Norway Shooting, Bombing: Attacks Spark Immigration Controversy

The Norway gunman, Anders Behring Breivik planned to start a revolution against European immigration and multiculturalism with the attacks he carried out recently, which killed 76 people.

The attacks in Europe have brought the issues of immigration and multiculturalism to the forefront of debate, and in particular raise questions about how those strongly opposed to the current state of immigration in Europe will react in the future. Commentators are worried that copycat vigilantes may also try to take the law into their own hands if governments do not properly address concerns surrounding these issues.

“If the twin attacks in Norway fail to trigger an honest discussion of the issue, exposing often scare-mongering arguments used by the extreme right, this may marginalize the radical groups and worsen the situation, which in turn could bring more similar attacks in the future,” said Lilit Gevorgyan, Europe Analyst at the HIS Global instinct think-tank.

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According to Gevorgyan, many people across Western and Eastern Europe are concerned with the issues of immigration and multiculturalism, and are frustrated by the lack of open debate. Some political parties in Nordic countries and other parts of Europe have fed on citizens’ concerns over the economic turmoil, as well as attacks from Islamic extremists, and blamed them on immigration policies.

European leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy have both declared their dissatisfaction for multiculturalism, recently stating that it has failed.

However, these type of statements do little to offer a solution to the concerns of Europeans with similar views, and often feed anger felt by many.

Some right-wing organizations have begun to speak out about the attacks carried out by Breivik. Right wing group, the Norwegian Progress Party, an organization Breivik was once a part of already has distanced itself from the tactics employed by Breivik.

“The horrible and cowardly attacks we’ve witnessed are contrary to the principals and values underpinning the Norwegian Society,” said the party’s leader Siv Jensen in a statement on Sunday.

The NPP advocates a restrictive immigration policy. Breivik left the group feeling they did not go far enough in representing his views according to Harald Stangehelle, political editor of Norway’s Aftenposten conservative newspaper.

The Sweden Democrats, a group Breivik linked himself to in his 1500-page manifesto, also expressed its disappointment with the recent attacks. Jimmie Akesson, the group’s leader called Breiviks actions “an attack on the entire democratic society.”

This group allegedly blames Muslims for many of society’s social ills.

Numerous commentators are now urging governments across Europe to deal more urgently with the issue of immigration and the perceived influence of multiculturalism across the continent. They warn to ignore the issues at this stage could allow things to get more out of control than it currently is.

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