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“2083 – A European Declaration of Independence” - An Analysis of Discourses from the Extreme

  • Högskolan Väst/ University West


This paper analyses three of the dominating discourses Anders Behring Breivik used in his compendium, the official title of which is 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence, also known as Breivik's Manifesto. It is believed Breivik posted his Manifesto on the Internet shortly before the attacks in Norway in July, 2011. The number 2083 stands for the year when the “Western European Civil War” was expected to be completed, all traitors executed, and all Muslims deported from Europe. This article will discuss dominating discourses in the Manifesto, seen from a background of a European multicultural backlash, in which the political far-right movement is increasing. Furthermore, this article will end with a discussion of education and the importance of analysis of such phenomena within different subjects.
Nordidactica Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education
2083 A European Declaration of Independence - An Analysis of Discourses from
the Extreme
Kerstin von Brömssen
Nordidactica 2013:1
ISSN 2000-9879
The online version of this paper can be found at:
- Journal of Humanities and Social
Science Education
ISSN 2000-9879
2013:1 12-33
2083 A European Declaration of
Independence - An Analysis of Discourses from
the Extreme
Kerstin von Brömssen
Abstract: This paper analyses three of the dominating discourses Anders
Behring Breivik used in his compendium, the official title of which is 2083 A
European Declaration of Independence, also known as Breivik's Manifesto. It is
believed Breivik posted his Manifesto on the Internet shortly before the attacks
in Norway in July, 2011. The number 2083 stands for the year when the
“Western European Civil War” was expected to be completed, all traitors
executed, and all Muslims deported from Europe. This article will discuss
dominating discourses in the Manifesto, seen from a background of a European
multicultural backlash, in which the political far-right movement is increasing.
Furthermore, this article will end with a discussion of education and the
importance of analysis of such phenomena within different subjects.
About the author: Kerstin von Brömssen. Ph.d. She is a Senior Lecturer at the
Department for Literature, History of Ideas and Religion at University of Gothenburg,
Sweden. Her main research area is comparative religious studies and religious
education; especially intersections of religion, gender, class and ethnicity, as well as
teaching and learning and social justice in education.
Kerstin von Brömssen
The July 22, 2011, terror attacks in Oslo and on Utøya Island in Norway shocked
the world. A car bomb was detonated outside the offices housing the central
government, killing eight people. Meanwhile, at the Labour Party (AUF) youth camp
on Utøya Island, 69 people, mostly teens, were brutally massacred, some shot directly
in the face. An additional 41 were wounded, 18 of them severely.
The perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, was a 32-year-old, right-wing, anti-
Muslim extremist. Questions were asked how these events could have taken place in
Norway, consistently one of the highest-ranking countries in cross-national surveys
measuring trust and/or civic engagement in the past 30 years (Wollebæck et al.,
2012:3233). Some people concluded early on that Breivik was insane, while others
claimed that he belonged to a growing extremist right wing, so his ideology made him
a terrorist (cf. Gardell, 2011a:259266).
In the trial that followed, the issue of Breivik’s state of mind was very much
debated among different experts, but it was concluded that Breivik was not insane, but
motivated by right-wing extremism (Måseeide, 2012; Gardell, 2011a:267). As Gardell
writes: “Far from being an isolated exception to political traditions in Scandinavian
societies, the murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, was clearly a product of a political
milieu that has been growing for decades” (2011b).
A horrible sign of Breivik’s imagination was that one of his main aims was to
assassinate former Norwegian Social Democratic Politician and Prime Minister Gro
Harlem Bruntland, who was visiting the youth camp. According to Storm
Borchgrevink, Breivik’s plan was to behead her in the same way as had been shown
on videos from Al-Qaida, read a prewritten text, and upload the video to the Internet
to instil fear in people (2012:127130, 240). However, Harlem Brundtland left the
island a couple of hours before Breivik arrived, as he was delayed.
Breivik articulated a high level of aggression and hatred in his document. “It is the
motor in the document,” as Storm Borchgrevink notes (2012:233). The hatred was
especially articulated in the latter part of the compendium (Breivik, 2011:7761505).
It seems as if Breivik became more radicalised while writing the compendium (cf.
