For example, a mosque in the city of Le Mans was attacked by persons who launched three grenades inside the complex and damaged the building. In another incident, a bomb went off close to a mosque in the city of Villefranche-sur-Saone. Also, the severed head of a pig was found in front of the building of an Islamic center on the island of Corsica in southern France on which the attackers had written, ‘you’re next’.
In another incident, bullets were shot at a mosque in the town of Port-la-Nouvelle in southern France. Such acts of violence did not remain limited to France as three mosques were set on fire in Sweden as well. Seyyed Nader Nourbakhsh, a senior analyst for European issues and a Ph.D. in political science, has written an informative commentary on Europe’s radical Right which tries to point the blame finger on Muslim minorities for every violence and terrorist activities across Europe.
Of course, such attacks were actually insignificant compared to what happened to Charlie Hebdo, but on the whole, they indicate that an atmosphere of hostility and hatred is taking shape against Muslims in France. It should be noted that Muslims account for about 10 percent of the population in France and it seems that the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo will claim the country’s Muslims as its main victims. On the other hand, Western media usually try to make the world believe that all terrorists are Muslims, though a closer look at the available statistics will prove the opposite. According to a report released by the Europol, most terrorist attacks in Europe have been carried out by separatist groups that are active in various European countries.
For example, out of 152 cases of terrorist attacks in Europe during 2013, only two incidents have been based in religious motivations and the rest of them have arisen from nationalistic and separatist reasons. However, such cases are hardly, if ever, reflected in the Western mass media.
According to another report, a total of 94 percent of all violent attacks in the United States in the time interval from 1980 to 2005, has been carried out by non-Muslims. Out of that figure, 42 percent of the attacks were carried out by special groups that are based in Latin America and 24 percent were committed by radical leftist groups. Interestingly enough, based on general statistics released for 2013, the possibility of an American citizen being killed in accidental shooting by a child has been much higher than the possibility of the same citizen being killed in a terrorist operation.
During the past two years, underground terrorist groups like the National Liberation Front of Corsica in France, or such leftist groups as Greece’s people’s militias, or the Italian Anarchist Federation have been behind multiple cases of bombing and murder in their respective countries, which have not been adequately covered by mass media.
The recent incidents have provided good grounds for the escalation of violent measures by the radical rightist groups against the Muslim people living in the West.
Following terrorist attacks on Twin Towers in New York in September 11, 2001, as well as subsequent to terrorist attacks in London and Madrid, European intelligence services put all their focus on extremism preached by such groups as Al-Qaeda. As a result, and quite unwittingly, they paved the way for the expansion of another form of radicalism, this time by radical rightist groups in Western countries. A blatant example of such activities was the terrorist attack in Norway in 2011, which was carried out by a Norwegian citizen called Anders Behring Breivik. As a result of the attack, 77 people lost their lives and 319 were wounded.
Just a short while following the Norway attack, the German secret services said they had discovered an underground neo-Nazi network, which had killed tens of Turkish and Greek emigrants during about 10 years of its activity. The network had gone totally unnoticed by German officials through all those years.
The concerning point here is that most victims of violent actions taken by the rightwing radical groups usually come from minority groups, especially Muslims. Since their operations are usually carried out on the suburbs of big cities and in places where immigrants are concentrated, their actions are not generally noticed by the public. On the other hand, even if such actions are prosecuted, they are not considered acts of terrorism, but are categorized as hate crime, which carries a more lenient sentence than terrorism.
The recent incident in France, the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices, which was actually triggered by the weekly’s insulting cartoons against the Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), has helped fan the flames of extremism in Europe. As a result, special conditions have been brought about in Europe under which radical forces have been able to outdo their rivals in committing acts of violence.
It seems that the existing atmosphere will finally give birth to a vicious circle in which Muslims will feel more isolated and discriminated against than any time in the past. Such a feeling of fear and humiliation is exactly the main factor that terrorist groups like the ISIS are trying to foment among Muslims and through which they can draw on the population of potentially radical youth to attract new members. At present, more than any time before, there is a high risk that people who had left Europe for Syria and Iraq and had joined the ranks of the ISIS may go back to their home countries and embark on violent acts of terrorism.
At a national level, however, such a situation will lead to the adoption of more austere immigration laws against Muslims by the European governments, which will also use this situation as an excuse to up their security measures and downplay the importance of personal freedoms of their citizens.
Of course, such austere measures will not simply affect Muslims, but will also leave their marks on all minorities, including gypsies, and other groups of immigrants in Europe. Under such conditions, radical elements will have a wide maneuvering room in order to have their voice heard by their supporters. Some analysts also believe that such incidents of terrorism highlight France as defenseless against terrorism before the world’s public opinion. On the domestic front, the French President Francois Hollande, who is already suffering from unprecedented loss of popularity, will be able to make the most of these conditions in order to mend his image.
Recent attack on Charlie Hebdo in France has provided radical rightwing parties and movements in all parts of Europe with a very good and unprecedented opportunity to boost their activities and has greatly increased their popularity. As a result, radical rightwing parties have put their focus on issuing renewed warnings about the risks posed by the influx of immigrants to Europe. Some analysts have even warned that the terror attacks in Paris have made way for these parties to put more pressure on the governments to pass anti-immigration laws and further crack down on Muslim minorities.
In the meantime, the populist radical rightwing parties have been trying to show a vociferous reaction to these terror attacks by describing them as a direct result of the multicultural policies adopted by various European states.
Nigel Paul Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, has charged Islamist groups as being a fifth column of London’s enemies in the country, while Geert Wilders, leader of the Netherlands Freedom Party, has noted that it is time to fight against the Islamization of the country. In Germany, a radical group called PEGIDA, meaning the “Patriots against the Islamization of the West”, has been organizing mass protests in various cities in Germany in protest to what it calls the Islamization of Europe.
The terror attack in Paris has provided leaders of the radical right in Europe with a good opportunity to tell their people that they had already warned them about the consequences of the Islamization of Europe. However, is the public opinion in France and other Western countries also aware of the fact that the mistaken intervention and policies of their countries in Syria and Iraq, has been the main reason that has practically turned these countries into fertile grounds for the growth of radicalism and terrorism?
At present, radical rightwing parties have won a sizeable share of parliamentary seats in Austria, Sweden, Hungary, and the Netherlands. At the same time, some people believe that the UK Independence Party, commonly known as UKIP, is more a populist party than a radical rightwing, despite its anti-immigration and xenophobic stances. In addition, Greece’s neo-Nazi party, known as the Golden Dawn, can be only cautiously put in the same category with other radical rightwing parties elsewhere in Europe. What do you think of the trend? Purposeful fanning of the Rightist radicalism, or moving in line with those who care the least or non for religion?