Ongoing Right-Wing Extremist Activity in Europe

Ongoing Right-Wing Extremist Activity in Europe

The massacre that took place in Norway on July 22  is an indication of a rising extremist  political movement in Europe. While Anders Behring Breivik was planning the mass murder that shocked the world, there has been growing animosity toward Islam  throughout Europe. The victims of the massacre were largely members of the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party in Norway who were attending an annual summer camp run by the Labor Party known for its tolerance concerning immigration issues and Muslims.

Tension between Europe and the Muslim world came to a head in 2006 when a Danish daily newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. This resulted in Muslims around the world staging protests, sometimes violently, in defense of ‘ethical’ freedom of speech. Muslims were thereafter accused of trying to restrict freedom of speech and were labeled as ‘extremely sensitive’ . Finally, in March this year, the United Nations Human Rights Council  endorsed a number of decisions related to the defamation of religion.Since the Norway massacre, European countries have been criticized for failing to take note of right-wing terrorist threats, as their attention has, ironically, been focused on Islamist threat. This has created an opportunity for ultranationalists to increase their activity.

Europol’s 2011 terrorism watch report (April, 2011) stated that in 2010 Islamist terrorists carried out three attacks on EU territory, while separatist groups carried out 160 attacks and left-wing and anarchist groups were responsible for 45.

Despite the statistics which indicate that Islam is not the threat, it is often made out to be, anti-Islam feelings are on the rise. Islamophobia in Europe is being fed by a number of issues including the 
Pope’s insulting speech about Islam in 2006 ,swastikas being drawn on Muslim cemeteries and the ban on minarets in Switzerland  in 2010. Right-wing groups are also targeting Islam in their political campaigns, indirectly forcing other political parties to support anti-Islamic discourse in their own campaigns.

Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon visited a mosque  in a bid to call on both Europeans and Muslims to be mindful and not vulnerable to extremists on either side.