Sørensen, 2012:366, note 5). The hatred was directed against multiculturalism Norway
and Europe, women and feminism, and what Breivik perceived as political
correctness. As both Gardell and Storm Borchgrevink notes, Breivik himself was not a
great ideologue (Gardell, 2011a). “It seems as if he gets lost in the religion section”
Storm Borchgrevink writes (2012:234). Thus, Breivik acted as “a shopper,” buying
packages of ideological positions from different hatred environments that existed on
the Internet (Storm Borchgrevink, 2012:234).
Kerstin von Brömssen
After several investigations, Breivik was judged sound and sentenced to 21 years’
Interestingly, Breivik later stated in court that the Norwegian people
ought to be thankful to him, as his aim was to save Norway and Europe. In other
words, he wanted to wipe out the next generation of Labour Party leaders to stop
further disintegration of Nordic and European culture due to the mass immigration of
Muslims, the feminist movement, and the multicultural movement.
Breivik’s ideological thinking, or rather “shopping” from the Internet, is laid down
in the document 2083 A European Declaration of Independence. It is believed that
Breivik sent this text, also know as Breivik’s Manifesto to 1,003 counter-jihadists and
right-wing extremists through Europe on the Internet, shortly before he accomplished
the attacks. The compendium (written in English) was also published in a 12-minute
summarized version on YouTube, but was soon taken down.
Discourses in the Manifesto
This article will analyse three dominating discourses in Breivik’s compendium,
drawing on critical discourse analysis (Wodak & Krzyzanowski, 2008). Discourses
are defined systems of meaning that establish relationships between identities,
practices and objects, as well as provide positions with which individuals can identify
(Davies & Harré, 1990). Every discourse builds on existing and stable structures of
meaning in society, and can thus be understood as “institutionalized use of language”
(Davies & Harré, 1990: 262). Discourses are embedded in power relationships, and
create distinctive dominating and subordinated themes on how to interpret the world,
as people collectively draw on this “language in use” when organising practices
(Wetherell, 2001:14-28). Critical discourse analysis consists of various approaches,
but is fundamentally characterised by “considerations of the relationship between
discourse, power, dominance, [and] social inequality” (van Dijk, 1993:249; cf.
Cromdal et al., 2009:21) and thus suited as a tool for analysing a text such as
Breivik’s text articulates three dominating discourses, drawing on language about
multicultural Europe, feminism and Islam. It constructs an inconceivably racist and
xenophobic world view. These discourses, complemented by some analysis of
Breivik’s writings on education, will be discussed in the light of a growing
racist/Islamophobic, far right-wing political climate in Europe. However, such
discourses are not only used by right-wing extremists, but also by political parties and
organisations (Esposito & Kalin, 2011), “often to keep voters from drifting away”
(Wodak, 2011:1).
Svenska Dagbladet (2012-08-24).
direktrapport_7443388.svd [Online 130221]. There was a forensic and legal struggle over
Breivik’s mental status.
Kerstin von Brömssen
Most of the far right-wing extremist ideas have long historical roots, twisted to fit
into the present world. Thus, let us turn toward the debate concerning an increasing
multicultural Europe and the backlash of this condition.
Backlash of Multicultural Europe
In October 2010, Angela Merkel attracted attention with statements about the
multicultural society’s failure in Germany.
According to Merkel, the country had
made significant efforts to integrate immigrants, but had failed. She wanted to see
stricter requirements on immigrants Merkel said in an interview with the BBC: “In the
beginning of the 60s’ we called foreign workers here and now they live in our country.
We did not think they would stay, but this was the case,”. Merkel continued: “Islam is
now a part of Germany.However, the media mostly ignored this statement (cf.
Emerson 2011:9).
It is possible to view Merkel’s talk as one of many statements currently articulated
in Europe about the multicultural society’s failure. In February 2011, even British
Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy joined in the
talk about the multicultural model’s failure (cf. Emerson 2011:9, Lodenius &
Wingborg, 2011:29). In 2006, the Daily Mail, one of the bigger newspapers in Britain,
wrote: “Multiculturalism is dead”.
The debate on integration issues has been
extensive, and sometimes rancorous, in Britain, Norway and Denmark (see Silj, 2010;
Vertovec & Wessendorf, 2010).
