Anti-semitism and Islamophobia in Europe

Sharif Islam summarises Matti Bunzl’s comparative analysis of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Europe, as presented in an article in the American Ethnologist. Bunzl makes the point that anti-Semitism is fading, even among the parties of the far right, and Islamophobia has emerged as the dominant project of exclusion.

Sharif Islam writes: “Under the leadership of Jörg Haider, the Freedom Party opposed Austria’s membership in the EU on nationalist grounds. However, in 1995, after Austria’s inclusion in the EU, the politics of the party changed. The party began to accept Jews as potential leaders. According to Bunzl, this change is common among Europe’s far right-wing movements. He contrasts it with the dynamics of Islamophobia. He argues that Islamophobia is a genuine political issue, part of a wide-open debate on the future of Muslim presence in Europe. In contrast, there is no debate on the legitimacy of Jewish presence in Europe.”

MRZine, 23 August 2006