Meet Europe’s far-right groups

October 20, 2012

The popularity of Greece's anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party has soared in recent months, as the Washington Post's Anthony Faiola reports. But Greece is far from the only country in which anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments have been on the rise.

Amid concerns over the economic downturn and austerity in the euro zone, as well as fears about immigration and the preservation of national culture, far-right extremist groups in Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary and other E.U. countries have gained ground.

Here's a look at some of Europe's far-right groups and what they stand for:

Greece | Golden Dawn

Support for the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn, which has been linked to a rise in attacks against migrants in recent months, has risen to 14 percent, which would make the group Greece's third-largest party.

Here's Golden Dawn leader, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, right after a June election in which his party won 7 percent of the vote:

Italy | Northern League

The Northern League has advocated secession of the northern regions of Italy and the creation of a new state that would be called Padania.

"We do not hide the fact that we are against building mosques. We do not want to integrate in our culture a culture that is different than ours," said one Northern League parliament member in a recent interview.

In April, the party's leader, Umberto Bossi, stepped down amid charges that he had diverted party funds for personal use.

France | National Front

France's National Front is headed by Marine Le Pen, the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who resigned in 2011. Though she's tried to soften the party's racist image, she's still made her fair share of xenophobic remarks, such as comparing the presence of Muslims in France to "a state of occupation."

Le Pen won 18 percent of the vote in the first round of France's 2012 presidential election, making her the third most-popular candidate.

In this interview, Le Pen says that "foreigners who only recently arrived are disrespectful, disrupt public order and adopt an arrogant and unpleasant attitude" and suggests that new immigrants to France should give their children French names.

Netherlands | Party for Freedom

Geert Wilders, the towheaded founder of the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, has called for a ban on the Koran -- which he likens to "Mein Kampf" -- the burka and Halal food.

Wilders' party lost 11 parliamentary seats in recent Dutch elections, but he said he would continue to fight "to protect the Netherlands against Europe, against mass immigration, against the [European] super-state."

"The foundation of the West is under attack everywhere," Wilders said in a recent speech. "The Islamic Mozart, ... the Islamic Bill Gates, they do not exist. Because without freedom, there is no creativity."

Hungary | Jobbik

Jobbik blames Hungary's Roma population for everything from petty crime to trash on the streets, and thousands of Jobbik supporters rallied in the city of Miskolc last week, according to the Euractiv service.

Far-right politics in general are flourishing in Hungary, reports the Economist, with nationalists creating their own music, summer camps, bars and even a taxi service called nemzeti.

"I can't live in this area anymore like this," Jobbik protester Tamas Kormendi, 25, who is unemployed, said at a recent rally. "Not a day goes by without some incident that turns my stomach. These gypsies live like pigs and I swear they like it. Well, they will not like it for long if it's up to me."

In August, Csanad Szegedi, a rising force in the Jobbik party, discovered that his maternal grandparents were Jewish and resigned from the party.

Here's footage of another recent Jobbik rally:

Britain | British National Party

British National Party leader Nick Griffin recently became the target of a police investigation after he tweeted the home address of a gay couple who had won a landmark court ruling against a Christian bed-and-breakfast owner.

 "A British Justice team will come up to [their address] ... Say No to heterophobia!" he wrote.

At the same time, there have been deep divisions within the party, leading some analysts to believe its former members will soon launch a new party to compete with it.

Here's an interview with Griffin, in which he says, "I'm not against Islam per se, but I believe that there is a fundamental clash between the values of Islam and the values of the West."

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Max Fisher · October 20, 2012