In the United States, Donald Trump is taking aim at Islam, putting the faith front and center in a contentious presidential campaign. But across Europe, populist leaders are doing the same, pointing a finger of blame at Islam for threatening domestic cultures and security even as critics decry such statements as a serious threat to freedom of religion and minority rights.
Here’s what 10 conservative and far-right leaders have recently said about Islam:
Who: Alexander Gauland, deputy chairman of the Alternative for Germany party.
What he said: “Islam is not a religion like Cath
olic or Protestant Christianity, but a faith linked intellectually with a takeover of the state. Therefore, the Islamization of Germany is a danger.”
Where: The Netherlands.
Who: Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Party for Freedom.
What he said: “Recently thousands of Arab men sexually attacked, humiliated and raped hundreds of women. All women are fair game. I call the perpetrators ‘testosterone bombs.’ We have seen what they are capable of. It’s sexual terrorism. A sexual jihad. And it is happening all over Europe.”
“We are threatened by the loss of our values and the introduction of the Koran. I don’t want to see the Prague Castle being blown up by some Muslims.”
Who: Prime Minister Robert Fico.
What he said: “Islam has no place in Slovakia.”
Who: Former Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer.
What he said: “We must stop this invasion of Muslims.”
Who: Johann Gudenus, vice mayor of Vienna.
What he said: “The new fascism in Europe is Islamism.”
Who: Marine Le Pen, head of the National Front party.
What she said: “We have to oppose all demands that aim to shatter secularism — demands for different clothes, demands for special food, demands for prayer rooms. Demands that create special rules that would allow Muslims to behave differently.”
Who: Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
What he said: “Islam was never part of Europe. It’s the rule book of another world.”
Who: Former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
What he said: While talking about the mostly Muslim migrants arriving in Europe, he quipped, “There are already signs of the emergence of very dangerous diseases which haven’t been seen in Europe for a long time: cholera on Greek islands; dysentery in Vienna; various types of parasites, protozoans, which aren’t dangerous in the organisms of these people but which could be dangerous here.”
Who: Matteo Salvini, federal secretary of the Northern League party.
What he said: When asked about the election of the first Muslim mayor of London, he replied, “For me it is a worrying sign. … I think of London itself, where there are already some abusive courts applying Islamic law.”