European far-right targets Muslims as new scapegoats

The intensified far-right populist political rhetoric has been the new specter haunting European society’s core liberal democratic values, with Muslims designated as the new scapegoats, leading to an exclusionary and discriminatory atmosphere on the continent. Experts have suggested that European society has chosen Muslims as the new Jews, shifting from anti-Semitism to a new anti-Muslim stance.
The rise of violence against migrants in general, and Muslims and Turks in particular, has become more visible in recent years, especially due to the refugee flows into the continent, escaping from conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa. According to a recent report by Germany’s Ministry of Interior, for example, crimes motivated by far-right tendencies have reached a record high of 23,555 cases in 2016, including 1,698 of which that were classified as violent attacks. Anadolu Agency reported that Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the increasing scale of violence was a worrisome development. “Violent offences have increased significantly; this should be a real concern to us all. We are particularly witnessing an increase in grievous bodily harm,” De Maiziere said at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.
A report prepared by EUROPOL, titled European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2016, which classifies the far-right violence under the heading of “terrorism,” states: “In 2015, Islamophobic crimes against mosques and the Muslim community increased. Poland, for example, reported that in comparison to 2013/2014, the number of cases concerning Muslims and Muslim institutions has doubled and in France numerous incidents of Islamophobic hate crimes occurred, including firebombs, vandalism and threats.”

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