Norway attack raises alarm over extremism

13:03, August 01, 2011      

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"My government and our media capitulated to Islam years ago after the Rushdie incident. Since then, it has snowballed. Thousands of Muslims stream in each year through asylum, institutions or family connections in Norway," said Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect behind Norway's twin terror attacks, in a recent interview. On the day of the attacks, he posted a manifesto titled "2083 – A European Declaration of Independence" online, which has fully exposed his morbid racial extremist ideology.

A basic feature of extremism is taking illegal and immoral actions to achieve certain political objectives. Extremist forces, which are mostly based on racial or religious biases, are anti-social in nature and have no respect for life.

In some way, terrorism is a by-product of extremism. Religious extremism used to cause long-running conflict among different religions in Europe, and racial extremism led to Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Therefore, European countries have been highly vigilant against extremist views and actions since the end of the Second World War and have taken strict measures in the fields of public opinion management, political management and law enforcement to eliminate the potential for extremism to spread.
However, the terror attacks in Norway have shown that as long as the hotbeds of extremism continue to exist, Europe will not be able to escape its shadow. The core theories of extremism in modern Europe, including white supremacy, ethnic cleansing and populism, are all related to racism.

Extreme right-wing forces have been on the rise in European countries since the end of the Cold War. The number of European countries with extreme right-wing parties has exceeded 30. To get support from more people, these extreme right-wing parties have all made some changes to moderate their extremist views. Opposition to immigration has become a common centerpiece of their policies because the immigration issue often involves employment, social security and culture shock. Currently, these groups mainly resist immigrants from developing countries.

Exclusion remains in the mindsets of Europe's extreme right wing because of racist ideas. When the lower and middle classes in Europe are facing heavier living pressure amid an economic downturn, the anti-foreign sentiment will easily swell, making racist forces more active. However, thoughts and ideas instead of living conditions are the source of Europe's extreme racism. Research shows that most of the work performed by immigrants from developing countries includes jobs Europeans dislike or cannot do, posing a limited impact on Europe's job market.

Norway is one of the world's richest and most peaceful countries. Its high-level social welfare system allows Norwegian residents to live a well-fed life. Norway's GDP per capita reached more than 79,000 U.S. dollars in 2010, ranking second worldwide. In regard to nationality composition, the number of non-whites only accounted for 4 percent of the total population in Norway. Therefore, judging from the aforementioned aspects, Norway should not be the breeding ground of racial extremism.

However, more than 20 percent of voters support the anti-immigration colorific far-right party in Norway. In addition to his strong hatred toward the ruling labor party and his desire to arouse attention of the outside world, Breivik also believes the cultural pluralism will lead to destruction. He hopes to expel all immigrants from Norway. There are some logical connections between his race extremist ideas and the killings.

After the Norway bomb and gun attack, many Western analysts believed the murderer may have come from Libya, the Taliban or al-Qaeda group. Europeans has been focused on the prevention of terrorist threats from outside world, and their internal security management is relatively weak. The Norway bomb and gun attack was a wake-up call to Europe: preventing terrorist attacks also needs to eradicate the internal ethnic extremism thought.

By Tian Dewen, translated by People's Daily Online

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