As the far-Right organisation Stop the Islamisation of Europe holds its first demonstration in London (to coincide with the US’ ‘Islamo-fascism’ Awareness week) the IRR’s European Race Bulletin argues that European countries’ new security laws are removing Muslim communities from the protection of the ordinary rule of law and legitimising the Islamophobia of extreme-Right movements and parties across Europe.
The Autumn 2007 issue of the IRR’s European Race Bulletin contains an in-depth report on the election material of the extreme-Right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and country round-ups on anti-terrorism and human rights.
Jon Higham, a PhD student researching political discourse on racism and immigration in Austria, has examined the manifestos, leaflets, newspapers, slogans and hoardings of the Freedom Party in elections since 1999. He shows that though the explicitness of its xenophobic message had varied over time (especially when it was part of the coalition government), the language, metaphors and imagery that the party deploys are often offensive and always disturbing. The 2006 manifesto singled out Muslims as a threat to security and the Austrian way of life.
Liz Fekete, in her review of fourteen European countries’ policies on anti-terror operations, national security expulsions, proscription, ‘speech crime’, extraordinary rendition, religious profiling, ‘securitisation’ of citizenship and residence rights, security policing, detention and control orders, draws attention to their impact on Muslim communities. ‘It is security laws that remove Muslim communities from the protection of the ordinary rule of law which legitimise the extreme Right’s current racist campaign to “stop the Islamisation of Europe”. When states remove civil liberties from Muslim communities on the grounds of national security, the extreme Right’s toxic message that “all Muslims are terrorists” does not appear abnormal.’
Stop the Islamisation of Europe is an alliance of far-Right groups which is about to hold rallies in London, Copenhagen and Marseilles to demand an end to what they call ‘the overt and covert expansion of Islam in Europe’.