Europe’s Al-Qaidas: The 9/11 Roots of Anti-Immigrant Populism

Election posters for Jimmie Akesson, right, leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats, and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, second from right, Flen, Sweden, Aug. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Michael Probst).
Election posters for Jimmie Akesson, right, leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats, and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, second from right, Flen, Sweden, Aug. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Michael Probst).

Yesterday’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks passed by with relatively muted commemorations. This is understandable given the passage of time, and how we commemorate increasingly distant events. But if the immediate consequences of 9/11 have faded, the less visible aftereffects of that day’s trauma persist. At times, these aftereffects, no less pernicious for being hidden, spring into full view—most recently on Sunday, when Swedish voters made the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party the third-largest in parliament. It would be relatively easy to trace the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, of which the Swedish electoral results are but the latest example, […]

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