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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Europe’s far right on the Paris attack: We told you so

Europe’s far right on the Paris attack: We told you so

For many of Europe's far-right parties, Wednesday's attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is proof that their warnings about immigration were correct.
Over the past few decades, many of these parties had shifted from traditional far-right stances to focus specifically on the threat posed by Muslim immigrant communities. What's more, many of the parties had used arguments about free speech to justify their rhetoric, and now see themselves and Charlie Hebdo as fighting the same fight. (Charlie Hebdo staff would probably disagree.)

Now, with many of these parties on the cusp of unprecedented electoral success, Islamist terror has struck at the heart of Europe. And Europe's far right is responding with a resounding "We told you so."
In an interview with France 2 in the aftermath of the attack, Marine Le Pen said she had been warning of the dangers of Islamist fundamentalism for years. "It is the Islamists who have declared war on France," she said, adding that she supports a new referendum on the death penalty in France.
Le Pen, who leads the National Front party, is one of Western Europe's most popular far-right leaders. Opinion polls from September suggest that she will be one of the two contenders in any runoff vote in the 2017 presidential election.
Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), has pushed his populist right-wing party to surprising levels of success with an anti-European Union and anti-immigration stance. After the Paris shooting, Farage told LBC Radio that a "rather gross policy of multiculturalism" put Britain and other countries at risk of such attacks.
"I don't think anyone can pretend there is a quick fix to this. We have, I'm afraid, and mercifully it's small, but we do have a 'Fifth Column' within our countries," Farage said.
UKIP shocked the British political establishment last year by winning its second seat in Parliament. The party is expected to make further gains in Britain's 2015 general election.
A populist anti-immigration movement called "Pegida" — a German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West — has shocked the German political establishment over the past few months by drawing thousands of people to weekly marches against Muslim immigrants.
"The Islamists that Pegida has been warning about for the past 12 weeks, have shown today in France, that they are not just incapable of democracy, but see violence and death as a solution!" a post on the movement's Facebook wall read.
"This bloodbath proves wrong those who laughed or ignored the fears of so many people about a looming danger of Islamism," Alexander Gauland, a regional leader in far-right party Alternative for Germany, told Reuters. "This gives new clout to Pegida demands."
Matteo Salvini, a member of the European Parliament for Italy and leader of the Lega Nord party, tweeted that "it’s at this point clear that we have our ENEMY at home." 
In a long series of tweets, Salvini also called for an investigation into who funds mosques and asked why Italy's Muslims weren't out in the street protesting the Paris killings.
The Lega Nord party, which calls for federalization for Italy's northern regions, has increasingly shifted its attention to immigration in recent years. The party has formed part of the government in coalitions during the Silvio Berlusconi years.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom, or PVV, released an English-language video condemning the attacks. "It is Islam that inspires the murderers every time again," he says. "The time of looking away should now stop."
The PVV is the fourth-largest party in Holland and has frequently criticized the "Islamization of the Netherlands," though Wilders has refused to align himself with other far-right leaders.
After the attack in Paris, the controversial Greek party Golden Dawn, often described as "neo-fascist," posted a message on its Web site that used the shooting to criticize the government in Athens.
"The Government opens its arms to more and more Islamists in the country and wants to build them a sanctuary in the heart of Athens where they can teach their children how to slaughter infidels untroubled," the article writes. "The Golden Dawn has warned Greeks about the risks to our country from the massive invasion of illegal immigrants for years."

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