Far Right in Europe Hope Donald Trump Will Set Them Free

Siraj Datoo, BuzzFeed, March 15, 2016

Donald Trump has not only excited white supremacist and anti-Muslim organizations across the U.S., he is also finding fans among European far-right groups and populist leaders.

The Republican presidential candidate’s fiery rhetoric–from his calls to shut down Muslim immigration to his assertion that “Islam hates us”–echoes the language of populists across Europe, who now hope that their own parties will be less inclined to hold back on promoting their own anti-Muslim beliefs and speech. Tommy Robinson, who launched the UK branch of anti-Muslim group Pegida said a Trump presidency would allow him and others to discuss their feelings about Islam more freely. “It would make it an acceptable debate to have,” he told BuzzFeed News.

Robert Ménard, the National Front-supported mayor of Beziers in southern France, told BuzzFeed News that he hopes Trump will win the Republican nomination and the U.S. presidency. {snip}

Ménard said his colleagues should take take inspiration from Trump’s success and not hold back on their anti-immigration language–an apparent swipe at Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, who has attempted to soften the party’s message. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the National Front’s founder has enthusiastically supported Trump for president, tweeting “If I was American, I would vote for Donald Trump. May God protect him!”

Ménard said he has advised Le Pen to meet with Trump because “she can learn from him.” Such a conversation, he said, would also show Trump that there are “leaders in Europe who share similar ideas to his own.”

{snip} Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom who is known for his anti-Muslim views–he once compared the Islamic holy book to Mein Kampf–has tweeted: “I hope @realDonaldTrump will be the next US President. Good for America, good for Europe. We need brave leaders.”

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Some far-right leaders in Europe see themselves as precursors to Trump. Filip Dewinter, a leading figure of far-right Belgian party Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang), said the presidential candidate’s campaign came from the playbook of nationalist European parties. [Editor’s Note: Mr. Dewinter will be speaking at the upcoming American Renaissance conference.]

“He understands that in the U.S., a lot of people don’t feel represented by traditional politicians so he gives all those people who are anti-Washington a voice,” he said. “That’s important. He saw it was possible in Europe, the rise of popular right-wing parties, the FN in France, UKIP in Britain, also in Italy and Sweden, Denmark, and Austria. So he’s doing almost the same in America now.”

There’s also no doubt that Dewinter is pro-Trump. “If I was in America, I would vote Trump,” said Dewinter,who has previously said that “Islamophobia is a duty” and suggested that all mosques should be supervised. {snip}

Like Ménard, Dewinter thinks that a Trump presidential victory would make it become easier for his party to be more openly critical of Islam. “When Trump becomes president,” Dewinter said, “it would be an opportunity to speak up about immigration, about multiculturalism, about Islam. If the biggest democracy in the world is led by Trump, by a president who’s outspoken on these topics, it would change the view of many European politicians and political parties.”

That’s a view taken by a number of anti-Muslim groups. Robinson, who in addition to founding the UK branch of Pegida also founded the English Defence League, said he admired the fact Trump had no sense of political correctness. Robinson and his allies held up “Trump Is Right” posters during a Pegida rally in Birmingham last month because “he is an all right guy.”

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