In the European political landscape since the 1990s, right-wing extremism and
populism have been established in Europe, partly triggering global anti-
multiculturalism discourses (Wodak, 2011:1; Wodak & Khosravinik, 2013:xvii-xxi).
This right-wing populism includes the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs/Austrian
Freedom Party (FPÖ), the Dutch Party For Freedom/Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV),
the Hungarian Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary), the French National Front/Le
Front National, the Danish Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party) and the British
National Party (BNP). These parties all received more than 10 per cent of the national
votes in the European Parliament election in June 2009.
Skinheads have perpetrated
horrific violence against immigrants in Germany and elsewhere, Anti-Semitic
activities have been reported in many countries of the former Soviet Union. These all
point to an increase in these parties and movements (Wodak & Khosravinik,
Angela Merkel’s appearance was available on YouTube, [Online 11-03-16], but has now been
taken down.
[Online 130511]
liamentelections [Online 130510]
Kerstin von Brömssen
2013:xvii). The same development was seen in Sweden with the
xenophobic/Islamophobic Sweden Democrats party, with ideological roots in racist
ideologies (Ekman & Poohl 2010). This party received 5.7 percent of the votes and 20
seats in the Swedish parliament for the first time in the 2010 election (Fryklund,
Merkel’s statements concerning the death of multiculturalism can be seen as a
weak articulation of the multicultural backlash attempting to capture voters. However,
stronger discourses and legal actions related to the security of the state were triggered
by the 9/11 attacks in the US (Fekete 2004; Hewitt 2012:289), even though
conservative intellectuals in both Europe and North America were already depicting
Islam, especially Islamic fundamentalism, as a threat to Western civilisation (Carr
The discourse on “war on terror” positions Muslims (whether settled or
immigrants) as “the enemy within,” drives xenoracism
or an anti-foreignness, and
promotes monoculturalism and assimilationist strategies throughout Europe. The
debate differs from country to country, but is always linked to immigrants, immigrant
communities. and multicultural policies, which are seen as threats to European “core
values,” cultural homogeneity and social cohesion (Fekete 2004:4, 18–19). The
Danish People’s Party work platform states:
Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not
accept transformation to a multi-ethnic society. Denmark belongs to the
Danes and its citizens must be able to live in a secure community founded on
the rule of law, which develops along the lines of Danish culture.”
The same underlying discourse echoes in the Sweden Democrats party platform:
We do not believe in the idea of a multicultural society because it is an
ideology that leads to fragmentation, isolation and segregation.
Multiculturalism is the idea that a state should be based on widely different
values reconciled with each other. We believe instead that we should stand
up to the West’s view of the values of democracy, equality, welfare and
human rights. These are the values we Sweden Democrats refuse to
compromise on.
In summary, research shows that right-wing parties and/or extremism is a growing
phenomenon in contemporary Europe and has been so for the past 20 years (Eatwell
See Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order
(1997), where he argues that future battle lines will be between the Islamic civilization and
the West. This narrative had many supporters, especially in the US among the likes of former
Vice President Dick Cheney, the after 9/11. It is now widely rejected as oversimplified and
naive. Breivik articulated this view in its extreme form in his Manifesto.
For a definition and statement on the concept of xenoracism, see Liz Fekete (2001), Institute
of Race Relations. [Online
[Online 130511]
8 [Online 130512]. My translation.
Kerstin von Brömssen
2003:4773; Hainsworth 2008:24-42; Lodenius & Wingborg, 2011; Taras, 2012:94).
Right-wing parties have advanced their positions in country after country (Betz &
Immerfall, 1998; Merkl & Weinberg, 1997; Merkl & Weinberg, 2003). The reasons
for this are usually explained by the rapidly changing European political and social
climate due to economic restructuring in the name of globalisation among the working
and lower classes, especially males. Therefore, males are seen as the most affected by
these changes, and who fuel the contemporary European radical right (Lodenius &
Wingborg, 2011:2528; Merkl & Weinberg, 1997:303). As a partial critique of this
dominating socio-economic thesis, Eatwell emphasises: The extreme right supporters
tend to be characterized by a combination of three factors, namely: growing
perceptions of ‘extremist’ legitimacy + rising personal efficacy + declining political
trust” (2003:49). Eatwell argues for a three-dimensional model, which focuses on the
micro- (individual), meso- (group) and macro- (national and international contexts)
levels (2003:4849) to explain the growth of the extreme right in contemporary
Europe. Some people point to other explaining factors, such as strong and charismatic
leadership, efficient party organisation, and the possibility to take advantage of
political structures (Hainsworth, 2008:43).
