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First reactions to the Paris massacre

November 16th, 2015

Right-wing columnists believe that the Paris terrorist attacks struck a lethal blow to liberal, pro-migration ideology. Liberal and left-wing pundits, on the other hand, caution against fomenting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments and accuse the Right of playing into the hands of terrorist organizations.

In addition to liberalism, European leaders have also failed,” József György Horváth comments in 888. The pro-government blogger accuses European leaders including Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Jean-Claude Juncker of being ‘despotic’ in trying to force EU member states to take in migrants. Horváth suggests that the proponents of mandatory refugee quotas do not understand the fears and concerns of everyday European citizens, because they live in safe, ivory towers. “They must go, Europe needs new leaders,” Horváth concludes.

Writing in the same blog, Dániel Bohár predicts that “liberal brainwashing will be over now.” The right-wing commentator thinks that after the Paris massacre, “pro-immigration and pro-terrorism liberal journalists” cannot claim any more that all migrants from the Middle East are wretched refugees.

In Magyar Narancs, Péter Urfi finds nauseating what he sees as pro-government efforts at what he calls “incitement and vote hunting” in the immediate aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. The liberal columnist accuses right-wing politicians and pundits of hate mongering, by suggesting a link between terrorism and migration. Urfi finds it sickening that the anti-immigration Right tries to blame the terrorist violence on asylum seekers who are trying to escape from the very same Middle East terrorist organizations that carried out the Paris massacre. In conclusion, Urfi goes so far as to claim that Fidesz and Jobbik as well as their intellectual hinterland “are not only lying and using the French tragedy to garner votes, but also offer a helping hand to terrorists” as, Urfi argues, the anti-immigrant hatred they incite will further alienate Muslims and immigrants.

In Heti Világgazdaság, György Balavány finds it disappointing that on social media many link the terrorist acts to migration and suggest that asylum seekers are a threat to Europe’s security. Balavány thinks that terrorist organizations have plenty of followers among homegrown radical populations in Europe, and do not need the recent migrants, most of whom are trying to escape from Middle East terrorism anyway.

We must learn to live with the threat of terrorism, Márton Bede comments in 444. Bede thinks that the Western world has been at war with radical Islam since 2001. He goes on to point out that while this war against a harmful ideology cannot be won, terrorist attacks have also so far not achieved their aim of transforming the free world. Western states, however, will have to tighten security – including the screening of migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Europe, Bede adds.

After the Paris terrorist attacks, anti-immigrant sentiments will become ever stronger, András Dési predicts in Népszabadság. The left-wing columnist suspects that populism and  law and order politics will inevitably become more attractive to the European public.

The terrorist targeted our way of life, Márton Gergely writes in the same daily. As a result of the increased threat of terrorism, Europe faces a paradox, he continues. European countries can only protect themselves from terrorist violence by introducing harsh anti-terrorism and security measures that are alien to the European way of life, Gergely thinks.

Closing the borders of Europe, racism and religious war is not a solution to terrorist threats,” Zsolt Kellner claims in 24.hu. The liberal commentator goes on to suggest that European countries need to do more in order to integrate migrants, as Muslims living in suburban ghettos without proper job and education opportunities become easy targets for radical recruiters.

In a separate opinion column in the same media outlet, Sándor Jászberényi also thinks that the perpetrators of the Paris massacres were unintegrated and marginalized French citizens from the banlieues. Jászberényi thinks that the main aim of the Jihadist terrorist organizations with the Paris massacre was to entrench and perpetuate anti-Muslim sentiments in Europe. He predicts that “Muslims will become Europe’s niggers” as anti-Muslim sentiments surge. This will play into the hands of Islamist radicalism, since the higher anti-Muslim feelings and prejudice become in Europe, the easier it will become for them to recruit new members from alienated and excluded Muslims in Europe. In his concluding remark, Jászberényi expresses his sympathy with asylum seekers who can now “only count on the mercy of God”, as Europe will be unlikely to offer them any further help.

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