Far-right group protests construction of German mosque
HENNING KAISER/AFP/Getty Images Recently, I wrote about how some people in Switzerland want to ban the building of minarets. Now a right-wing citizens’ group in the German city of Cologne is protesting the construction of what will be the country’s largest mosque. The group, Pro Cologne, has even enlisted help from far-right activists in Belgium ...
HENNING KAISER/AFP/Getty Images
Recently, I wrote about how some people in Switzerland want to ban the building of minarets. Now a right-wing citizens’ group in the German city of Cologne is protesting the construction of what will be the country’s largest mosque. The group, Pro Cologne, has even enlisted help from far-right activists in Belgium and Austria.
The protest is driven by a fear of the Islamization of Europe. This anxiety, which Philip Jenkins argues is overblown in a recent web exclusive for FP, is a variant of what one sociologist has described as “cultural displacement” — “the fear that your children will grow up in a world different than the one you grew up in.” In the United States, it’s captured by those white Americans who, in the face of a rising Hispanic population, worry about a day when Spanish will be the language on the streets and there will be more Miguels than Michaels. In Europe, it’s captured by a woman in Cologne who says she wants to feel at home, not as if she’s in a foreign land.
The issue of the mosque, which will have space for 2,000 worshipers, started receiving national attention in Germany after Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor Ralph Giordano said, “There is no fundamental right to the construction of a large mosque.” Pro Cologne has tried recruiting Giordano to its cause, but he has said the group is the “local variety of Nazism.”
With Europe’s low birthrates and growing immigrant population, it won’t at all be surprising to see far-right groups gain in popularity. When a people feel that they and their culture are essentially “going extinct” and being displaced by another group, expect extreme reactions. Already, Germany’s population has been decreasing, and wolves (pdf) are even reclaiming sparsely populated areas. With the rise of the far right, let’s hope that Germany doesn’t end up going the way it did in 1933.
More from Foreign Policy
No, the World Is Not Multipolar
The idea of emerging power centers is popular but wrong—and could lead to serious policy mistakes.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
America Can’t Stop China’s Rise
And it should stop trying.
The Morality of Ukraine’s War Is Very Murky
The ethical calculations are less clear than you might think.