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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchThe Strategic Logic of Islamophobic Populism

The Strategic Logic of Islamophobic Populism

Authors: Lacin Idil Oztig, Turkan Ayda Gurkan, Kenan Aydin 

Affiliation: Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

Organization/Publisher: Government and Opposition, Cambridge University Press

Date/Place: November 21, 2019/ UK

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 5069


Keywords: European Union, Right-Wing Radicals, Islamophobia, Populism


The article takes an account of the rise of populism in the European Union by defining it as “anti-politics of politics.” The authors are of the view that the electoral success of right-wing radical parties in the EU is attributed to the anti-Islamic rhetoric and hate speeches. Islamophobic populism, therefore, is a strategic adjustment to maximize the voters by designing anti-Islamic manifestos. For instance, National Front of France’s member Jean-Marie Le Pen carries a strong anti-immigrant stance and has explicitly called Muslims as Nazi-occupying forces and Islam as new totalitarianism. Analogously, Eberhardt Alexander Gauland of Alternative for Germany, overtly stated that Muslim immigration to Germany is an invasion and that Islam is not a religion like Christianity but rather an ideology to occupy. Alternative for Germany party also proposed that it will restore the Christian values in Islamized Germany, for which a whole section of its party manifesto is devoted to explaining how Muslims do not belong in Germany. The Dutch Freedom Party is no less than other populist parties in spreading hate against Muslims. By calling Muslims akin to communists and fascists, the Dutch Freedom Party gained enormous popularity. In this situation, the left-wing parties are left to choose between anti-Muslim or Muslim votes. Such a rise of counterproductive agendas is not only threatening Muslims but also weakening democratic values.

By: Maryam Khan, CIGA Research Associate



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