© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Government and Opposition Limited and Cambridge University Press.In Europe, the rise of populism is coupled with the rise of Islamophobia, vividly evident with exponential increases in votes for anti-Islam political parties in national elections. These parties portray Islam and Muslims as threats and maintain a position that Islam (as a religion and culture) is a threatening contrast to European values. By analysing Islamophobic discourses of the French National Front, Alternative for Germany and the Dutch Freedom Party, this article argues that Islamophobic populism targets not only Muslims, but also the incumbent leaders. By looking at the current dynamics of public opinion, this article explains how Islamophobic populism functions as an electoral strategy.