There is a rising tide of intolerance in both India and the West, particularly Europe, which indicates the commonalities of Europe and India, which surprisingly are not based on a universal view of humanity as being one, but on a racism based on a narrow and particularist view of the world. While India has been plunged in a maelstrom of intolerance by the BJP Modi government, Europe is being roiled by the Syrian refugee crisis, which is the worst it has faced since World War II. It seems that the West and India are both headed in the direction of a new fascism, an ideology which contradicts the values of the 18th century Enlightenment, which is how the West would like to present itself.

India was never quite the shining city on the hill, nor was it ever near to the Shining India the BJP tried to portray, but it was supposed to be a secular country, one which had adopted the Western liberal values of tolerance and freedom, especially free speech. One problem India had was that its inhabitants all held very firmly, indeed aggressively, to their religious beliefs, and thus the nationalistic project could only work if the country was tolerant. The BJP did not agree, and holds that Hinduism being the majority religion of the country, all inhabitants should confirm to it. Freedom of speech had to be limited.

One result has been a greater Hindu assertiveness. A symbol has been cow slaughter. Hindus venerate cows, Muslims slaughter them.

There is no specific campaign which has led to the killing by a mob of a Muslim suspected of cow slaughter, and later of an exporter of buffaloes, but beef eating has become a point of contention once again. It is only reluctantly that Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the first murder. Well, condemned is a strong word, mild criticism is more what happened.

While there have been ‘cow killings’ in UP, expression seems to be a touch-button issue in Maharashtra, where Shiv Sena allies of Modi attacked first a concert by a Pakistani singer, Ghulam Ali, and then a book launch by former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, whose host had ink flung on him. While Kasuri’s book does call for Indo-Pak understanding, Ghulam Ali is totally apolitical. Then came the attack on the BCCI offices at the time PCB President Shehryar Khan was discussing with Indian officials the resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties. The Shiv Sena was expressing its anti-Pakistan bias through this, but it weighed in on the cow-slaughter debate by throwing ink at independent AJK MLA Abdur Rashid in New Delhi for beef-eating. He had already been ‘punished’ for this by the BJP, whose MLAs beat him at a recent session of the puppet assembly.

Even before this attack, about a dozen Indian writers were returning awards from the Akademi Sahitya because of the atmosphere of repression that was beginning to set in. It is worth noting that the BJP is not yet using the tools of the state, but simply the animus felt by many ordinary people against minority views. Though there have been no book-burnings in India, as in Nazi Germany, and earlier in post-Conquista Spain , the award returns are a kind of equivalent.

There is a certain appropriateness in this new racism, for Hinduism is the last protector of the swastika, the dread symbol of the German Nazis. Their adoption of the swastika is a pointer to the common Indo-Aryan heritage of the two. It should be noted that the Nazis looked to a pre-Christian pagan past, which for Hindus is present, for Hindutva is the last bastion of pagan idol worship. It should also be kept in mind that being elected will not necessarily keep the BJP on the path of democracy: both Hitler and Mussolini were elected to office, and only removed by the Allies going to war on them. Though initially elected, both Hitler and Mussolini proceeded to establish dictatorships. The BJP has not yet established a dictatorship, but it is on its way. It is trying to use its clout at the Centre to achieve power in the states, and if it can control this tier, it will obtain a stranglehold on future general elections.

Fascism seems to be making a comeback in Europe, and it seems it is because of the refugee problem. The Neo-Nazis are not making a comeback, but in the Netherlands, it is anti—immigrant Gert Wilders’ party, while in Germany it is Alternative fur Deutschland, while far from forming the next government, are rising in the polls. Not only is Chancellor Angela Merkel below a 50 percent approval rating for the first time ever, her handling of the refugee crisis is seen as faulty: 51 percent of Germans believe so. The Dutch police association has called for arriving refugees to be sorted by race and religion. Meanwhile, the PEGIDA (a primarily German movement) clashed in Utrecht with the police, where it was protesting the influx of Syrian refugees. It has also planned a massive rally for its coming 10th anniversary. In France, the anti-immigrant Front National has won a referendum in the elite Sciences Po to the exclusion of the ruling Socialists, and a mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republicans, has said that France is a ‘white Christian country.’ This leaves out a lot of African immigrants, who are not white, and are Muslim.

Of course, North Africans are causing problems all over Europe. Like in Italy, where children of North African origin covered up their ears during music lessons at school ‘because it was unIslamic.’ The trail led back to a prayer leader who also said jihad was justified. He was sent back to North Africa. The problem is that there are many debates within Islam in which one side contradicts a Western value. How many will be stopped? If the preaching must be controlled, is fascism not coming back?

It is making something of a comeback in the UK, where there is a majority for exit from the EU, not over economic or sovereignty issues. But because the EU is seen as letting too many immigrants in.

More directly related to refugees is the recent action by the Danish government, cutting the benefits available to refugees: an asylum seeker without children receives 5,945 kroner (€797, $882) per month in benefits, almost half the 10,849 kroner they previously received, while single parents arriving from a non-EU country receive 11,888 kroner per month compared to the previous 14,426 kroner). These changes, did not seem enough, so the citizenship law is being tightened, making it more difficult to get Danish citizenship.

Cyprus has gone a step further, and discouraged refugees by making it more difficult to get refugee status. That means that various rights are not made available, such as the right to work. Apart from race, there is a cultural disconnect, which the outgoing Canadian PM has actually made a campaign issue, through his announcement that if re-elected, his government will ban the niqab for federal employees. Again, the niqab might be a debatable issue among Muslims, but if non-Muslim governments enter the debate, they run the risk of being accused of Islamophobia, especially if they take positions that accord with Western values.

The West is gearing up for an ultimate assault on the Muslim world, in alliance with India. Muslims trying to sail in both ships may find that they will be forced to make a choice.