Far-right falling for ISIS narrative? Paris attacks being used to target Islam, refugees

Far-right falling for ISIS narrative? Paris attacks being used to target Islam, refugees
Far right groups across Europe are seizing upon the Paris attacks to condemn Islam and vilify refugees. Opponents are concerned the language being used reinforces Islamic State’s own narrative of an epic clash of civilizations.

From Britain First and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) to France’s National Front and Germany’s Pegida, right-wing groups across Europe have used last Friday’s terror attacks to aid their anti-Islam, anti-immigration agendas.

In doing so, several groups have characterized recent events as an ongoing conflict between the West and Islam. Analysts argue this is exactly what Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) wants.


Posted by Britain First on Tuesday, 17 November 2015

According to retired Foreign Office diplomat Oliver Miles, the terror group aims to incite a Western response they can later define as a ‘crusade.’

“If they can provoke the west into what they will call a crusade they can count on growing support from marginalized Muslims both in the Middle East and in countries such as Britain and France,” he wrote in the Guardian last year.

Since the group began making headlines in 2014, pundits have clashed over the extent to which Islam as a religion can be held responsible for the violence of a fanatical minority.

How ‘Islamic’ is IS?

Graeme Wood, contributing editor at The Atlantic, argued recently that Islamic State follows the “prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.”

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe,” Wood wrote.

But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Writing in The Nation in February, American academic Juan Cole offered a counter argument.

The history professor at the University of Michigan argued in his article, “How ‘Islamic’ is Islamic State?” that IS fits into the sociological category of a “destructive cult,” a definition which explains why it is rejected by the Muslim world. He compares IS to the Branch Davidians, a US Christian group involved in a 1993 siege with federal and state law enforcement near Waco, Texas.

Cole added: “Mainstream Muslims are outraged at allegations that the gratuitous brutality and grandstanding bloodthirstiness of ISIL can be traced to their ‘church.’”

Despite the vast majority of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims condemning IS, right-wing media and political groups routinely conflate the two.

The Daily Mail

The Daily Mail British tabloid printed a cartoon on Tuesday which many have compared to Nazi propaganda due to its suggestion that refugees entering Europe from the war-torn Middle East are rat-like.

The illustration depicts Muslim men and women crossing the border into Europe, some of them carrying guns, with rats scurrying along the ground at their feet.

Nazi literature often drew on similar imagery. As Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, wrote in 1940: “Just like rats, the Jews 2,000 years ago moved from the Middle East to Egypt, at that time a flourishing land … In large hordes they migrated from there to the ‘Promised Land,’ flooded the entire Mediterranean region, broke into Spain, France, and Southern Germany.”


UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage has led the charge of Britain’s right-wing political establishment by accusing some British Muslims of being “conflicted in their loyalties” between the UK and elements within their religion.

Speaking to UKIP supporters on Monday, Farage blamed the failure of multiculturalism for the Paris attacks, arguing that mass immigration has created divisions within the UK, France and “much of the rest of Europe.”

He went on to use the atrocities to attack the European Union’s (EU) Schengen policy of open borders, which allows people to travel without checks.

This dream of the free movement of people, this dream for others of the Schengen area - it hasn’t just meant the free movement of people, it has meant the free movement of Kalashnikov rifles,” Farage told an audience in Basingstoke.

It has meant the free movement of terrorists, and it has meant the free movement of jihadists.”


Posted by Britain First on Sunday, 15 November 2015

Britain First

Other groups have been less nuanced in their attack on Muslims. Far-right group Britain First has ramped up its Islamophobia in the wake of the Paris attacks.

At least two Facebook posts published since Friday’s atrocities in Paris question the idea that Islam is a “religion of peace” by drawing comparisons with other ‘genuinely peaceful’ religions like Christianity and Judaism.

Founded by disillusioned members of the British National Party (BNP) in 2011, Britain First is notable for its slick social media campaigns, often using internet memes to spread disingenuous and hateful messages.


Posted by Britain First on Wednesday, 18 November 2015

At least two Facebook posts published since Friday’s atrocities in Paris question the idea that Islam is a “religion of peace” by drawing comparisons with other ‘genuinely peaceful’ religions like Christianity and Judaism.

The meme ignores cases of violent attacks planned or carried out by people who claim to belong to other faiths. One noteworthy example being Robert Doggart, a US Christian minister, who was indicted by a jury in July for allegedly plotting a terror attack on Muslims in New York. The FBI says Doggart was planning to firebomb a mosque and to use an M-4 assault rifle in the attack.

Britain First denies it is racist, and even has a page on its website under the heading “Racism,” in which it insists race “does not feature in our policies or outlook in any way.”

However, its links to the BNP, English Defence League (EDL), and Christian fundamentalism suggest otherwise. By drawing on the language and imagery of the medieval crusades, Britain First attempts to paint the ‘war on terror’ as ‘Christian Europe’ versus ‘Islamic Middle East.’

Marine Le Pen

In France, political analysts believe far-right leader Marine Le Pen stands to gain from the backlash against Muslims and refugees in next month’s regional elections. Like Farage, the National Front leader wasted no time in scoring political points from the atrocities in Paris.

At a news conference on Saturday, she said: “France and the French are no longer safe.”

Fundamentalist Islam must be wiped out … France must ban Islamist organizations, close radical mosques, and kick out foreigners who are preaching hatred on our soil, as well as illegal immigrants who have nothing to do here,” she added.

Le Pen is currently on trial in Lyons facing hate speech charges for comparing Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation at a rally in 2010.


Germany’s far-right group Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) held a rally that attracted between 9,000 and 12,000 people mere days after the Paris attacks, according to a Dresden University monitoring group.

Pegida leader Siegfried Daebritz reportedly told the crowd that the Paris attacks were the result of Europe’s immigration policy.

They are the result of an immigration policy that invites people from completely foreign cultures with completely different values into countries and regions whose culture many of these immigrants despise,” he said, according to news website The Local.de.

While Pegida remains on the fringes of Germany’s political scene, the new populist right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AFD) saw its support rise to 10 percent as a result of anti-migrant sentiment in a poll published days before the Paris attacks.