A Fascist Summit Meeting in Belgium

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Here’s some interesting news from the far right scene in Europe. For years, the Belgian Vlaams Belang party (a European party promoted by “anti-jihad” bloggers such as Pamela Geller, Gates of Vienna, and Brussels Journal) tried to deny they had any connection to the neo-Nazi British National Party.

Well, they just stopped hiding it. A VB-sponsored event in the Belgian city of Ghent yesterday featured Frank Vanhecke of the Vlaams Belang, Nick Griffin of the BNP, Bruno Gollnisch of the National Front, and Andreas Molzer of the Austrian FPO. A who’s who of outright Nazis, fascists, and Holocaust deniers.

The Lancaster Unity blog has a report on this fascist summit: Nick Griffin’s foreign fascist festival.

Fresh from agreeing to allow blacks and Asians join his party, Nick Griffin is this week embracing a group of men who have funny names and speak foreign languages. Have his regular trips to Brussels and Strasbourg finally brought out the British National Party chief’s cosmopolitan side?

Of course they haven’t. Far from sampling the diversity of Europe, Griffin [shared] a platform with some of the continent’s most narrow-minded politicians in Ghent yesterday (Wednesday).

According to his Facebook fan page, Griffin visited the Belgian city to address a “student symposium”. Yet the poster for the event indicated there will be precious little of the academic chin-rubbing you’d normally expect at a meeting billed as such. The poster depicts a burqa-clad woman standing in front of a European flag studded with minaret spires.

This crass Islamophobia is typical of promotional material produced by the far-right party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), whose de facto youth wing, the National Student Association (NSV), is organising the event. Like the BNP, the Vlaams Belang has had to amend its rulebook in recent years after its precursor, the Vlaams Blok, was banned for flouting anti-discrimination laws.

Frank Vanhecke, the Vlaams Belang leader, also scheduled to speak in Ghent, is not as openly xenophobic as he used to be – he once denounced an Amsterdam mayor who named a square after Nelson Mandela as a “renegade towards his own people and race”. Yet he has no qualms about inciting hatred against Muslims. Women who wear a veil, he has said, have signed a contract for their deportation.

Another guest in Ghent was Bruno Gollnisch, deputy-leader of the French National Front. Gollnisch has been helping the BNP finesse its electoral strategy, according to a story in the Daily Mirror. By turning to him for advice, Griffin evidently no longer appears as keen to emphasise that he is “not” an anti-Semite as he was during his Question Time appearance. In 2004, Gollnisch suggested that the Nazi gas chambers may be a myth.

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