Divided We Fall: Intolerance in Europe Puts Rights at Risk
The truth is discomforting: hatred and intolerance are moving into the mainstream in Europe.
An Afghan migrant is stabbed in the heart on the streets of Athens. Black-shirted paramilitaries linked to Hungary’s third-largest political party march through a Roma neighbourhood shouting, “You will die here.” A neo-Nazi gang commits a string of murders of Turkish immigrants in Germany. An ideologue driven by hatred of “multiculturalism” kills 67 mostly young people on a Norwegian Island.
It may be comforting to see these incidents as isolated, disconnected or driven by local events. But the truth is more discomforting: hatred and intolerance are moving into the mainstream in Europe.
Intolerance in Europe manifests itself in support for extremist parties and violence and discrimination against minorities and migrants. Rather than tackling the problem head on, Europe’s leaders often downplay the problem or blame the victims. But concerted steps are needed to stop the violence and discrimination and curtail the corrosive influence of racist parties, without limiting freedoms of speech and association.
In many European countries, extremist parties— espousing racist, anti-immigrant or anti minority policies—are part of the political landscape. Their platforms vary, with some corresponding to traditional far-right parties. But they frequently define themselves by strong opposition to particular groups, including Muslims and immigrants (particularly among parties in western Europe) and Roma (in eastern Europe).