this theoretical model, it is argued that the rise of extremist parties can be successfully linked to global dynamics. According to Gourevitch, gigantic waves in the global system, where no centralized state exists, are inevitable to penetrate into states and societies. This will make it easier to understand the development and institutionalization of the extreme right political formations. In addition, the correct identification of the underlying cause-and-effect relationship of the rise of the extreme right will facilitate the establishment of healthier political systems both on state level and regarding the global governance.

Since a number of terrorist attacks demonstrated the extremely destructive potential of violent radicalisation of far-right in recent years, a new wave of discussions on the dynamics and the threats posed by this phenomenon has emerged. Taking the increase in attacks and hate speeches against vulnerable groups (Muslims, Roma, immigrants, refugees etc) into account, there are legitimate concerns over an emerging widespread and deep-rooted tendency in Europe, which is more intolerant, exclusive and normalises violent extremism. Furthermore, newly emerging tendencies in European political context such as the rise of nativist nationalism and the development of hostile public discourses against immigrants brought the ideas into the mainstream discussion, which had been traditionally attributed to far-right. Along with the rise of non-violent far-right politics, concerns are growing over potential far-right violence that would be committed either by organised movements, unofficial networks or individuals. Despite this background, the phenomena of violent extremism and radicalisation are predominantly analysed within the framework of religion-based formations, and far-right is mostly excluded from those analyses.

Every political relationship is a relationship of sovereignty and for this reason it involves violence. The violence that political regimes contain is legitimized through ideologies. Liberalism makes violence invisible by concealing sovereign through concepts as limited power, negative freedom, rule of law and the free market. Socialism sees open violence as a means of achieving communist social order. Fascism, which is the subject of this article, agrees that violence is a necessity arising from the nature of politics. It is possible to say that the logic of sovereignty manifests most clearly in fascism because it regards violence as a necessity and even sublimes violence. Power politics, affirmation of inequality, desire to control society and time, irrational and immoral political action are some of the characteristics of fascism. In each of these characteristics, it is possible to trace the logic of sovereignty.

Islam as a religion sets certain rules and regulations which concern relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, with whom Muslims share the same world. Around these principles, the experiences of the Prophet (PBUH) and the first Muslims have set example for the following centuries and generations. It is not possible to correctly evaluate Muslims’ relations with individuals and societies who adhere to other religions without correctly assessing Islam’s general approach as a belief and legal system, as well as the Prophet’s (PBUH) practices regarding the subject. In this context, it is very important to avoid misplacing the concepts of peace, war and violence in the said picture so that Muslims can determine their ideal position, while at the same time non-Muslims do not abandon the principle of equity in defining and recognizing the Muslims and Islam. This article analyzes prominent Quranic verses and hadiths pertaining to tenets upon which the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims are based. It also tries to develop a perspective in order to ascertain the viewpoint of Islamic Law.

Discussions and academic studies on the similarities between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have recently increased. In this context, the question whether Islamophobia is the new anti-Semitism has been asked more frequently than ever. Consequently, a rich literature is emerging which focuses on the similarities and differences between these two phenomena. In this regard, this article aims to categorize and evaluate current literature on this subject. In doing so it will provide a comprehensive analyses of the current literature on the comparison between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

It is mostly accepted that beginning from the fourteenth century Renaissance and Reform movements and leading to the geographical discoveries, martial, scientific and industrial revolutions, and eventually to the Age of Enlightenment, the twentieth century European countries have continuously proceeded through a progressive line of development. Eighteenth century can also be named as a period where an enlightenment consciousness has started to be questioned and shaped together with the question of “What is the Enlightenment?” Almost all of these countries have considered themselves to be the heir of such a conception of European civilization. Yet, the twentieth century would not be remembered as an age when the European countries shared the moral and material values they have been building up for centuries with each other and with the world countries. The first half of the twentieth century rather witnessed the fight of the heirs of the European civilization for throne, struggling to lay hold of Europe’s world capital. Meanwhile an evolutionary idea depending on the “hegemony of the strongest,” by surpassing all kinds of thought and system that succeeded in sheltering what is different, had led the way to the emergence of fascist regimes in Europe.