The World-wide Web, extremism and Breivik
After the Oslo bombings and Utøya massacre, extremism on the Internet became a
major issue (cf. Hale, 2012; Strømmen, 2011:6177). Hate groups are exploiting the
Internet for a variety of reasons. Hale summarizes the situation: Hate groups are
exploiting Internet technologies at an increasingly alarming rate” (2012:352). Just in
Germany, far-right groups run approximately 1,000 Web sites and 38 radio stations
(Fekete 2012:32).
When going through the material on right-wing extremism from the beginning of
2000, the Internet was hardly mentioned. Research mostly focused on Islam and
Islamic terrorism. Accordingly, research has focused on how young Muslim men have
gotten access through the Internet to propaganda films about the war in Afghanistan,
Iraq, and other war zones. The concept of “Generation Jihad” was coined (Strømmen,
2011: 62). However, right-wing extremists also use the Internet and there might be a
Generation Contrajihad,according to Strømmen (2011:62).
There were many signs that Breivik was radicalised via the Internet (Storm
Borchgrevink, 2012:154168; Strømmen 2001:67). He was a zealous online gamer,
and he could also meet likeminded individuals on blogs, Facebook, and discussion
groups (cf. Gardell, 2011a:266286; Hylland Eriksen, 2012:208; Storm Borchgrevink,
2012:164184), without being impugned on the Internet. Both Gardell (2011:267) and
Strømmen concludes that Breivik was the product of the contrajihadic milieus in
Europe and North America that has remerged on the Internet over the last several
years. He was “a loner from a flock,according to Strømmen (2011:32). Breivik
published his Manifesto on the Internet shortly before the attacks.
Kerstin von Brömssen
The Breivik compendium The Manifesto
Breivik‘s compendium, or Manifesto, is entitled 2083 A European Declaration of
Independence. De Laude Novae Militiae. Pauperes commilitiones Christi Templique
Solomonici. It is claimed to be written by Andrew Berwick, a Anglicised name that is
very similar to Anders Breivik. The document consists of 1,516 pages written in
English. However, Breivik claimed to have: “written approximately half of the
compendium myself. The rest is a compilation of works from several courageous
individuals throughout the world” (Breivik, 2011:5). The amount of Breivik’s own
writing seems slightly exaggerated. Barely half of the text, or perhaps only as little as
5 percent appears to have been written by him. Sometimes there are references to
authors, yet other times not (cf. Gardell, 2011:268). The subtitle of the compendium is
taken from a text with the same title written by Fjordman
(Gardell, 2011: 267), who
figured as mentor in the paper’s development for Breivik (Storm Borchgrevink,
The introduction was signed by Breivik with the description: “Justiciar Knight
Commander for Knights Templar Europe and one of several leaders of the National
and Pan-European Patriotic Resistance Movement” (Breivik, 2011:9). Breivik later
declared that he belonged to an underground group called the Knights Templar
Europe,” which is still unknown and was probably just a self-invented organisation
(cf. Gardell, 2011:283; Strømmen 2011:27). The number 2083 represents the year
when the “Western European Civil War” was expected to be completed, all traitors
executed, and all Muslims deported: “The Western European cultural
Marxist/multiculturalist regimes will fall before 2083, of that you can be certain”
(Breivik, 2011:802).
Most of the Manifesto is portions, or even sometimes complete texts, by several
authors from conservative, right-wing, anti-jihadist, antifeminist milieus (cf. Gardell,
2011:268270). A minor part at the end of the compendium contains diary notes from
as early as 2002 about Breivik’s own daily work. There are examples of how he
prepared the attacks, the bomb, and how he trained to shoot. He also mentions the use
of steroids claiming: “You should really consider using steroids to reach your goal...
