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Naive for Europe to dismiss extremism

Published 27/05/2016

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor
Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

The overwhelming sense of relief in Europe's established political, social and religious establishment at the failure of Norbert Hofer, the leader of Austria's far-Right Freedom Party, to win his country's presidential election seems at best a temporary moment of respite - given half of the voting populace backed him.

It is simplistic to generalise - as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls did - and say Austrians have rejected "populism and extremism (and) everyone in Europe should learn from this".

This is clearly an expression of hope, not reality, given the ascent of ultra-nationalist parties like France's Front National and Germany's Alternative for Deutschland (Afd) and the success of Scandinavian and Slavic ultra-nationalists.

Mass migrations from the Middle East, Africa and Asia have completely broken a post-Second World War template of Caucasian, Christian European hegemony.

This has facilitated extremism on both sides of the spectrum; which, in many respects, replicates the continent-wide political and social forces of a pre-war Europe that was polarised by hatred of the "other".

This has led to the targeting of existing minorities, whose forebears have been in Europe for generations. Consequently, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have become the norm.


Kinsale, Co Cork

Belfast Telegraph

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