Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Der Spiegel: An Atmosphere of Suspicion in Europe

See, "European Right Under Pressure in Wake of Attacks":

Europe's right-wing populists are not used to being on the defensive. But the perpetrator of last Friday's horrific attacks in Norway was steeped in their anti-immigration, Muslim-skeptical ideology. They now find themselves in an uncomfortable position.

It was a somber gathering on the street out in front of the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin on Monday. Several people filed by throughout the morning to lay flowers in front of the embassy gates and Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel also came to show his respect and sympathy in the wake of the Friday attacks which killed 76 people in Oslo and on the island of Utøya.

Just over a dozen of those standing in front of the embassy were holding signs: "The Capital of Fear? Not with Us!" they read, beneath the image of an ominous-looking figure wearing a black balaclava. The group belonged to the small right-wing populist group Pro-Deutschland. "Solidarity with Oslo!" the group chanted.

"When something so terrible happens in Europe, we felt that we needed to express our sympathy," Manfred Rouhs, the small party's lead candidate in upcoming Berlin city-state elections, told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Tuesday. "We also saw it as an opportunity to clearly distance ourselves from the terrible deed."

That, it would seem, has been tops on the priority list for right-wing populist groups around Europe so far this week. Muslim-skeptic, anti-immigration populist groups across Europe have rushed to condemn the attacks perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik and to portray him as a disturbed loner. The English Defense League, for example, referred to him as a "murderous creature," the Freedom Party of Austria called it a "psychopathic crime."