De Rimbaud, poème à la gloire de la renaissance de Jugurtha — histoireetsociete

Le 2 juillet 1869 Arthur Rimbaud âgé de 14 ans va écrire son premier grand poème intitulé «Jugurtha». C’était le sujet du concours de l’académie des Ardennes dont ce génie, connu dans son collège pour rafler tous les 1ers prix, remporta la meilleure distinction. Son poème en éloge à l’Emir Abdelkader sera publié dans la […]

De Rimbaud, poème à la gloire de la renaissance de Jugurtha — histoireetsociete

La barrera fronteriza húngara y el Islám

AQ

Faculty of Sciences Department of Political Geography, Regional and Development Study, University of Pécs

pnorbert@gamma.ttk.pte.hu

Viktor Glied

Faculty of Humanities Institute of Social Relations, University of Pécs

glied.viktor@pte.hu

Abstract

The co-existence between Hungarians and Islam has been considered balanced, until the spring of 2015 when a wave of migrants appeared in Europe. “Opening to the East”, the foreign policy announced by the government in 2011 heralded a new chap- ter of cooperation with Arabic/Muslim countries, predominantly due to economic considerations. The migrant crisis turned government communication, as well as the stance of Jobbik, the largest opposition party, upside down. This paper discusses the unique phenomenon of what role the political debate about Islam and the construction of the temporary border barrier protecting the Hungarian national borders played in the competitive communication of the national-radical, pro-Muslim opposition Jobbik party (achieving a lead in the polls) and the centre-right governing parties Fidesz-KDNP which typically emphasise their Christian character.

Keywords

Introduction

Beginning from the early spring of 2015, a wave of several hundred thousand migrants arrived in the Balkan countries and Hungary. They were fleeing most- ly from particular regions of Asia and Africa, but especially from Syria, Iraq

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/22117954-12341339

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The Hungarian Border Barrier and Islam

Norbert Pap

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and Afghanistan, travelling through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary, towards Western Europe. Huge numbers of people are fleeing from the Islamic State and the bloody conflicts in Syria and Iraq to neighbouring countries. From there, according to some estimates, between one million and 1.5 million1 of them have left for Europe, using the routes across the Balkans that have been established by human traffickers, mostly during the last few decades. Migratory pressure affecting Europe in the 2000s (up until 2014) was felt most in the regions of Southern Europe; migrants2 arrived from Africa via routes across the Mediterranean Sea. However, the wave of migrants appear- ing in Central Europe has posed further challenges to national and community refugee management systems. The critical state of EU-level refugee and immi- gration policies and the sluggishness of decision-making in Brussels also indi- cate that this extremely complex issue divides European societies and touches a nerve in deep-seated problems, and apparently leaving Europe’s politicians with no effective means of resolution.3

Due to the heightened conflicts between immigrants and the majority European population, as well as acts of terror committed by radical Muslims since the 2000s, professional and public discourse regarding immigration, co- existence, the crisis of multiculturalism, security and European identity, has gripped all of Europe. Meanwhile, political forces urging the restriction of im- migration, the tightening of coexistence rules and radical social and economic reforms have seen their popular support and power gradually increase. The expansion of radical parties and the increase in xenophobia justify and rein- force each other and, in times of crisis and relevant social conflicts, they in- evitably raise questions about religion, identity and coexistence. On the basis of the analysis of the discussions and viewpoints prominent in the European Union today, it is safe to surmise that the non-integration of immigrants into

1 The data referred to have been recorded by different organisations and so slight differ- ences may be present. In 2015, 1,091,984 refugees were registered in Germany’s EASY system (Erstverteilung von Asylbewerbern) and the UN also refers to 1.1 million refugees; see UNHCR http://www.unhcr.org/5683d0b56.html (30 December 2015).

2 The authors deliberately use the term “migrant” for all types of immigrants (asylum seek- ers, refugees, economic migrants) adjusted the article’s word stock to the narrative of the Hungarian political communication and the public opinion, namely, members of the govern- ment and its consultants, experts have avoided to use the term refugee and asylum seeker, claiming it is a legal form of the type of migrants. Until someone has still not accepted the refugee status, he/she is “only” a migrant.

3 For more about the history of the 2016 migration crisis, see Bíró-Nagy, A. and Boros, T. (2016) Hungarian Politics 2015. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Policy Solutions.

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European societies and the spread of Islam are blamed, not only in radical cir- cles, but in centrist politics as well, for the increased volume level of hostility.

As the political impact of the migrant crisis has expanded, we have experi- enced various ranges of interpretation and foreign policy goals have become part of the domestic political debate. Instead of producing effective answers, this has led to new examples of pointless debate. In this parallel universe, re- ligious and cultural approaches clash with the pragmatic demands of security. The Hungarian cabinet was extremely successful in putting the social and eco- nomic concerns that arose due to the migrant crisis on the agenda, articulat- ing statements (so far almost unheard of in Hungary) that gave rise to vocal debates about co-existence with Muslims, the Christian-Muslim relations and the compatibility of different cultures in Hungary.

This article discusses the unique phenomenon of the role the political debate about Islam and the construction of the temporary barrier (wire fence) along the Hungarian border has played in the communication battle between the national-radical, pro-Muslim opposition party, Jobbik (Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom, Movement for a Better Hungary) (which has a lead in the polls) and the centre-right governing coalition, Fidesz-KDNP (Alliance of Young Democrats—Christian Democratic People’s Party) which typically emphasise their conservative and Christian character.

Analysis of Political Discourse on the Migrant Crisis

We monitored the communication battle accompanying the migrant crisis from the very beginning, using the method of political discourse analysis. The most important elements of this analysis have been the examination of com- munications by political parties, politicians and Muslim religious leaders, and the messages conveyed through them. In the article, we consistently analyse the political discourse and the construction of symbolic realities based on the migration crisis. We refer to the well-known theory of Murray Edelman (1967) who, in addition to the objective-oriented structural position of actors, suggests the articulation of abstract terms and meanings, such as the use of language and symbols. These elements cover political reality with a sort of “veil” and represent, in addition to interest-oriented processes, the appearance of val- ues. The dominance of texts in politics is beyond doubt. Pierre Bourdieu (1991) explains that politics produces speeches rather than power and institutions and, according to Michael Oakeshott (1991), politics are three quarters text. In addition, one of the founding fathers of empirical political science, Harold Lasswell, and his associates (1949) conducted extensive research into the

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language of politics. However, discursivity is more than just analysing words and sentences literally, since the entire reality of politics is generated and modified in a public process of creating interpretation, which is significantly influenced by the channel between the sender and the receiver. The same idea is further developed by David L. Swartz (2013), who argues that political sym- bolism relaxes the rigidity of politics and finds the link between the different levels of political socialisation. During the research of political discourses, the demand to “have an insight into things at last” arose: the rhetorical means of fighting for valid speech (representing truth). In this regard, following the work of Kenneth Burke (1969), we distinguish between politically active (govern- ment), politically passive (opposition) and passive observer (society) groups and we have included their discourse in a historical/political narrative.

