A Backlash Swells in Europe After Charlie Hebdo Attack

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Europe’s Ascendant Anti-Immigration Movements Try to Capitalize on Deadly Paris Attack.

Europe’s ascendant anti-immigration and nationalist movements tried to capitalize on a deadly attack in Paris this week to trumpet a theme they have pressed for years, but rarely before with this much urgency: a loss of cultural identity.

“This bloodshed shows that anyone who ignored or laughed off the concerns about the threat Islamism poses is a fool,” said Alexander Gauland, a leader of Alternative for Germany, an upstart party that wants to limit immigration and take Germany out of the euro.

In the past, such rhetoric would be quickly dismissed as the ramblings of the political fringe. But these parties, from France to the Netherlands to the U.K., have been on the march in recent years, fueled by growing public discontent over a sense among many Europeans that their traditional way of life is threatened.

Europe’s persistent economic woes and the growing—and oft-resented—influence of the European Union in national affairs have provided an opening to these movements, which critics say prey on their citizens’ basest fears. These groups have long targeted Islam, whose growing presence on the continent they say threatens Europe’s cultural mores.

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