The Similarities Between Right-Wing Extremists and Islamists
Last weekend, Salafist Muslims and anti-Islam right-wingers faced off on the streets of Bonn, resulting in the injuring of 29 police officers. Despite the confrontation, however, there is much more uniting the two sides than is readily apparent. The totalitarian worldview has many manifestations.
Last Saturday, at around 3 p.m., the enemies stood face to face. They were separated by just a few meters, one police vehicle and hundreds of officers. The facedown was the result of a calculated, staged provocation.
“Now, we are going to show the caricatures,” said a member of the right-wing populist Pro-NRW group.
It was an announcement that resembled a scientific experiment: How an action is followed by a reaction. The anti-Islamists from Pro-NRW made sure that they got what they wanted. One member climbed onto another’s shoulders, police say, to ensure that the gathered Salafists would get a good look at the Muhammad caricature drawn by Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Violence ensued. Rocks and bottles were hurled by the Salafists, and one even drew a knife and stabbed two officers. In the end, 29 police were injured.
“Deport them! Deport them!” yelled the Pro-NRW people.
“Death to the infidels!” screamed the Salafists.
The experiment was a success and an escalation of violence was the result. And that is exactly how the right-wing mini-party Pro-NRW wants it. The Saturday march was one of a series of 25 such events, at which the group displayed anti-Islam caricatures in front of Muslim facilities.
Provocation has been part of Pro-NRW’s campaign as elections this weekend in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia approach. “Of course it was part of the campaign,” Pro-NRW spokesman Markus Wiener told SPIEGEL ONLINE earlier this week. On the other side of the divide, Salafists, too, are eager to attract attention.
Indeed, Salafists and right-wing extremists are more similar than one might immediately assume based on the weekend clash in Bonn. Both groups hope to profit from such displays of power.