A new report by British NGO HopeNotHate highlights the rise of conspiracy theories, far-right terrorist attacks, and the problematic prevalence of Islamophobia.
Rabat – More than one in every three Europeans holds negative views on Muslims, according to a new report by HopeNotHate. The British trust this week published the findings in its report “State of Hate: Far-Right Extremism in Europe.”
The report highlights the worrying rise of extremist ideologies in Europe during 2020. It is the product of a collaboration between three European anti-fascist organizations, Hope not Hate, EXPO foundation, and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.
The “state of hate” report sheds light on the rise of the extreme right by marking several far-right terrorist attacks in Europe amid the rise of conspiracy theories such as QAnon. The far-right appears to be feeding public mistrust of domestic elites, mixed with lingering xenophobia and Islamophobia.
As part of the report, the three organizations commissioned polling in several EU countries that again confirmed the prevalence of negative views on Muslims, which a significant section of Europeans hold.
On average, one out of every three Europeans holds negative views on Muslims, according to the report’s polling. Europeans in Hungary hold the most negative views on Muslims, with a majority of 54% of polled people expressing Islamophobic views. Most countries have around one fifth of respondents holding “very negative” views on Muslims.
The UK and the Netherlands fared the best, with 15% and 11% of local Europeans holding “very negative” views on Muslims. Still, an additional 23% of Dutch participants expressed “quite negative” views on Muslims, with 15% of British participants in agreement.
The “state of hate” report has again confirmed the problematic rise of ill-informed extremists feeling threatened by the Black Lives Matter movement and clinging onto conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy theories provide a particularly prescient way to spread far-right ideology without making such efforts explicit. The QAnon movement for instance has deified former US President Donald Trump and accused the majority of politicians of being a global cabal of pedofiles.
Such theories eschew the traditional indicators of far-right rhetoric in favor of spreading misinformed conspiracies that aim to cultivate distrust.
Through the internet, far-right extremists have now transcended borders and traditional organizational structures in order to sow hate and division amid the confusion of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, the negative views that many Europeans hold regarding Muslims continues to face exploitation not just by the far-right, but also increasingly by centrist politicians. With hate and division on the rise, Europe appears unwilling to make a strong statement against the far-right.