Fears of copycat terror grip Europe
To Anders Breivik, the massacre to which he freely admits was a justified strike against the political left for supporting open borders and multiculturalism.
And even though the staunchest of hardliners condemn Breivik’s horrific actions, anti-immigration sentiment is growing across Europe.
“Other groups express their condolences and separate themselves from Breivik, but are also quick to lay blame with left-wing politicians, who they say are responsible because they allowed immigration to happen, and effectively pushed this guy to the edge,” Jonathan Birdwill from the violence and extremism program Demos told RT.
It is a cry that many feel is not being heard by European governments, as people show their discontent; voting increasingly for previously-marginal anti-immigration parties, and joining street movements like the anti-Islamic English Defense League.
“Of course you will have groups who are satisfied, and you will have other groups who see that the governments are not doing enough, they are not discussing the issues enough. In the future, I think these Norway attacks will bring this topic into the center of attention again and they will force officials, as well as the public, to focus on these issues again,” said Blanka Kolenikova from the IHS Global Insight.
The move towards nationalism is pan-European: as well as the BNP (British National Party) making gains in the UK, Holland’s controversial Geert Wilders now leads the country’s third-largest political party, running on an anti-Islam platform. Nationalists The True Fins redrew the political landscape this year, when they won nearly 20 per cent of the vote. The Danish People’s Party has also embraced anti-immigration policies, successfully lobbying for Denmark to close its previously open borders with Germany and Sweden.
There is grassroots support for Breivik too, disturbingly depicted on the internet by some extremists as a hero. Three thousand people voted in support of his video manifesto on YouTube, and his group, Knights Templar, became a popular search topic on Google.
“I am quite concerned that there are a lot of individuals that Breivik’s writing in his manifesto will resonate with. I’m very concerned that you will see other people copycatting these attacks in the coming months or coming years,” stated Birdwill.
Politicians including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s David Cameron have already said multiculturalism has failed. Now, the leaders of Western Europe have to stop their disenfranchised cities from becoming a breeding ground for far-right ideologues who have lit the fuse.
Anders Breivik claims to have been involved with the English Defense League, which pledges to protect England from what is calls a wave of “Islamification”. The EDL denies the link, but political analysts are saying if the attacks in Norway do not prompt an honest appraisal of the issues surrounding immigration, it could further frustrate the European public, and create more space for potentially violent far-right groups to expand, all over Europe.