The political discourse and communication space created in relation to the migrant crisis balanced on the verge of reality and semi-reality, when it ex- pressed and conveyed powerful messages to both the Hungarian citizens and the migrants. Initially, this caused a great divide in public opinion. The main semantic element of the discourse was the need to protect Hungary and its residents from the impacts of the migrant wave. The word “protection” plays on people’s need for safety and their instinctive fear (also apparent in Hungary in the high levels of xenophobia), and it also highlights the importance of preventive action, thus legitimising the measures taken by the acting party. Conscious of all the above, government political communication succeeded in deliberately confusing refugees with immigrants (“who take our jobs”) and illegal migration with legal.4 The term “refugee” designates a legal status, which obliges the receiving country to provide protection and asylum to the appli- cant. Since the use of this term recognises that the arriving person may be eligible to apply for asylum, the government tried to avoid using it, thus further weakening the actual nature of the situation, i.e. that these people are fleeing from war. By appropriating the word “protection”, the cabinet strengthened the coherence of its communication, with the obvious implication that political,

4 Between April and June 2016, Hungary enacted legislation that had a crucial detrimental impact on asylum seekers and refugees (migrants). Hungarian legal acts on migration (2016) in Hungarian and in English.

Hungarian: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1600039.TV&timeshift=201 60601&txtreferer=00000001.txt.

English: http://www.helsinki.hu/wp-content/uploads/HHC-Hungary-asylum-legal- amendments-Apr-June-2016.pdf and http://www.asylumlawdatabase.eu/sites/www.asylum lawdatabase.eu/files/aldfiles/Fact%20sheet%20-%20Case%20law%20on%20Hungary_FIN .pdf.

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legal and policing means should be available to control the wave of migrants. This did not apply to opposition parties, who were initially hesitant to act in any meaningful way due to an inherent lack of adequate information and a realistic assessment of the ongoing crisis. Conversely, Fidesz was extremely successful in constructing its communication, in effect forcing the opposition (including Jobbik) to merely fall into line with government communications after the summer of 2015. During the refugee crisis, Fidesz gradually took space away from the other political actors (successfully defaming them and their nar- ratives) and expanded the content and methods of its communications to in- clude extremist views. Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán surprised many international observers with the statement he made in Paris, right after the attack on the editorial office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. He emphasised protection against the dangers threatening Europe, and openly appealed for and expressed his hope of a change of public perception among the societies of Hungary and Europe. Initially, this looked like an effort to divert attention away from internal political problems, but it later proved to be an effective political weapon in the fight against Jobbik and for the restora- tion of the governing party’s popularity.

Political conflicts in multiple fields (fights in domestic politics, EU-level disputes, skirmishes with Hungary’s neighbours—Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Austria) were generated by the uninterrupted flow of migrants, unintention- ally lending further support to the government’s messages. The media covered the events taking place at the border, in the refugee camps and in Budapest 24-hours a day, and this further increased the social impacts of the crisis. While some people approved the use of live ammunition to protect national borders, NGO workers and hundreds of volunteers helped to improving the migrants’ situation. From the autumn of 2015, public discourse stopped focusing on the reasons for and solutions to the flow of migrants, and switched to stopping, di- verting and preventing their entry into the country. The initially hesitant atti- tude was gradually replaced by a negative approach, which was represented in assumptions that migrants are, for example, dirty, leave their garbage around, do not obey the law, travel free of charge, spread diseases, harass and rape Hungarian women, take over the country, etc. The shocking Paris terror attack in early November 2015 brought to the surface the government’s preferred nar- rative that there are many terrorists hiding among the migrants, who are re- sponsible for the murders committed in Western European cities. Using this argument, the government claimed to have protected Hungary from terror- ists, and simultaneously took the wind out of the sails of the “far-right” Jobbik party, by leaving left no space for the expression of its opinion. Opposition powers maintain their reactive stance, merely following up on the issues,

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FPO

Figure 1 Polling data on political party support in March and November 2015. Source: Medián

without any suggested solutions, so all in all, only one group—the Fidesz- KDNP coalition—was able to play an active and proactive role during the crisis. Using discourse analysis, this can be evaluated as a significant political triumph, because the governing coalition kept the initiative in putting things on the political agenda, and thus strengthened its position, as is also supported by polling data (Figure 1).

Jobbik’s Line: From Pro-Islam to Anti-Refugee

One of the biggest political losers in the migrant crisis has clearly been the radical nationalist Jobbik party. In the section below, we examine how Jobbik’s line developed from being pro-Muslim to being anti-refugee.

During a brief century, Hungarian society has undergone eight revolutions and regime changes. Deeply rooted social and political conflicts were not re- solved, however, but have kept piling up, and so the traumas of 20th-century Hungarian history still burden the society. All these were further increased by the traditional politics of grievance, a defining feature of the political culture of the Hungarian elites, which is rooted in the 19th century. It is known for demonis- ing political opponents and causing political paranoia, which has hindered (and still hinders) agreement on national minimums in certain issues in Hungary.

As a consequence of the constant social crises since Hungary’s transition to democracy, the soft elements in the social climate have been largely favour- able to the far-right movement. Indeed, these changes may clearly facilitate the increasing popularity of parties communicating messages urging radical solutions (Csepeli and Örkény, 1996). Fourth-generation extremist parties in Central and Eastern Europe—although they share many attributes of Western

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European political forces—are organised on the basis of slightly different ide- ologies. In Central and Eastern Europe, immigration has not caused problems that affect people’s everyday lives. Numerous researches have confirmed that, until 2015, the citizens of Hungary did not consider the process especially dangerous.5 There are no major immigrant groups in Hungary, religious citi- zens typically follow a Christian denomination and cultural identity is based on Judeo-Christian cultural cornerstones. This is why the pro-Muslim rheto- ric of Jobbik developed controversially, with the party chairman Gábor Vona stating on numerous occasions between 2010 and 2013 that, as the opposite of globalisation and liberalism, he considers Islam, with its traditional heritage, to be the last hope for humanity.6

In the ideology of Jobbik (although sometimes only rhetorically), very diffuse elements complement each other. In addition to the ancient pagan Hungarian, nationalistic and Christian ideas, it has spiritual and esoteric as- pects. As well as anti-EU arguments and an orientation toward Russia, an anti- immigrant attitude is also present, simultaneously with a pro-Muslim stance, primarily focusing on Iran and Turkey. In 2013, Vona explained his stance on Islam in the magazine Barikád. He thinks that the spread of the theories of the Enlightenment launched the detrimental transformations that manifest- ed themselves in the creation of the ideology of liberalism. This caused the West to leave behind its traditions, as well as its religion, through the move to secularisation. Thus, Vona questions elementary values of liberalism that have been the foundation of common European values for several centuries, from the protection of human rights to equality between men and women. He considers traditional Islam to be a beacon of hope in the midst of globalisation and (neo)liberalism. Therefore, Jobbik distances itself from the extremist anti- Islam parties of Europe and has established its own foreign policy, towards the East, especially in the direction of China, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Central Asia and the Muslim world. Vona has supported the establishment of an indepen- dent Palestinian state, and promoted the relationship between the Turkic and Hungarian peoples, claiming that they have a common ancestor in Attila the Hun. He argues that conservative tradition is able to save the globalised con- sumer societies of the present from falling apart, and among other things, it is

5 Concerns about poverty, fear of an uncertain future and emigration all ranked higher in the polls than fear of immigration. However, compared with other Central and Eastern European countries, the level of xenophobia is extremely high in Hungary. This is also supported by the Eurobarometer surveys—Standard Eurobarometer 82, Autumn 2014. http://ec.europa.eu/ public_opinion/archives/eb/eb82/eb82_anx_en.pdf.

