Anti-immigration, anti-Islam fears percolate in Europe and U.S. What's your take?
"These are dark-skinned people, not Europeans like you and me."
The quote is shocking, overt in its racism. But what's even more surprising is that it comes not from an obscure white supremacist, but from a very public politician giving a statement about a policy decision to an American newspaper.
Riccardo De Corato, Milan's vice mayor, heads a new policy to shut down Gypsy camps in Milan and eventually make the city a zero-tolerance zone for the ethnic Roma.
The Post's Anthony Faiola wrote today about the removal of the Roma, reporting, "The campaign underway here is part of what observers are calling the most intense wave of anti-immigration sentiment to wash over Western Europe in years."
In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has introduced legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants, particularly Roma from Eastern Europe.
The anti-immigration sentiments overlap with anti-Islamic fears. France recently passed a contentious burqa ban.
The new Dutch minority government plans to ban face-covering burqas and slash immigration.
The United States is struggling with similar issues. Immigration has become a hot-ticket item in the midterm elections, especially after Arizona passed a controversial anti-immigration bill. And anti-Islamic sentiment boiled over during the debate surrounding the Park51 community center, proposed near Ground Zero.
Faiola reports, "The immigration debate in Europe, just as in the United States, has dramatically intensified in the wake of the Great Recession, with voters increasingly blaming immigrants such as the Roma for taking away jobs, driving up crime rates and disturbing time-honored traditions."
One reader noted that the rise of exclusionary sentiment is in direct contrast to the European Union's mission to integrate countries with one another. What do you think?
Do you see a link between the anti-immigration and anti-Islam movements? Are the sentiments in Europe similar to those in the United States? What do you think of the new laws on both sides of the pond?
| October 12, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
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