Though it’s not exactly the dawn of a new Crusades, the stunning defeat of the Socialists in the recent election and the rise of right wing parties clearly demonstrates that anti-Muslim discourse has taken center stage.
The Vibe – The third most populated city of Catalonia (northeastern Spain) could be soon governed by a man who was brought to court for launching a controversial anti-Islam advertising campaign. His name is Xavier Garcia Albiol, and he is the leader of the right-wing People’s Party (PP) in the city of Badalona (near Barcelona).
It all started last year, when the party made the issue of immigration the focus of its campaign for the local elections that took place in May. Muslim Immigrants were directly associated to crime in a leaflet that said: “If I become mayor by 2011 I guarantee that (1) we will be able to walk the streets of the neighbourhood without fear of being harassed or robbed, and that (2) those who live in Badalona will have to adapt to our rules and customs.”
Many have argued that this was merely a response to local demands. Badalona is widely known across the country for its social tensions deriving from ethnic diversity. However, it is vital to underline that as a member of a mainstream and nation-wide political party Mr Albiol’s policies and campaigns required higher approval.
Further emphasis must also be placed on the fact that people voted for Garcia Albiol en-masse. The PP was the most voted party not only in Badalona, but also in most of Spain’s localities that held elections, as well as in the majority of its regions. In fact, these elections represented a political turning point because many regions that have traditionally supported Zapatero’s Workers Party (PSOE) have now been taken over by the PP. In the coming year, general elections are due to take place, and the socio-political scenario is unlikely to change.
While Badalona is the most recent example of how anti-Islam discourses gain support among Spaniards, it is not the only one. The case of Platform for Catalonia (PxC), a political party created in 2003, is also worth mentioning. The PxC is a self-proclaimed anti-immigration party, and as such it promoted pro-Spain values through the controversial TV commercial, PxC used for these last elections. The results showed that Platform for Catalonia increased its support basis by 500%, and it will now be part of the political sphere in some cities in Catalonia.
The new embodiment of xenophobia, Islamophobia, appears to be experiencing a moment of political effervescence in the West. Regardless of the fact that only a small minority of Muslim women cover up, the Islamic veil is not only becoming a matter of political controversy, but also an issue of social discussion across Europe as we have seen with the burqa ban.
The idea of ‘immigrants are abusing of our public welfare’ is now highly promoted by ultra right-wing parties as well as increasingly supported by citizens. Islamophobia, is thus experiencing a progressive growth, as can be seen in the last European elections in 2009, when many right-wing parties gained seats.
Minuto Digital (H/T General Ze)- The Platform for Catalonia Badalona has called a demonstration against the construction of a mosque in his city. We did it in Premia de Mar in 2002, when we stopped the building of a local mosque, we are now doing the same.
The PXC will voice that which nobody wants to hear – the vast majority of Catalans opposes the building of mosques in their country, The political-PP ERC, which has opened the doors of Catalonia thousands of Muslim immigrants in the name of “multiculturalism and tolerance” and now sees how it exploded in his hands his disastrous social engineering experiment.
We have been clear and unambiguous from the beginning in our positions on immigration and Islamization. If we protest against the proposed mosque in Badalona is not by scratching a few votes for attempting to mislead the public or be concerned about the actual survey. If you’re against the mosques is because:
The mosques are not only a place of prayer but for imposing social and political agendas.
The Muslim world does not distinguish between social, religious or political, and mosques become a hotbed of Islamism and radicalism.
Because Islam is incompatible with our European culture based on tolerance, freedom, democratic values and equality between men and women.
We have said loud and clear: we do not want mosques in our land. The Islamists will not pass!