This scares the living smurfiness out of me! It is beginning to look like anti-Islamic sentiment is the newly acceptable bigotry. It has had quite the headstart in Europe, in the Turkish/German interactions, and the N. African/French interactions. I don't know how things are in teh Netherlands. I know that Fortuyn was a fairly vocal anti-immigration politician, but I don't know how popular he was.
Very popular indeed, for the short while that it lasted. He got 17%, out of nowhere, with many more sympathisers among other parties.
The appearance of Islam as the xenophobes' new bugbear has allowed the far right here to cloak itself in the liberal language of defending tolerance, modernity, gay and women's rights. Against the "backward", conservative, intolerant Muslim fundamentalists, you see. <grins>. They're even up in arms about defending "our" Jews against them, now.
It's always heartwarming to see new recruits to the causes of cultural tolerance, women's emancipation and the fight against anti-semitism, of course (there were web-posters circulating in support of Fortuynist local councillor Michiel Smit that said, referring to the Somali/Ethiopian practice of female circumcision, "if you love your clit, vote Michiel Smit"). But this new twist to the profile of the extreme right has provided it with wholly new electoral horizons.
Back in the eighties / early nineties when it was Turks, Moroccans, etc, that politicians like Schoenhueber and De Winter railed against, their appeal seemed still restricted to certain "ceilings" of popular support, indicating the size of the xenophobic niche. Now that it's Muslims
they're warning against - even though its still about the same people, of course - their re-branded market seems just that much bigger. It provides the petty anti-immigration agenda with a fearful global context (9/11) and the "big theory" (i.e., the 'Clash of Civilisations') it was lacking.
Right now the "List Fortuyn" is in the doldrums, but there could always be a follow-up. Anyway, I once posted a thread about all the Fortuyn stuff (Elections in the Netherlands (again)
), and put the resulting narrative online as "from pillarisation to poldermodel to fortuyn: Dutch politics in three steps"
. Long read, tho.