First Responder: the Radical Right in Multicultural Europe

This week, the readings reflected on European multiculturalism. The question was not IS Europe multicultural but rather WHAT has been the backlash to Europe being multicultural. All of the readings address the surge of right-wing populist groups within recent years, whose platforms are a combination of xenophobia, nativism, Islamophobia and (in contract to Fascist dictators of the early 20th century) democratic values.

These groups first began to take form in the 1980’s when immigrants and minorities in Europe became less secluded and more “visible” in society. Their purpose was to preserve the “us” (usually white Christians) from “them” (minorities). It should be noted that the “them” does change depending on the country. For example, antisemitism can be found in groups from the east but typically not in the west. Meanwhile, Islamophobia is most common throughout Europe.

In any case, these groups have become much stronger in recent years. While there are many reasons, the readings suggest this is mainly due to a combination of the weak traditional elite, the refugee crisis, and recent terror attacks. These recent events have caused general discontentment to come to a boiling point, which is a recipe for popularity in radical ideologies. This is especially due to the left and more moderate rights having few tangible ideas for how to address such problems. In conclusion, while there is lack of a blueprint on how to confront these issues (in addition to other issues that arise from multiculturalism such as debates on the burka or Black Pete), the radical right will continue only to gain traction at the expense of a multicultural Europe.

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