6 Vona Gábor about the Islam—http://www.jobbik.com/vona_g%C3%A1bor_about_islam.

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the Muslim religion that is able to provide the answer (Vona, 2010). His view- point is even clearer in an interview recorded in 2013:

The actual division in the world may not be between religions, countries and cultures, but between communities still trying to preserve traditions and anti-traditionalist, global liberalism. If you take a closer look, it is the Islamic world that can best resist the unipolar world order led by the United States.7

Jobbik’s stance on Israel is absolutely clear. Leaders of the party have con- firmed on numerous occasions that they support establishing an independent Palestinian state, and they also organised a protest against the military actions in Gaza in 2012 and 2014. Gábor Vona and several other Jobbik politicians have called Israel an aggressive, racist and terrorist state that operates the world’s largest concentration camp in the Gaza Strip. The increase in Jobbik’s popular- ity brought with it the spread of rumours about the party’s financiers, one claim (partially in response to the anti-Israel stance) being that Jobbik is supported by Iran (Lázár, 2009).8 Gábor Vona’s attraction to Islam is apparent in Jobbik’s foreign policy. The chairman supported “opening to the East” and forming al- liances with Eastern powers instead of with the West in several speeches. On 23 October 2008 (when Jobbik still held no seats in the national assembly), he asked Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to send election observers for the 2009 European Parliament elections. However, contact has a longer history, since Vona visited Yemen in 2003, and met the Iranian ambassador in 2007 during an exhibition opening, which was also attended by Péter Lehmann, the leader of the Turán-Irán Egyesület (Turan-Iran Association). The aim of the ex- hibition coincided with Jobbik’s creed: to bring the Hungarian and the Persian peoples closer to each other, as they are interconnected by a common history and a shared cultural heritage.9 The relationship was further extended in 2009, when Krisztina Morvai, the party’s member of the European Parliament, trav- elled to Iran for a human rights conference.

7 See: Gátlástalan módon provokál az ATV. Alfahír, 9 January 2015. Available at http://alfahir .hu/gatlastalan_modon_provokal_az_atv [Accessed 31 January 2017].

8 Lázár’s opinion piece published in the weekly Élet és Irodalom synthesised the dynamics and depth of the relationships mentioned in different Iranian and Hungarian sources. The au- thors of this article do not wish to comment on the article’s findings.

9 Vona Gábor az iráni nagykövettel találkozott [Gábor Vona meets the ambassador of Iran] (31 October 2007). Available at: https://kuruc.info/r/2/17907/ [Accessed 31 January 2017].

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Gábor Vona presented the “Béla IV Plan” in April 2011, which refers to the economic potentials of Russia, China, Turkey, Central Asia, Arab countries and Iran as financial means of ending the international dependence (with its harm to sovereignty) on the European Union and multinational corporations.10 In addition to establishing the Hungarian-Iranian Circle of Friendship in Parliament, other institutional relations have also emerged in the form of cul- tural associations and town twinnings. After 2010, several municipalities led by mayors from the Jobbik party concluded town twinning agreements with their Iranian counterparts: the “capital” of Jobbik, Tiszavasvári, became the twin town of Ardabil in Iran in 2011, while Gyöngyöspata (with a population of 2,500) became the partner of the Iranian Qom (with a population of one million). In addition, Iranian politicians have also started to see possible links connected to the theory that the Jász people originate from Iran, and signifi- cant meetings have taken place each year.

In addition to anti-Israeli sentiment and anti-Semitism as well, ideas of being related to Eastern peoples are widely spread within the ideology of Jobbik, although members are divided on the issue of close ties with the Islamic religion and Muslim states, questioning how the nationalist-Christian commit- ment is compatible with a pro-Muslim stance. It is worth noting that Zsolt Dér, the personal assistant of the deputy speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly (delegated by Jobbik) and a veteran of the Yugoslav War, has con- verted to Islam. In addition, there is an unclear and publicly denied relation- ship between Jobbik (or some leaders of Jobbik) and the nationalist radical Betyársereg (Army of Outlaws),11 which presents itself as a volunteer militia, and openly claims that the methods of guerrilla warfare, making explosives and training for acts of terrorism can be learnt from the propaganda videos of al-Qaeda and Islamic State.12

10 The portal “kurucinfó”, which is linked to Jobbik, also reports on the relationship of the party and Iran. See Morvai Krisztina Iránba utazott! Kuruc, 6 March 2009. Available at https://kuruc.info/r/2/36484/ [Accessed 31 January 2017].

11 See the article on theebsite of the radical nationalist youth movement Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom (HVIM, Sixty-Four Counties Movement): Betyársereg. Available at http://www.hvim.hu/betyarsereg [Accessed 31 January 2017].

12 Interview with Tamás Sneider, deputy chairman of Jobbik and its parliamentary group, as well as deputy speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly. Available at: https://sound cloud.com/vigyazo/sneider-tamas-inkabb-muzulman-mint-zsido [Accessed 31 January 2017].

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“Break-up”

According to the statistics of the Office of Immigration and Nationality, the Hungarian authorities had registered 132,000 asylum seekers by 31 August 2015, but data of the police service show that more than 391,000 people13 crossed Hungary’s borders with Serbia, Romania and Croatia before the construction of the temporary security barrier in September. When the governing Fidesz- KDNP coalition recognised the opportunity to gain a quick political advantage, it smartly positioned the migrant crisis and set out to regain the popularity it had lost. Instead of setting up preparations and the effective management of the problem, a communication battle took place, which generated so much political hysteria on both the domestic and the European levels that it practi- cally replaced all rational initiatives and appropriate dialogue.