 

Within the basic codes of the modern Western civilization, the position of the city states based on citizenship which emerged in the Greek polis and Roman Civitas, has gradually gained its own spirit and understanding. This spirit constitutes the civilian side with an independent theology and political understanding, and has always a separate position from the clergy and the ruling classes. This urban spirit has manifested itself through theater and opera gatherings that bring together social mythology and society experience. And this spirit has reached to the parliamentary institution by asking for more share from the ruling role. Although Catholic Christianity and aristocracy have shared Rome’s heritage among centuries, the civilian theology and politics have shown their original nature after the British Puritan civil war in Protestant and gnostic movements all over Europe. Hobbes has elaborated on and discussed the changes in post-Roman Europe by the historical concepts of Civitas, civil, city state, commonwealth and Leviathan. The nature of civil politics flows is two-way. One side is a Leviathan and the other is a civilization.

Islamophobia is the fear of Islam and Muslims to say the least. This fear is related with violence. This concept comes to mind with the reactions shown to Salman Rushdî’s book in countries where Muslims are a minority and where they are known for means of violence against Muslims. However it is possible to mention the notion of Islamophobia in the countries where Muslims are non-minority like Turkey. Although not at the level devoting of religious people as in the past, Islamophobia in Turkey nowadays appears as a negative figuration of Muslims, associated with artifical discussions of religious issues, insulting the prophet in social media and encouraging of prejudices that will cause social segregation.

In this study, moving from the representatives in the media, especially satirical magazines and twitter compared islamophobic similarities in the Turkish media and in the West and suggestions were made about the risks that could lead to social dissociation in the light of public opinion researches.

After World War II, the effects of the destruction of Europe have been felt for many years in different areas such as social, political, and economic fields. European met its human resource need lost in the war, through the middle of the 1950s until the second half of the 1970s as well as from countries that were rich in terms of labor force. Western European countries and especially Germany have used their immigrant labor force intensively in the fields they need as a result of the bilateral agreements they have made with Maghreb countries, Yugoslavia, Turkey and so on. In this study, apart from the sociological meaning of the word foreign, the relation of this phenomenon to the conditional hospitality thought is discussed. Besides the treaty signed by Germany with Turkey in 1961 in order to attract labor migrants into their countries and terminated in 1973, the conditional hospitality policy has been discussed in this study. Moreover, the rise of xenophobic rhetoric and actions against Turkish immigrants with the extreme right rising in Europe since 1980s has been discussed.

The relationship established between the Western and Islamic societies by means of othering is based on ancient times. This relationship, which has changed in the historical duration, is now witnessing the efforts of the Western societies to exclude as well as transform the Islamic societies. The so-called legitimacy for the most of the Western interventions is achieved with the “democracy” that is owned like the West’s new religion. With the end of the empires and the establishment of nation states, most of the Muslim communities, which have not been able to fully establish unity consciousness, have lost a great deal of their rights to life on their lands with a social and political structure open to Western intervention. The other parts of these people are exposed to life in secondary human status in the West, where they had to migrate. This stiuation causes Muslim communities to take a total stance against the West, some of which are radicalizing and are being captured by global terrorist organizations. While the West operates its international operations on a legitimate ground, on the other hand it continues to othering and re-othering Muslim societies.

From History

İşlerimizi asra göre uydurmak fikri bizde, oldukca kadîm bir tarih-i tevellüde mâlikdir. İslâmiyet bize, dâimâ asrîlik fikrini ilhâm eden bir menbâ-ı feyyaz, bize dâimâ teceddüd yollarını gösteren bir mürşid-i kâmil iken, biz ona karşı çoktan beri gözlerimizi kapamış, kulaklarımızı tıkamış bulunuyor idik. “Mum kendi dibine ışık vermez.” ve “Ol mahiler ki derya içreler deryayı bilmezler.” darb-ı meselleri icâbınca dâimâ gözümüzün önünde müncelî bulunan İslâmiyet bizi tenvîr edemiyordu. İçinde bulunduğumuz o deryayı hikmetin ne olduğunu anlayamıyor idik. Avrupa ile temâsımız bize bir yenilik ve asrîlik ruhu nefh etti.

