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Serrao, Marc Felix

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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 19/09/2008

Chasing minarets

The Süddeutsche Zeitung analyses how the fight against mosques - often directed against the so-called "claim to power" of minarets - unites Europe's nationalists. "Modern right-wing populists are becoming increasingly skilled at portraying themselves as moderate and close to the people. Of course they're for religious freedom, they say, you can read and hear that just about everywhere. Any Muslim, their argument runs, who wants to practice their religion in predominantly Christian Europe should do just that. But they should do it in the local language and submit themselves to strict controls so that the majority does not feel threatened. Otherwise xenophobia cannot fail to be the result. ... The [anti-Islamisation] congress in Cologne will show just how powerful the current alliance of European nationalists is. To paraphrase Carl Schmitt, the political philosopher much admired in nationalist circles, the controversial mosque planned for Cologne's Ehrenfeld district would play right into the nationalists' hands, providing as it does a common enemy, which is the basis for their political alliance."

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