Initially, Jobbik wanted to outdo government communications and called for strict actions against refugees. In consequence, in August 2015, imam Miklós Ahmed Kovács, the vice-chairman of the Hungarian Islamic Community (Magyar Iszlám Közösség; MIK) declared involvement with radical right-wing organisations (Jobbik, Betyársereg, Hatvannégy Vármegye Mozgalom [Sixty- Four Counties Movement], Magyar Gárda [Hungarian Guard]) prohibited for Muslims: “It is religiously haram [, i.e. forbidden for all Muslims] to support, vote for or participate in the works of these groups, parties, organisations, or to assist them in any way, because that would be an act against Muslims.”14 He jus- tified the prohibition on the grounds that these organisations were not stand- ing up for Muslims, and what is more, were organising an anti-refugee and anti-Muslim campaign during the influx of refugees in Hungary in the sum- mer of 2015. The most interesting parts of the imam’s speech are those refer- ring to the earlier cooperation of Muslims with Jobbik, the Sixty-Four Counties Movement, the Hungarian Guard and the “outlaws”: “[earlier] many people from these circles became Muslims or supported these parties as Muslims.” He emphasised that “many Muslims voted for Jobbik in 2010, some of them joined the self-defence organisations or the party itself”. The speech mentions the anti-refugee actions of the so-called “outlaws”, their threats to Muslim refugees, as well as the constant, deliberate confusion of Hungarian Muslims (“who have

13 14

2015-ben 391 ezer migránst regisztráltak a rendőrök (391,000 migrants were registrated by the Police in 2015). See: http://index.hu/kulfold/2016/01/01/2015-ben_391_ezer_migranst_ regisztraltak_a_rendorok/ [Accessed 31 January 2017].

For the speech on 2 August 2015 see the link http://vigyazo.blog.hu/2015/08/03/_ok_az_ iszlam_ellensegei_muszlim_fatva_a_jobbik_ellen. [Accessed 31 January 2017].

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coexisted with Hungarians for almost a thousand years and integrated, and also never participated in acts of terror”) with refugees and immigrants.

The anti-refugee campaign in 2015 turned the situation of the current Hungarian Muslim community completely upside down. Zoltán Bolek, the head of the MIK, argued in a statement published in late 2015 that, during November and December, Islamophobia had reached entirely new levels in Hungary, which was mostly manifested in threats sent via emails and Facebook posts.15 The statement pointed out that the alleged “pro-Muslim” stance of Jobbik was also out of the bag, since “through attacking refugees, Jobbik and its satellites, as well as its media and the state media have also attacked Muslims”.

Two Historical Narratives

In order to understanding the political discourse related to the migrant crisis, we have to discuss historical Hungarian-Muslim relations and their survival in political thinking and its outward manifestations. The ethnically homoge- neous Hungarian population is also strongly divided culturally and politically, and certain social groups (especially within the intelligentsia) are sensitive to specific issues of national identity. These groups are highly concerned about ancient Hungarian history, the fates of peoples joining the Magyar tribes (the Hungarian people) and the assimilated populations. In order to better under- stand why the attitude of Jobbik (and Fidesz) toward Islam and the message about the Hungarian people being related to or fighting with oriental popula- tions have been spreading and becoming increasingly acceptable in certain circles of Hungarian society since the 1990s, we shall focus on the thesis of “Hungarians being an oriental people and being related to oriental peoples”. There are several possible interpretations. Some say that certain Turkish and Iranian people (who are the followers of Islam) shall be considered our “rela- tives”. Some Eastern peoples (especially of Turkic origin) who assimilated completely into the Hungarian people certainly followed the Muslim faith and some others probably did so partially. If this idea might be considered, it would mean that a significant proportion of the medieval predecessors of Hungarians could have been following Islam. In addition, certain (Eastern) Muslim peoples certainly played a significant role in particular periods of Hungarian history, and contributed to enriching the “national mythology”. Several periods of co-existence have been identified thoroughly analysed

15 Also, someone stuck a piece of pork lard onto the door of a mosque in Budapest (Dávid, 2015).

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by historians (Karácsonyi, 1913; Al-Gharnati, 1985; Bartha, 1988; Fodor, 1988; Palóczi Horváth, 1988; Léderer, 1988, 1989; Györffy, 1990; Fodor P., 1991; Kristó, 2003). During the conquest of the Carpathian Basin by the Magyar tribes and under the Árpád dynasty, Muslim communities also lived among Hungarians until the late 13th century, which may also be seen as meaning that Muslims have an ancient right to live in the country. Hungarian Muslim leaders such as Zoltán Bolek and Ahmed Miklós Kovács often emphasise that Muslims have been living together with Hungarians more or less harmoniously for almost a thousand years (Mihálffy, 1991; Bolek, 2002).

It was a basic question of Hungarian national politics in the 16th-17th cen- turies, whether the unity of a country torn apart would be restored under the Habsburg rule, by driving out the Muslim Ottomans with help from Western powers, or in loose dependence on the Ottomans, by breaking the rule of the Habsburgs.

The perception of Turkish rule in Hungary is one of the topics about which no single national consensus exists, and there are various—Protestant and Catholic, (kuruc) rebel and (labanc) loyalist, national and pro-European—in- terpretations. Some consider it a major derailment of national development, while others (a minority) consider it a lost opportunity for the nation to attain liberty and to control its own fate. The heroes of the anti-Muslim battles at the key fortresses, including János Hunyadi, István Dobó and Miklós Zrínyi16 (Nikola Šubić Zrinski) who fought at Belgrade (1456), Eger (1552) and Szigetvár (1566), respectively, played a key role in the formation of a Hungarian national identity. Protestantism, a significant portion of Hungarian national culture, was able to exist and even flourish in the semi-independent Transylvania and the land occupied by the Ottomans, but religious intolerance rendered the part of the country governed by the Habsburgs uninhabitable for Hungarian Protestants in the 17th century. The memory of this period is also included in the themes of anniversary commemoration events, including those celebrat- ing the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, two different historical narratives were born regarding Muslims in Hungary, which made reaching a consensus view- point all but impossible. The mostly Catholic, pro-Vienna and pro-Habsburg faction, favouring a Western orientation rather than national independence, sees and represents the place and role of Hungary as a European/Catholic/

16

The 450th anniversary of the death of Miklós Zrínyi and the fall of the castle of Szigetvár received special attention from the government in Hungary. State celebrations were held in 2016 (during the period of migration crisis) at vast expense to honour the martyrs of the anti-Muslim battles.

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Western “bastion”. The other factions, mostly Protestant (Calvinist), pro-inde- pendence and anti-Habsburg, emphasise national sovereignty, and consider a Turkish (Muslim) alliance an appropriate means to reach key national ob- jectives. The latter group emphasises the importance and Eastern origin of Hungarian traditions. In the political struggles of the 18th-19th centuries, both narratives appear regularly. Their ongoing existence today is suggested by the fact that these themes also surface in the communications of Jobbik and Fidesz politicians.

A very important factor in the shaping of the national identity and relations with Turkish/Muslim peoples is that the Hungarian leaders and soldiers of the anti-Habsburg uprisings (the uprising led by Thököly Imre, independence war of Ferenc Rákóczi II [1703-11], and the revolution and war of independence led by Lajos Kossuth [1848-49]) usually fled to the territory of the Ottoman Empire. About 60 senior officers led by Kossuth joined the Ottoman army and converted to Islam as well, to avoid being extradited (Pap et al., 2014).

As a result of these events and the particular interpretations and sentiments related to them, some groups of Hungarians have a rare sense of understand- ing toward Eastern peoples, especially Turks, and the Muslim religion. Another striking phenomenon is the park of Turkish-Hungarian friendship in Szigetvár, somewhat controversially established in 1994 to commemorate peace and friendship, while marking the 500th anniversary of the birth of Suleiman I (who died during the siege of Szigetvár). It is considered quite strange in both the Western and the Islamic worlds.