Postscripts

Eco-conservatism as a hybrid blend of ecology and conservatism is a political attitude that rests on major assumptions of ecology and political themes and elements of conservatism as a political ideology. In this respect, eco-conservatism can be read as a conceptual medium that both connotes and indicates the theoretical richness of ecology as a social movement and the potential of articulation of conservatism as a political world-view. Accordingly, this paper attempts to analyze the nature of eco-conservatism with a particular reference to its major tenets and principles. The paper is structured into two main parts. The first part of the paper simply deals with how eco-conservatism can be defined and described, while the second part scrutinizes some major theoretical opportunities and limitations within the eco-conservative perspective. The major argument of this paper is that eco-conservatism is worth pondering in the sense that it provides an opportunity for understanding and explicating the theoretical and political potential of both conservatism and ecology.

The Islam and Prophet Muhammad interpretations of western thinkers of would form the perception of Islam in the west; it will cause the defining, interpretation and positioning of the religion of Islam, which would be accepted as a danger by Christianity because it suggested universalism, as a marginal (the other). Interpretation of Islam as “the other” will enable the west to define themselves as “self”, and thus Islam, along with thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, Pascal, R. Bacon and Descartes, would be denigrated as a philosophy of life that the “others” would have. Thus, in this study, it will be argued and interpreted that; the factual problems that emerged with the type of the first encounter of the west with Islam should be discussed again; what will the struggle of Islam be on the ontological side against the self-perception of the west; what reinterpreting Islam against the west means; what will be the leading role of Islam in building civilization against a mechanized Europe; and how the struggle of Islam, which will not be secularized and protects its ontological existence and continues it in a stronger way, might be to reproduce “self-perception”, against Christianity that is strengthened by being secularized.

This study examines the representation of refugee children in cartoons shared by the United Nations Children’s Aid Fund, a non-governmental organization based in the United States, or the institution known as UNICEF, the video sharing platform YouTube. In the cartoons that are mentioned in the study, the focus is on the semantic analysis of the forms of representation for the refugee children, which is a worldwide problem.

In this context, the themes, content and discourse used are chosen to analyze the videos that UNICEF shares on YouTube, namely “Malak and Boat”, “Mustafa’s Road” and “Ivine and Pillow Adventures”. “Semiology” will be used as a research method, and Stuart Hall’s “Cultural Representations and Understanding Practices” will be utilized. In general, when looking at these three short lines, refugee children appear to represent only “victimized children”, “lonely children without friends”, “children fleeing their countries”. On the other hand, there is no message in these contexts to raise awareness of how children’s problems will be solved; only UNICEF is required to donate.

As the field of activity becomes narrower in local governments, it is easier and less costly to reflect the preferences of people. Since the distance between society and administration is closer, the local government formed qt political and administrative levels produces more effective results in terms of democratic efficiency. In this new administrative form, which can also be expressed as “local governance”, the local government in an autonomous structure, assuming more responsibility to cooperate with the central government, private sector and other actors (development agencies, NGOs, etc.) At this point, while focusing on the needs and disadvantages, it is necessary to understand that NGOs hold basic responsibilities in terms of cooperating with local governments in various forms such as local education, provision of social services, empowerment of solidarity and protection of freedoms. After the collapse of welfare politics, the importance of cooperation between government and civil society has emerged. It is then necessary to talk about the increasing importance of civil society as a prominent actor in the field of social welfare, in the sense that having the basis for providing services without being exposed to the conditions of bulkiness, inefficiency and red-tape. The cooperation mechanism, recently revealed in Sultanbeyli within the context of Syrian refugees, is a good example which brings Sultanbeyli Municipality, Sultanbeyli Governorship, the Ministry of Family and Social Policy and some important non-governmental organizations together as project partners.