The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, gave a speech at the Hague yesterday in which he warned the world against populist bigots like Donald Trump.
His speech was specifically geared towards right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, but he added a parade of similar anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, populist demagogues to his address, including French politician Marie le Pen and British 'Brexit' promoter Neil Farage.
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein connected these leaders to ISIS, using the alternate name "Da'esh," insisting that he did not compare their policies to terrorism, but rather likened the right-wing romance toward an imaginary past, over-simplification of issues, and abject bigotry against "foreigners" to be exactly the mode of communication used by radical Muslim extremists.
In his address he said,
...What Mr Wilders shares in common with Mr Trump, Mr Orban, Mr Zeman, Mr Hofer, Mr Fico, Madame Le Pen, Mr Farage, he also shares with Da’esh. All seek in varying degrees to recover a past...
Make no mistake, I certainly do not equate the actions of nationalist demagogues with those of Da’esh, which are monstrous, sickening; Da’esh must be brought to justice. But in its mode of communication, its use of half-truths and oversimplification, the propaganda of Da’esh uses similar tactics to those of the populists. And both sides of this equation benefit from each other – indeed would not expand in influence without each others’ actions.
The humiliating racial and religious prejudice fanned by the likes of Mr Wilders has become in some countries municipal or even national policy.
History has perhaps taught Mr Wilders and his ilk how effectively xenophobia and bigotry can be weaponised. Communities will barricade themselves into fearful, hostile camps, with populists like them, and the extremists, as the commandants. The atmosphere will become thick with hate; at this point it can descend rapidly into colossal violence.
We must pull back from this trajectory.
The full transcript and speech are here, and well worth your time.