There is no survey available of the perception of Islam on the part of en- tire Hungarian population as a whole, but the awareness and impact of the above-mentioned events is only significant in subcultures and as a topic of discourse among the intelligentsia. For the wider public, the historical novel Egri csillagok (“Eclipse of the Crescent Moon”)17 which was voted the most popular Hungarian novel a few years ago, and the extremely popular Turkish soap opera Muhtesem Yüzyil, about Sultan Suleiman, plays the same role. The experiences of Hungarians with Muslims were based on the historical links with the Turkish (Ottoman) ethnicity for a long time. Experiences related to Muslims of Arab descent are rare, however, and, according to xenophobia

17 In 1552, the Turks unsuccessfully besieged the fortress of Eger, which was protected by István Dobó and his men. This theme was reworked into a novel by Géza Gárdonyi (1899) and a popular adventure film was also made with the same title (1969). Egri csillagok is compulsory reading for Hungarian schoolchildren. It depicts Turks (Muslims) rather negatively.

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surveys, Arabs are currently one of the most rejected ethnic groups in Hungary, partly because of the campaign of the quota referendum.18

Muslims in Modern Hungary

Following the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, significant numbers of Muslims again appeared in Hungary, after a gap of two hundred years. They played an increasingly important role in the army, in public ad- ministration and in the economy. Their role further increased during the First World War and Austria-Hungary also became a military ally of the Ottoman Empire. So, in order to support the emancipation of Muslims, the Hungarian Parliament settled the legal status of the Muslim community in 1916, declar- ing Islam a recognised denomination and permitted religion in Act 17 of 1916. Interestingly, from the late 19th century it was mostly Bosniak soldiers who served in the Budapest garrison, until the very last hours before the dissolu- tion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Since they were persona non grata in Yugoslavia, most of these officers stayed in Hungary after the war.

In the 1920s, the number of Muslims living in Hungary decreased by one- third according to the 1930 census (Fazekas, 1996). According to Léderer, how- ever, in the interbellum about 300 Turkish and 700-800 Bosnian Muslims were living in the Hungarian capital (Léderer, 1989). Although the sources differ, we can be sure that Muslims were concentrated in Budapest in the 1920s and 1930s, where Hilmi Husszein Durics led the Bosnian Hungarian, and Abdul Latif the Turkish community, often in rivalry with each other. Durics joined the National Front political party (Nemzeti Front) and was on good terms with prime min- ister Gyula Gömbös and far-right groups. During his public appearances, he courted revisionist groups and he was also acclaimed for the Muslim military participation in 1921, during the protection of Hungary’s western border.19 The

18 19

In October 2016, the Arabs (Muslims) were the most rejected group: 58% of respondents considered themselves xenophobic, which is an enormous increase over the 40-45% mea- sured in 2015.

After the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, many Bosnian soldiers and civilians re- mained in post-Trianon Hungary. The most famous and acclaimed of them was the aforementioned Muslim religious leader Hilmi Husszein Durics, who in 1920 moved from Vienna in 1920 to Hungary, where—according to his own report—he joined Pál Prónay’s paramilitary unit, the so-called “Ragged Guards” (Rongyos Gárda) with 85 companions. Bosniak, Albanian and Turkish Muslim volunteers are known to have participated in their uprising of the Lajtabánság (Banat of Leitha) region of Western Hungary in 1921. The Turkish, Bosnian and Albanian fighters are mentioned in several contemporary sources

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battle of Ágfalva has now become an important event in the alternative history narrative dictated by the radical nationalists linked to Jobbik.

In 1931, under the leadership of Durics, the Budapest Autonomous Islamic Religious Community was founded, named after Gül Baba. The commu- nity used an international campaign to collect enough funding to establish a mosque and a Muslim centre near the tomb of Gül Baba in Budapest, but these plans did not materialise. Durics died in 1940 and Hungary was caught up in the Second World War (once again on the losing side). When Communism took over, opportunities to practise the Muslim faith became rather lim- ited and many Turks and Bosniaks left the country. The Hungarian Islamic Community led by Zoltán Bolek was founded by Hungarian Muslims at the end of the Communist era in 1988 and considers itself to be the successor of Durics’s organization.

In the last stage of the Communist era, students from Arab countries and Hungarian Muslims began to establish religious organisations. After the tran- sition to democracy, the organisation of legal frameworks and greater free- dom of travel enabled an increase in migration, initiating a process that led to the current situation. Muslims settled in Hungary from more distant parts of the Islamic world, including especially Arab countries, as well as Turkey and Central and Southern Asia. As a result of military conflicts, people also came from Kosovo and (in smaller numbers) from Bosnia. However, compared with earlier periods, the number of Muslims arriving from the Balkans was much lower than those arriving from Arab and other Asian regions. The number of Hungarian converts—estimated to be around 10% of Muslims in Hungary— is also rather significant. Currently their number exceeds 30,000. The Muslim community is greatly divided, and the three largest organisations have been unable to bring the majority of the followers of Islam living in Hungary to- gether. The MIK (the Muslim religious organisation with the longest history) undertakes to represent continuity with the religious entity that existed in the interbellum period (named after Gül Baba), and participates relatively actively in politics. Mr Kovács’ speech is decisive proof of the manifold (if not previously

and the memoir of one of the commanders of the troops (Viktor Maderspach) describes how well known their units were, Justas well as the names, places of birth, ranks and civil occupations of some of them. Some of them were traders operating near the Nyugati rail- way terminal in Budapest, others were soldiers, originally from southern Hungary, who had defected. There are no exact data available on their precise numbers, but various sources indicate estimates of 100-150. The (partially Muslim) outnumbered insurgents at- tacked an Austrian unit of 500 gendarmes who were awaiting the take-over of Sopron near Ágfalva on 29 August 1921 and expelled them from the area.

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recognised) links that connected the MIK to Jobbik and other nationalist radical organisations before their split. In the historical canon they represent, Muslim volunteer fighters are considered the finest examples of patriotism.20

Muslim leaders all support social integration efforts and emphasise the importance of loyalty to the state. The Organization of Muslims in Hungary (Magyarországi Muszlimok Egyháza, literally the Church of Muslims in Hungary; MME) keeps its distance from political parties, while the leader of the MIK, Zoltán Bolek, emphasises the similarity of his views to those of the Christian Democrats. The MIK has supported the expression of the Christian spirit and related specific articles in the Constitution, and also the explicit moral provisions that are similar to the teachings of Islam. Unsurprisingly, the MIK maintained the closest relationship in daily politics with Jobbik up to 2015, and they found common ground in anti-Israel sentiment, amongst other things. Regarding foreign policy, they play an active role in Hungarian relations with the states of the Islamic world, and the foreign policy approaches of the MIK and Jobbik have been similar during the past few years. Both organisa- tions have typically rejected Hungarian military participation in NATO mis- sions to Iraq and Afghanistan.

