Discourse on political Islam, Islamism and just plain ordinary Islam is causing social and political eclipse throughout Europe. It is no longer a matter of philosophical discussion; on the contrary, debates such as these are producing tangible political changes throughout Europe these days.
The consequences of the debate on immigration and political Islam have changed governments in Denmark, Norway, Great Britain, Holland and soon Sweden. One of the latest polls conducted by a Norwegian polling institute has predicted that if there were elections today, then Sverigedemokraterna, the party that is most skeptical about immigration of refugees in Sweden, would turn out to be the second largest party in Sweden.
Elections were just held in Denmark, and Dansk Folkeparti, a far-right anti-immigration party, became the second largest party with nearly every fifth voter in Denmark voting for that party. The success of far-right parties seems to be an infallible rule of politics these days, irrespective of Northern or Southern Europe. First they started out as an insignificant few rebels in the national parliaments, then they started becoming the third largest parties and now they are metamorphosing into the second largest parties in many European countries.
Northern Europe is a lot more prosperous, and the populations of countries in Northern Europe are split in the middle. One half of the population is stunned by the election results and keeps wondering how on earth so many people could vote for parties that want an immigration stop and the other half keeps wondering why people living in big cities worry more about the climate change than the changing demographics of their country that will eventually make them a minority within their own country.
Whether it is Switzerland or Sweden, the population of small towns are critical of migrants in their country. The big city people have a tendency to vote for more openness and tolerance. This could be an interesting subject of intellectual query but it is more than that these days, it is changing people’s lives.
Denmark has a new center-right government and tighter asylum rules are already on the table. David Cameron, who heads a center-right government, is already talking of stricter and fairer rules for those who enter the country and emphasizes that people entering England will have to accept the British values and not oppose sexual equality which is the prevalent norm. The dutch have already tried to tell the would-be immigrants to view photos of gay men kissing and women lying naked on the beach, advising them that objections to those social acts would not be tolerated. The Danes have slammed the toughest rule for family reunion. One has to be above the age of 24, and also show proof that one is capable of taking on financial responsibility for one’s spouse.
All countries except Sweden have tightened their immigration rules. But now with the latest opinion poll, things will start changing. If elections were to be held today, then even Sweden might see a change of government from center-left to a center-right government.
Sadanand Dhume, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in the USA, wrote an article in the Times of India on July 23 stating that India can learn a lot from the frankness of the political discourse in the West. He is actually referring to the sweeping political changes that have taken place, where debates on political Islam have changed the West like never before. Sadanand Dhume is right that the left in India refuses to confront the challenges posed by Islamists, who want to impose Sharia laws on all, including non-believers. But he does not elaborate enough in explaining that recent political turmoils have more or less erased parties in the West that refuse to address this pressing political challenge. It is not merely the left in India, but it is also the leftist parties of Western Europe that have been bleeding and have lost a large number of parliament seats in recent national elections. It is one dominating trend, whether we are talking about Great Britain, France, Norway, Denmark, Finland or for that matter, Sweden.
The left refuses to take the threat of Islamism seriously enough. The parties that take the issue seriously win votes. These days these same winning far-right parties want to actually emulate India. They want to step out of the refugee convention and want to be able to decide who can enter the country and who cannot. India is not a signatory to the refugee convention and yet has received many refugees from Tibet.
The number of parliament members of left-wing parties is being decimated these days in one European country after another. The far-right parties of especially the Northern European countries are enlarging their influence on domestic politics unambiguously because of the sporadic incidents of terror caused by Islamists throughout the world. Europe, which with much difficulty got rid of anti-Semitism, is now facing a renewal of the threat to its Jewish community and that, too, comes primarily from Islamists.
The left has not acknowledged this and they keep bleeding when the election results are announced.
So unlike Sadanand Dhume, I would conclude that it is not just the left in India, but the leftist parties in general, both in India and the West that have to find a new balance to address this issue which is attracting more protest votes than ever before.
India and Indians are not targets of these far-right parties. India is being shown rather as a scary example of what can happen if Islamism is allowed to spread its base in Europe. “You have parallel Sharia laws existing in your country. Look what happened to Shah Bano in India, I am a member of a right-wing party because I do not want our country to make the same mistake India did. I want the same set of laws for all citizens of this country. No Sharia in Sweden please “. These were the words of man justifying his change of vote from a left-wing party to a right-wing party during the last election held in Sweden.