Right-wing politicians are using Islamophobia to win elections, according to a leading scholar on the issue.
“Islamophobia both in Europe and the U.S. is being used as a political project that is connected to the right wing and possibly by discredited political elites who are using the demonizing of Muslims to win elections,” Dr. Hatem Bazian of the University of California-Berkeley said on Sunday.
Bazian, who is also a weekly columnist for the Istanbul-based English language newspaper Daily Sabah, is in Istanbul to take part in a three-day conference on Islamophobia at Sabahattin Zaim University.
“So, therefore, the strategy of demonizing Muslims and targeting Muslims is driven by electoral politics,” said Bazian, who is also a co-founder and professor of Islamic Law and Theology at Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the U.S.
Bazian is also a weekly columnist for the Istanbul-based English language newspaper Daily Sabah.
In several European countries, right-wing parties have gained electoral victories amid a refugee crisis -- the biggest in Europe since the Second World War.
Bazian said right-wing political parties are “attempting to define themselves as protecting Western society from outsiders, which essentially is the only way for them to return to respectability”.
According to Bazian, neo-Nazi groups, skinheads, and white supremacists are using anti-Muslim discourse to gain respect after having been on the margins of society.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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