“Claiming that Europe faces a Muslim invasion has become standard fare for a range of politicians and political parties in Europe,” noted Nate Schenkkan, the project director behind a recent Freedom House report on the rise of illiberal politics in parts of the continent. “This kind of speech undermines democracy by rejecting one of its fundamental principles — equality before the law. There is a danger that this kind of hateful, paranoid speech will lead to violence against minorities and refugees.”
This “hateful, paranoid speech” has its obvious political uses, though. Fiery populists on both sides of the pond have pointed to the threat of Islam when campaigning, often with success, in recent local elections.