Europe’s identity crisis: Muslims are collateral damage in the continent’s culture wars

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Last week, New Zealand commemorated the Christchurch massacre, with politicians and civil society alike mourning so many who lost their lives when a far-right terrorist killed dozens at mosques in that island nation. But the rhetoric underpinning that terrorist atrocity wasn’t as far away from mainstream politics as we’d like to think.

Recently, Switzerland narrowly voted in favour of banning face coverings in public, including the burka or niqab worn by Muslim women. The Swiss People’s Party had campaigned in favour of it with slogans such as “Stop Extremism” and “Stop Islamic Radicalism” – the latest measure on the European continent that links visible Muslim religious practice to extremism.