20

The Treaty of Trianon in 1920 assigned the southern part of Baranya County to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and so ancient Hungarian settlements were trans- ferred to the newly created Yugoslav monarchy. During the 1990s, this area become a bat- tleground between Croatians and Serbs. The defence of Laslovo (Szentlászló) for 152 days in 1991 is a key historical event for the radical nationalists. The ancient Hungarian settle- ment was defended by the local Hungarian residents, Croatian paramilitaries and the volunteers of the so-called National Forces against JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army) troops and the Serb paramilitary forces led by Željko Ražnatović (Arkan). A leading figure in the defence effort was Eduardo Rózsa-Flores, a Hungarian-Bolivian journalist and soldier. For his heroism as a volunteer in the international forces, he was later awarded Croatian citi- zenship and a high military rank by the government of Croatia. It is known that Muslims also fought with the volunteers. The reason the event is significant to the present subject is that Rózsa-Flores (although he was of Jewish origin) and some of his companions later converted to Islam, and then he became an editor of the website Jobbik.net. The MIK (which considers itself the successor of the Durics organisation) elected him its vice- chairman and has considered him a martyr since his death in 2009 (he and some of his companions were shot by Bolivian police forces in dubious circumstances, because he was suspected of engaging in acts of terrorism). Jobbik and the MIK regularly reference the events that took place in Laslovo and hold commemorations, focusing on the life of Eduardo Rózsa-Flores. There is still a volunteer from Laslovo who plays an active role in Jobbik, Zsolt Dér, the personal assistant of the deputy speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly (who was delegated by Jobbik) a veteran of the Yugoslav War (in addition to being a defender of Laslovo) who has also converted to Islam.

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The MIK and MME joined different moderate European umbrella organisa- tions, but reject their more liberal viewpoints and emphasise the worldwide unity of Islam. The cabinet’s “Opening to the East” policy of seeking connec- tions with Asia has been supported by all Muslim organisations (Csicsmann, 2011; Pap, 2013). However, there are some reservations regarding the MIK, as it is in contact with extremist regimes such as that in Sudan.

The “Opening to the East” Policy of the Fidesz-KDNP Government

In order to better understand the change during the migration crisis of the nar- rative regarding Muslims, discussion is needed of the government’s new line of foreign policy. The new policy (then officially called: Opening to the World) was articulated in the government foreign policy strategy of 2011. According to this theory, the economy and politics of Hungary cannot rely solely on adjacent, mostly European partners, but must open towards a new range of partners. Outside of Europe, several countries (mostly in Asia) have gained economic and political significance, and links to these could provide an oppor- tunity for the development of the Hungarian economy because of their higher growth rate.

Asia was just one of the directions of opening to the world included in the foreign policy strategy (in addition to Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa), but in practice it was ranked first, and media attention and actual diplomat- ic activity were also focused here.21 Key target countries included the BRICS countries, as well as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Georgia, the Gulf States and Turkey. The Foreign Ministry produced this as a classic for- eign policy strategy, building upon Hungarians’ Asian origins. The first deputy minister of state for global opening was János Hóvári, who (as a Turkologist by profession) has done a lot to improve Turkish-Hungarian relations and he has achieved great breakthroughs in this respect.22 In these policies, symbolic

21 From 2010 to 2014, the Foreign Ministry mostly referred to “global opening”, because in their system Eastern European and Middle Eastern/Asian openings were implemented simultaneously with the opening to Africa and Latin America. This system included the important element of repositioning the status of Hungary in international organisations, especially the UN, in order to make the voice of Budapest heard on global issues.

22 Hóvári was replaced in this position by Szabolcs Takács and then Péter Wintermantel, directing global and eastern opening till the elections in 2014. In the new government from 2014, Péter Szijjártó was appointed foreign minister and he partially changed the emphasis in Opening to the East and replaced some members of the staff.

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gestures were given an increased role. Economic expectations were long-term, and their implementation was planned to be carried out through classical di- plomacy and cultural exchange.

From summer 2012, when Péter Szijjártó was appointed as state minister responsible for international relations in the Prime Minister’s Office, and then even more so from autumn 2014, when he was appointed to lead the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the policy of opening to the world began to trans- form into an “Opening to the East”, and at the same time classical and sophis- ticated diplomatic objectives/means were replaced by short-term economic interests, and foreign policy objectives were subordinated to these interests and the means aligned to them. The most general criticism of the strategy emphasised that the principle of values in Hungarian diplomacy had been re- placed by the principle of interests, because in this new direction the key tar- gets were primarily China, Russia, the post-Soviet states and some Gulf States.

The reaction in the target countries to the Hungarian Opening to the East is also considered controversial. The reaction to the Hungarian “opening” has been positive in Russia (not unrelated to the events in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s subsequent international isolation), which also brought concrete results (Southern Stream, the Paks II nuclear power plant, etc.). However this favourable potential may also lead to serious political dangers, because Russia primarily uses the policy to create a dividing wedge between the al- lies condemning the intervention in Ukraine, thereby breaking out of politi- cal isolation and creating some political breathing space. This became obvious when the war in Ukraine escalated and thus Hungary was caught between its “old” (EU) and “new” (Russia) friends. It is rather hard to satisfy the expecta- tions of both.

Hungarian efforts earned a similarly favourable response in Turkey, where they were linked with the concept of strategic depth communicated by for- mer prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the range of phenomena pejora- tively called neo-Ottomanism, which resulted in the increased influence of the Republic of Turkey in South-Eastern Europe. This effort is in harmony with the increasing interest and openness on the part of Hungary.

The appearance of hundreds of thousands of migrants on the border be- tween Hungary and Serbia posed a particular challenge to the government’s political communication strategy. On one level of interpretation, govern- ment international communication systematically changed from the internal, national regarding the countries preferred in the course of the eastern (and southern) opening, presenting cooperation with these states in a positive man- ner (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, etc.). The attitude of Fidesz

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politicians toward Islam and Muslim societies is primarily pragmatic.23 Good relationships with developing Muslim countries are based on financial inter- ests, in the form of investments, loans and subsidies that are not from the EU and can therefore be used more freely. The friendly gesture by Viktor Orbán during a press conference with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on 5 June 2015 (right in the middle of the refugee crisis) fits in the above picture; he said: “Islam is one of the great spiritual and theoretical achievements of mankind, helping several hundred million people to reach a higher meaning of human existence”.24

Hungary, the “bastion of Europe”

In addition to its practical function, the temporary fence erected on the south- ern borders of Hungary during the summer and autumn of 2015 was also repre- sented as a metaphor for defence and civilisation in Hungarian and European public discussions, which carried significant contradictions.

