Professor Anna Korteweg has co-written a blog article for openDemocracy.net about the unintended alliance of some anti-Muslim German feminists with far-right actors as both make issue of the “Islamization of Germany.” OpenDemocracy describes itself as a news media platform that uses “human rights as (their) central guiding focus, and open-mindedness as (their) method.”
In the post, Korteweg and her co-authors discuss three strategies through which there is significant overlap between radical right-wing parties and groups of anti-Muslim German feminists: public defamation, the rhetoric of saving Muslim women from Muslim men, and the evocation of German Nationalism through moral panic. This article grows out of Professor Korteweg’s research interests in political debates regarding the integration of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe and Canada as well as the intersections of gender, religion, ethnicity and national origin as they play out in immigrant integration.
Professor Korteweg is professor and chair of the Sociology department at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus.
An excerpt of the article is posted below.
The populist radical right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) has been working to get to the top of the party polls since its foundation in 2013. Currently, it is the second strongest party in Germany, with polls which estimate that if elections were held today, the AfD would receive 18 % of the vote (ARD, 21 September 2018). In its climb in the popularity stakes, AfD is forming a curious range alliances with political leaders. In the traditional political spectrum, feminists are often placed at the left end of the continuum. However, contradicting this, feminists and women’s organizations in Germany have of late been entering into implicit or unintended alliances with the AfD as they make common cause against the so-called “Islamization of Germany”. We have identified three strategies of feminist and far-right political actors that result in the articulation of overlapping goals.
The colonial gaze
Women’s embodiment continues to be hotly contested in these struggles over feminism, liberation, and who get to stand for being German. Long-standing colonial tropes of unveiling women as liberation are clearly powerful in German debates. Many have argued that the nudity of colonialized women served as a spectacle for the European public during the colonial era; currently, in the German media, uncovering women is celebrated as a sign of Muslim women’s integration into a gender-equal European society.
Breaking down the cooptation – Inclusion and #No Excuses
The perverse alliance of feminism and the far right clearly fails to address major ongoing relevant issues: 1) the historical colonial and exploitative relations between the global North and the global South – the destruction, appropriation in colonial and neocolonial contexts, the political support by the global north of corrupt political regimes in the global south, as well as the export of weapons that sustain highly destructive, never-ending wars; and 2) the ongoing, unaddressed, racialized sexism and sexual violence perpetrated by immigrant and nonimmigrant alike across European societies – violence against women, children, members of LGBTQI communities, heteronormativity, sexism, and gender inequalities.
The full article can be found here