Rising Far-Right Extremism In Europe: Impacts On Pakistani Diaspora – OpEd

Rising Far-Right Extremism In Europe: Impacts On Pakistani Diaspora – OpEd

Before discussing the landscape of far-right extremism and the groups involved in it, it is important to consider the key components of far-right extremism. Although far-right extremism may have different definitions in various countries and historical periods, it is being characterized as an “umbrella concept for the radical right and extreme right. The far-right extremism has the following five major characteristics: nationalism, racism, xenophobia, a call for a strong state, and an anti-democratic attitude.

Meanwhile, it has been more than two years since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine serves as an additional illustration of how the intricate configuration of international geopolitics can give rise to unforeseen consequences for the region and beyond. As the situation in Eastern Europe deteriorates, a concerning pattern starts emerging throughout the continent: an evident escalation in far-right violence. This event poses a significant threat to the social fabric of European nations and has far-reaching consequences for immigrant communities, including the Pakistani diaspora, which is 2.2 million in Europe, and the number is increasing with each passing year.

The origins of far-right extremism in Europe can be traced back to history, when xenophobia and nationalism were the main factors driving the trend, which eventually began to grow due to economic insecurity. But in any case, the rise of far-right extremism is closely linked to the Russia-Ukraine war. Politicians, particularly – nationalists, exacerbate political tensions and provokes an environment that fosters the growth of xenophobic and far-right violent extremist groups like the Azov Brigade in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, ultra-nationalists with highly divisive ideologies have seized presidencies in several European countries, including Poland, where the “Justice and Law Party” has maintained a majority government for the past six years. This event has led to thousands of people travelling to Ukraine to attend training centers set up by the Azov Brigades, which are supported by the West and Russian-Ukrainian war purists, and subscribing to these far-right extremist ideas.

The Azov Brigade is a Ukrainian far-right extremist group that was recently banned in several Western regions. However, the extremist group is no longer banned in Western countries since it began serving the West’s geostrategic goals. The Azov Battalion promotes a far-right ideology that seeks to establish the racial supremacy of white people over all other races. Andriy Biletsky, the founding leader of the Azov Brigade, has stated firmly that the primary objective of Ukraine as a nation is to guide the white races worldwide during the last crusade. 

Such far-right extremist groups are being applauded and supported by the Western capitals via every possible means, such as financially, and militarily, and the most concerning one is that they are being supported morally and have the acceptability and legitimacy as the frontline fighters against the so-called evil army of Russia. It is noteworthy that the United States has provided arms and modern lethal weapons to these extremist groups without any proper disarmament plan.

Such actions of the U.S. emboldening extremist groups resemble the tactics that they opted for during the anti-Soviet or Cold War, where the same Taliban were called the Holy Worriers and were considered to equal American forefathers who fought the civil war for them. Again, not the Soviet Union but today’s modern Russia is facing another variant of the Holy War, but this time not by the Turban Clad Afghans in Afghanistan but by Skinhead Christians in Ukraine. Whatever the outcome of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Ukraine risks becoming a hub for far-right extremism, which would have worrying implications for immigrants in Europe, especially Muslims.

The revival of far-right extremism threatens Europe’s values of tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism. Hate crimes, discriminatory regulations, and political polarization are on the rise, fostering a climate of fear and separation. For the Pakistani diaspora, the growth of far-right extremism in Europe has numerous ramifications. For initial reasons, it exacerbates pre-existing discrimination and marginalization issues, making it challenging for immigrants to live peacefully as per their defined standard rights. This upsurge in Far-Right extremism can also impact the immigrants’ livelihood and opportunities to earn, which would impact the remittances that Pakistan receives from the diaspora in Europe.

Secondly, it generates an atmosphere of insecurity within Europe, resulting in increasing enmity and acts of violence against minority communities. Thirdly, it reinforces the rhetoric of exclusion and “othering,” further isolating those of Pakistani origin from mainstream culture.

Finally, the connection between Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment complicates concerns for the Pakistani diaspora, as Muslims are frequently the targets of far-right rhetoric and violence. This issue not only undermines their sense of belonging but also promotes negative stereotypes and stigma.

Source: Eurasia Review


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