Introduction: Islamophobia in EasternEurope?
A specter is haunting Europe – the specter of Islamophobia. At this point, the historically informed reader might question the newsworthiness of our initial statement. Unease, reservation, and even fear and hatred against Islam and Muslims have a long tradition in Europe ( Benz 2017 ). Since Edward Said’s (1978) seminal study on ‘Orientalism’, it is a commonplace to acknowledge that the West has associated Islam with negative images and stereotypes for hundreds of years. The essential novelty of Europe’s old
construction.” Personal Skype interview with Gábor Egry, historian, conducted in March 2017. Thus, to reach a better future, it was enough to manage and supervise the smooth return to the West, embodied by the long sought membership in its institutions, the EU and NATO. As the economist János Kornai puts it, “In every respect, CentralEasternEurope tried to assimilate Western examples” (2006, 25).
Since their first steps in the Hungarian pluralist regime, Fidesz and its charismatic leader Viktor Orbán adhered to a substantially different interpretation of history. They
, Western Europeans demonstrate acceptance of Muslims as their fellow citizens, and even as members of their families, as evidenced by a series of surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center between 2015 and 2017 in 34 Western, Central, andEasternEuropean countries ( “Easternand Western Europeans Differ¼” 2018 ). More than a half of Western members of the EU say they would accept a Muslim into their family. The percentage of those who say so in the top five EU countries with the biggest Muslim population varies between 60% and 90% ( Table 2 ).
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that the “We” and “They” categories in social praxis are not only seen in primordialist imagery, they are ascribed also a qualitative and moral dimension on the basis of the asymmetric or directly dualistic principle. In this way, the category “I”/“We” (mine/ours) often merges with the perception of the category of (the only) good, correct, nice and normal.
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