Inside Story
Is harmful rhetoric on the rise in Europe?
As France tries to ascertain the links in the recent shootings we ask how far politics instigate such attacks.
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2012 10:52

France is trying to determine the link between the shooting of three Jewish children and a Rabbi on Monday, and three French paratroopers just before that.

"There has been a sort of rising rhetoric by centre-right politicians all across Europe about multiculturalism having failed…and then there's the claim that somehow or other Europe is full and can't take anymore immigration."

- Jeremy Corbyn, a British Labour MP

The shooting of seven people in the southern cities of Toulouse and Montauban has shaken France.

Following the shootings, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said: "We must be united. We must not give in to the discrimination or revenge. In the face of such an event France can only be strong if there is a national unity. We owe it to the victims of these cold-blooded assassinations. We owe it to our country."

Marine Le Pen, who is running for the right-wing anti-immigration National Front Party, claimed the attacks were a result of France's mistake in policy.

She said: "The risk of fundamentalism has been underestimated in our country. Certain political and religious groups are developing in the face of a certain laxness."

"There is a wave in Europe and this is what [we] and other anti-racism organisations across Europe have been talking about over the years. Europe and its leaders have to sit up to the challenge of addressing this monster…"

- Chibo Onyeji, president, European Network Against Racism

So with the presidential elections just a few weeks away, how will the killings make a difference on the campaign trail? What are the root causes behind such attacks and, to what extent do politics instigate them?

Inside Story explores what links might exist between these attacks and the broader issue of racism in Europe, and the way politicians play into it.

Joining presenter Laura Kyle for the discussion are guests: Franck Guillory, a political commentator and deputy editor of Jol Press, France's first international news e-magazine; Jeremy Corbyn, a British MP with the Labour Party; and Chibo Onyeji, the president of the European Network Against Racism.

There is certainly a sense of national unity, there's also a sense of misunderstanding. I don't think the French people realise what happened, what is happening…

-- Franck Guillory, political commentator

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