The current southern border of Hungary is a product of the Trianon Peace Treaty of 1920. During the 20th century, the Hungarian-Serbian, Hungarian- Croatian and Hungarian-Slovenian borders have physically changed on multiple occasions, both regarding their role in linking the countries and sym- bolically, but the outline has not changed since 4 June 1920. Beyond the south- ern borders, ethnic Hungarians live in variable numbers and typically consider themselves to be part of the Hungarian nation—and according to the majority viewpoint in Hungary, they are indeed Hungarians, with legitimate claims to Hungarian nationality, as they were forcibly torn away from the motherland

23 Fidesz has no ideologically determined, stable Muslim policy. As with most of the other issues, the party takes a pragmatic and flexible stance and is known for its multiplex communication. The governing party emphasises its Christian nature, but—especially in the field of foreign policy—it also makes gestures toward Islam in order to develop the promising economic relations with Muslim states. At the same time, statements criticis- ing Muslims and Islam appear in the speeches of some party leaders from time to time to satisfy the conservative, pro-Christian and “xenophobic” sentiment of parts of the voter base. No significant change can be discovered in the political practice affecting Muslims between the periods before and after the 2010 elections. The Muslim community is recog- nised by the state and they can also operate freely on the basis of the freedom of religion guaranteed in the new Fundamental Law.

24 For the press conference given by Viktor Orbán and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, see:: https:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmOTO6QCAtU [Accessed 31 January 2017].

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by non-Hungarian decision makers as part of a post-war treaty. Therefore, the cross-border relationships established in these regions are mostly Hungarian- Hungarian relations, which also often have a national policy dimension, even if it is linked with development activities. The demand and support for auton- omy in Romanian and Serbian border territories is also part of this policy. The Slovene accession to the EU had a smaller role, while the Croatian accession played a larger role in resolving the grievances caused by Trianon, and also in reintegrating Hungarian communities located beyond the borders. The most important such question along the southern border region is the issue of the Hungarian communities in Serbia (Vojvodina), and this is why the Hungarian government has long supported the accession of Serbia to the EU. This policy has become increasingly consistent, and by 2014 it had earned foreign policy success. The 2015 migration crisis disrupted relations with neighbouring coun- tries, and the consequences, including the duration of the disruption and its permanence, are yet to be seen. However, it is already clear that the rather complex issue of the border barrier has had a temporary negative impact on the Hungarian national reintegration process because of the deteriorating re- lations with the neighbouring countries, even though it transpired that the fence was (is) an effective means of halting the migrants.

Most of Hungary’s southern border is linked to (and divided from) territo- ries of the (Romanian, Serbian and Croatian) nation states that the Hungarian public considers “Balkan”, i.e. which belong to a different level of civilisation. From a religious viewpoint, this civilisation difference used to mean Islam (for centuries, the Ottoman Empire was located on the other side of the bor- der), and then Orthodox Christianity (in Serbia and Romania), against which Hungarians have played the role of the “bastion of Christian Europe” for “a thousand years”.

As stated above, as a consequence of anti-migrant messages, the MIK de- clared that it was haram for Muslims to support Jobbik in August 2015, and to support the Fidesz-KDNP coalition on 4 September.25 In a programme on Kossuth Rádió, prime minister Viktor Orbán declared that the flawed Western European policies would not be able to protect the continent from migration, and so Hungary was going to protect its own borders by constructing a physical

25

The haram statement against Fidesz was revoked within a month, when, in September 2015, prime minister Orbán made several speeches in which he spoke supportively of Hungarian Muslims and raised his voice against Islamophobia. See Itt vagyunk otthon [We are here at home]. Mandiner, 26 November 2015. Available at: http://mandiner.hu/ cikk/magyar_iszlam_kozosseg_itt_vagyunk_otthon [Accessed 31 January 2017].

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barrier (temporary border barrier/fence).26 As regards the fence and protecting the borders, government messages strongly built upon the historic concepts of “Hungary the bastion protecting Christianity” and “the bastion of Europe”, which are still strongly present in Hungarian political thinking. According to 1993 and 2000 Gallup surveys, two-thirds of Hungarians (71% in 2000) agree with the following statement: “Hungary has been the bastion protecting the West for a thousand years, and they have not been grateful (even now)”.

On 19 September, Orbán attended the meeting of the state legislature group of the German conservative CSU party at Banz Abbey in Bavaria and argued in favour of this role: “Because of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement the borders of Bavaria can currently be protected at the exter- nal border of the Schengen Area, which is currently the southern border of Hungary.” According this remark, Hungary is currently the protector of the southern border of Europe, and so Orbán is the fortress commander. Fortress commanders are important parts of Hungarian historical thinking, since all Hungarians remember the heroic resistance of fortress soldiers against nu- merically superior Ottoman forces in the 15th-17th centuries. They are familiar with the victorious protector of Belgrade, János Hunyadi, the men and women who defended the fortress of Eger (and their captain, István Dobó) and the sacrificial sortie of Miklós Zrínyi, after holding the Szigetvár fortress till his last breath. The parallel with the struggle against the invading Muslim forces (refugees, illegal migrants) and the handful of Christian defenders (Hungarian police and army) is clear. However, combat around the border fortresses also has meant suffering throughout history, so it is no surprise that Orbán tried to neutralise the simile by adding that Hungary was not keen to fulfil this role, but was discharging the obligation to protect the southern border. The billboard campaign launched in mid-September also supported this, with the main mes- sage centred around the word protecting. “People have decided: the country shall be protected.”

By the early autumn of 2015, discussions had shifted towards a new inter- pretation, as the governing coalition steered its messages intensively to the right. They highlighted the issues of co-existence with Muslims and the failure of multiculturalism. An extract from a book by the Nobel laureate Hungarian writer Imre Kertész (2014), which has spread across the Internet argues that,

26 Viktor Orbán: “If we do not protect our borders, several other tens of millions will come and Europe will end.” On the Kossuth Rádió programme “180 perc”. Available at: http://www.hirado.hu/2015/09/04/hallgassa-itt-eloben-a-miniszterelnoki-interjut/ (4 September 2015).

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as a result of liberal European immigration policies, Muslims have dispersed freely throughout Europe, taking over certain areas within European borders, and then destroying European culture.27 These ideas are echoed in the book Submission, published by French writer Michel Houellebecq in January 2015, which proved to be very controversial.28 The novel’s main story lines (also la- belled a social utopia) have deep meanings, although these are only included in the book as passing remarks, and not necessarily highlighted by the author. As seen, the issue of migration unfolds similar connections, because many people simply identify it as the movement of people, while the problem lies within a much more complex system of processes. In addition to security and administrative matters, it also involves intertwined sociological, psychological, political science, economic and security policy issues, as well as the collective concepts of acceptance—adaptation—co-existence—integration.

Lajos Kósa, head of the Fidesz parliamentary group, stated in October 2015 that Muslim culture is so radically different from European culture that there is no hope of integration. This message resonated with Gábor Vona’s pronounce- ment that Islam is the last hope of mankind. Kósa contrasted hope with the hopelessness of integration policies, and therefore suggested that the solution lies in stopping the migration wave rather than in co-existence. He claims that migrants are economic immigrants, who travel to Europe with a specific goal of “occupying a certain territory”, while the more left-leaning political institutions in the West view them as future voters.29 The messages of pro-government politicians and their proxies were have been in perfect alignment with the ex- pectations of the majority of the population. While the issue of constructing the fence divided public opinion slightly in the summer of 2015 (60-65% of the residents supported it on average), by December, after the Paris terror attacks, 85% of the respondents believed that building a physical barrier at the border was a good decision. Thus, the governing party’s message was successful, as is clearly reflected in the fact that the percentage of those who rejected the

27 28

29

Many media outlets reported on this controversial work both in Hungary and abroad. The book was published a day after the attack on Charlie Hebdo and takes a new approach to the issues of Islam spreading in Europe. It has become almost impossible to avoid refer- ring to it in discussions on the subject.

