UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has called on Europe to defend its Judeo-Christian culture. During a debate within the European Parliament on the Paris terror attacks of last week, Mr Farage also laid the blame for the rise of Islamist terrorism on foreign policy and mass immigration.
A minute’s silence was held by the MEPs before they discussed the terrorist attacks which left 17 dead across Paris, including 12 at the Charlie Hebdo offices and four Jews who had been shopping in a kosher supermarket. Some MEPs attending the chamber held signs saying “je suis Charlie”.
Rising to speak, Farage told his colleagues that he shared their condemnation of the attacks and their sympathy for the victims’ families and friends. He also said that it was “quite something” to see the millions marching in Paris; “sincere, worried and in some cases very frightened people.”
But, he said, for political leaders, “‘je suis Charlie’ is simply not enough, because we need now to have a honest admission that actually our political decisions have led to much of what has happened.”
Highlighting the campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and latterly the attempts to arm rebels in Syria, Farage said: “All of this was done, we were told, to make our streets safer, and in fact what we have done is to stir up very deep resentments within much of the Muslim community and it’s had the very opposite effect.”
Mass immigration came under the spotlight too, happening at a pace which made it “frankly impossible for many new communities to integrate and for that I think we have to hold our hands up.
“Perhaps worst of all we have been guilty of weakness, of lack of courage, of lack of assertion in who we are as people, and we have turned a blind eye within many of our minority communities to practices that would not be tolerated in the rest of the population.”
Echoing remarks he made during media appearances last week in the wake of the Paris attacks, Mr Farage said that we now have “a fifth column that is living within our own countries that is utterly opposed to our values, and we how we deal with that problem is vital for the future.”
But Mr Farage urged unity with peaceful Muslims living within Europe, saying: “We must embrace the vast majority of Muslims who themselves are horrified at the civil war that is going on within Islam.”
His conclusion was that Europe’s leaders had to be “prepared to admit our own culpability in much of what has happened” if solutions were to be reached, urging his colleagues to be “a lot braver, and a lot more courageous in standing up for our Judeo-Christian culture.”
Commenting on his remarks, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Tim Farron said: “Nigel Farage’s politics of blame has no place in modern, diverse and tolerant Britain.” It is unclear whether Mr Farron had sight of Mr Farage’s speech before he made his comment.