Islamophobia and the new Far Right Scapegoat

By Alex Wittmann

In Nazi Germany there was a very obvious scapegoat, it was the Jewish population. They were blamed for Germany’s misfortunes. The Nazis planted the insidious conspiracy that the Jews were responsible for Germany’s WWI defeat. Hitler also asserted that they were behind the ideology of Bolshevism. Knowing all of this, I could not help but notice that the Far Right of the past and present has a particular interest in using a scapegoat to rile their base and create a common reactionary movement in the cause of their Populist movement propelling them to power in their country. In Nazi Germay it was the Jews and in European Far Right movements today it is Islam. This was shown in the Vox article The Growing Influence of Anti Immigrant Politics. There was one major similarity in which I noticed similarities in which I noticed. I consisted being of course Xenophobia or Anti Islam. The article asserts that Populism gained traction in the Refugee Crisis of 2015,where the perfect storm emerged. The article explained that prior to 2015 the Far Right did not have much power in Europe. Right Wing movements are usually born out of reaction. The massive influx of refugees, terrorist attacks, and fear of racial diolution lit the spark for Populist movements in Europe. Creating a major backlash against immigrants coming in from Syria. The Far Right used them as scapegoats for Europe’s problems with terrorist attacks that year. I am not saying that the European Far Right movements are born again Nazi movements. However it would appear that any Far Right movement is born out of reaction and scapegoating. The Nazis did it with the Jews and the Far Right European Populists have made scapegoats out of Muslims trying to seek asylum. The difference between the current Far Right and the Nazis is that the current Far Right has not systematically exterminated their enemies.

Work Cited: Zack Beauchamp, “An expert on the European far right explains the growing influence of anti-immigrant politics” May 31, 2016 https://www.vox.com/2016/5/31/11722994/european-far-right-cas-mudde.

One Reply to “Islamophobia and the new Far Right Scapegoat”

  1. the author makes a interesting use of scapegoats that needs to be expanded a bit more. Scapegoating is a political tool with a specific purpose. How might understanding that purpose help articulate the objectives of the far right movements?

    Xenophobia or Anti Islam manifests out of a historic racial and religious difference. This sentiment is useful for populists who are attempting to create an artificial group often referred to as “the people” – “real”, “ordinary” and “common” people.

    Scapegoating brings to the attention commonality among a group of people who would otherwise reside in separate socio-political groups. It rallies these people together and perpetuates that ‘they’ the ‘common people’ have been put aside buy the Others. it would be worth considering if scapegoating is a building block to populist movements apart from right-left movements.

    Thank you for your contribution.

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