Interview with Lajos Kósa, head of the Fidesz parliamentary group, in the pro-govern- ment daily Magyar Idők. (1 of October 2015) Available at: http://magyaridok.hu/belfold/ remenytelen-muszlim-bevandorlok-integralasa-29803/ [Accessed 31 January 2017].

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acceptance of refugees grew to 83%, and almost half of the population thought that Hungary was going to be affected by terror.30

After the massacre in Paris, the government “raised the stakes” again. One week after these shocking events, Orbán told Politico that Western leaders had lost their sense of reality and that the gap between the interests of average Europeans and the rampage of political correctness was widening. According to the Hungarian premier, the link between immigration and terrorism is un- disputed, because all terrorists are migrants. The question remains, “So why did they come to Europe?” The West is at war with Islamists in the Middle East, so it is no surprise that the enemies send fighters among the arriving migrants. If we allow millions of people into Europe without identifying them, the dan- ger of terror is going to increase. Therefore, according to Orbán, external bor- ders must be secured, Schengen must be protected, and finding alternatives to it will not work (Kaminsky, 2015).

By September and October, both Jobbik and the opposition parties, with the exception of the Democratic Coalition (Demokratikus Koalíció), had made their messages against migrants stricter, but Fidesz and its politicians already controlled the public information space and this superiority was reflected in support data, which showed that Fidesz was gradually recovering the political lead it had enjoyed before the autumn of 2014.

The pro-Muslim policy of Jobbik, unparalleled in Europe, was able to be exploited by Fidesz-KDNP when it strengthened the majority (anti-Muslim) narrative and Jobbik had no means to counter this. Therefore, rather uniquely, the Hungarian radical nationalists were not becoming the winners in the mi- gration crisis, as they were overtaken by the centre-right governing party. The government was able to win back its voters who had switched to Jobbik from the summer of 2014, but it also had to pay a price. Important subjects for re- search in the near future will be to see what changes, including xenophobic sentiment in political communication and political action, will take place in domestic and foreign politics and how the increased “rigidity” of the southern borders and the changing relations with neighbouring countries will transform the national issue in Hungary and affect the situation of the Hungarian com- munities in these regions.

30 Survey conducted by the Medián polling company, commissioned by the weekly HVG (Endre and Dániel, 2015).

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Conclusions

The cultural and political situation created in Hungary is rather unique in Europe and has resulted in distinctive phenomena, different from the do- mestic and European mainstream (in international politics). Because of the special ethnogenesis of Hungarians (Magyar tribes arrived to the Carpathian Basin from Asia), the national identity has layers to which radical nationalists react very differently from similar European movements. The Eastern origin of Hungarians, and the long co-existence with peoples of Asian origin (Turks and Iranians) laid the foundations of subcultures and political movements that contradicted the centrist left and right parties oriented toward the West and co- existence in Europe, and promote finding the key elements of political identity in the East, with peoples who are “our relatives”, through their cultural heritage. Currently, Jobbik is the umbrella organisation for these movements in Hungary. The leaders of Jobbik have used anti-European, anti-American and anti-Israeli expressions in their foreign policy programme and prefer an opening to the East, with closer co-operation with Iran, Turkey and Russia as the alternative.

In the parliamentary elections of 2014, Jobbik finished as the second larg- est party (20.2%) behind Fidesz-KDNP and they positioned themselves as the challenger to the governing party. In the second half of the year, the party per- formed a significant communication offensive and attracted between 250,000 and 300,000 Fidesz-voters. The governing coalition suffered unusual set-backs and lost several mid-term elections and, particularly with the emergence of corruption charges and intra-party tensions, support for Fidesz started to fade swiftly. This trend changed after the migration crisis in the summer of 2015, when voters returned to Fidesz from Jobbik. The campaign against the mostly Muslim migrants brought back some voters, and it also took the pop- ularity of the prime minister to record heights, including among non-Fidesz sympathisers.

Jobbik (unlike other far-right European parties) was not able to exploit the situation created by the migration crisis, because its former pro-Muslim ac- tions did not enable it to compete with the messages of the governing coali- tion, which based its campaign on a different, very powerful historic narrative. This narrative was born during the battles with the Ottomans in the 16th-17th centuries, when Hungary was the “bastion protecting Europe and Christianity” and the fortress commanders of that era are still considered outstanding he- roes in the national memory. The construction of the fence on the southern border reflects the metaphors of “bastion” and “fortress commander” (here applied to the prime minister). Both the government and Fidesz used these metaphors deliberately and quite successfully.

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Since there is no significant Muslim presence in Hungary (the Muslim com- munity is not larger than 30,000 people, concentrated in Budapest), the popu- lar perception of Islam is acquired not from experience, but via the media. Without personal experience, Hungarian voters only see the downsides of European multiculturalism; they perceive the danger of Islamic terrorism in the news, and link it with Muslims.

However, the radical nationalist Jobbik does distinguish between Muslim and Muslim. The national argument supporting their pro-Muslim stance is strongly linked to some special cases and to the nation’s Turkic origins, mostly related to the protection of Hungarian territory. Partnerships established with distant Muslim relatives do not lead to a good relationship with the Muslims currently arriving in Hungary, mostly from Arab countries. In fact, the opposite is true.

In the decidedly heterogeneous ideology of Jobbik, xenophobia is an im- portant mobilising element, as was clearly shown during the refugee crisis, for example in the open split between the MIK and Jobbik. Overall, during the migration crisis, in the competition between Fidesz and Jobbik, the Muslim issue has benefited Fidesz, and Jobbik has shrunk back to the position it held before the offensive.

However, the government’s policies of “Opening to the East” and its pro- Muslim actions (aimed primarily at reducing unilateral dependence on for- mer partners and expanding economic opportunities) have led to significant contradictions. It seems to have become impossible to develop relations with mostly Muslim Asian countries because of the anti-Muslim and anti-terrorism campaign, even though the government aims to separate its internal and ex- ternal communications.

There are also contradictions in the perception of the southern borders of Hungary: national integration versus fortresses at the border; European pe- riphery (bastion protection of the West) versus the European integration pro- cess. The tensions caused with neighbouring states, the increasing number of problems in the status of Hungarians beyond the bordersas a result of dete- riorating international relations and the controversial border fence, all chal- lenge the sense of the national integration efforts made during the past two decades. Surprisingly, with continued successful communication practices, Fidesz-KDNP has been able to restore its domestic policy support vis-à-vis the anti-migration campaign. However, the consequences of this will raise new is- sues with regard to Hungarians in neighbouring countries, and in relationships with Muslim states. An important strategic question remains: whether the status quo anti-Muslim policies will facilitate or hamper the search for long- lasting new friendships in Europe.

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