Using stimulants can increase, not only your motivation but your agility, speed,
strength and endurance by up to 200% depending on your current foundation”
(Breivik, 2011:892). Breivik told in court about how he used drugs the weeks before
to train his body, as well as right before the attacks. However, these topics are rather
marginal in the compendium, where dominant discourses drew on anti-multicultural,
anti-feminist, anti-Islamic standpoints. These themes will be discussed below.
The writings by Fjordman, or Norwegian Peder Nøstvold Jensen, started as a reaction to 9/11,
and he became a well-known profile on the Internet with a strong anti-Muslim, anti-jihadist,
image (Gardell, 2011a:267268).
Kerstin von Brömssen
Anti-Multicultural Discourses
What did Breivik mean by the concept of “multiculturalism”? There are many
definitions and standpoints in use, and it not a very simple concept to explain (von
Brömssen 2012; Johansson Heinö 2009; Lodenius & Wingborg 2011:29). Breivik’s
Manifesto calls multiculturalism cultural Marxism:
Multiculturalists/cultural Marxists usually operate under the disguise of
humanism. A majority are anti-nationalists and want to deconstruct
European identity, traditions, culture and even nation states (Breivik,
Breivik’s discourses on multiculturalism are drawn from the counter-jihadist
and activists, where cultural Marxism is seen as the basis for the ongoing
Islamic colonisation of Europe:
Multiculturalism (cultural Marxism/political correctness), as you might
know, is the root cause of the ongoing Islamisation of Europe, which has
resulted in the ongoing Islamic colonisation of Europe through demographic
warfare (facilitated by our own leaders) (Breivik, 2011:9).
In order to stop the Islamisation of Europe, the political doctrines of
multiculturalism/cultural Marxism must be removed, according to Breivik. As do
other activists in the counter-jihadist movement, Breivik makes a cultural hierarchy
and places European culture at the top. He also argues that cultures should not blend.
Breivik blames multiculturalism for deceiving people, and being a tool for the elite
and a “hate ideology disguised as tolerance”:
Multiculturalism is wrong because not all cultures are equal. However, it is
also championed by groups with a hidden agenda. Multiculturalism serves
as a tool for ruling elites to fool people, to keep them from knowing that they
have lost, or deliberately vacated, control over national borders. Leftists
who dislike Western civilisation use multiculturalism to undermine it, a hate
ideology disguised as tolerance. Multiculturalism equals the unilateral
destruction of Western culture, the only unilateral action the West is allowed
to take, according to some (Breivik, 2011:332).
In Breivik’s view, multiculturalism is connected to what he calls the doctrine of
political correctness. Breivik states that this ideology has taken over Western Europe
and “controls language” (Breivik, 2011:13). Furthermore, it is Marxism translated into
cultural terms:
Cf. Lagerlöf, Leman & Bengtsson (2011) Expo Research report 2011:1 for accessible texts
about the anti-Muslim environment, ideas and concepts.
antimuslimska-miljon-ideerna-profilerna-och-begreppen-SLUTVERSION1.2.pdf [Online
130317], as well as on the counter-jihad movement: Hannus, M. (2012) Counterjihadrörelsen
- en del av den antimuslimska miljön.
_2012.pdf [Online 130511]
Kerstin von Brömssen
The Frankfurt School blended Marx with Freud, and later influences (some
Fascist, as well as Marxist) added linguistics to create “Critical Theory”
and “deconstruction.” These in turn greatly influenced education theory,
and through institutions of higher education gave birth to what we now call
“Political Correctness.” The lineage is clear, and it is traceable right back
to Karl Marx (Breivik, 2011:13).
Breivik compiled many texts in the first part of the document, which discuss the
concepts of political correctness and cultural Marxism. It asserts that there have been
major efforts to impose multiculturalism and political correctness, such as through a
“systematic restructuring of the curriculum so as to hinder students from learning
about the Western tradition” (Breivik, 2011:24). In his view, education theory was
influenced by multiculturalism and political correctness, which has led to “freedom of
speech, of the press, and even of thought [being] eliminated”:
[...] now looms over Western European society like a colossus. It has taken
over both political wings, left and right [...] It controls the most powerful
element in our culture, the media and entertainment industry. It dominates
both public and higher education: Many a college campus is a small, ivy-
covered North Korea. It has even captured the higher clergy in many
Christian churches. Anyone in the Establishment who departs from its
dictates swiftly ceases to be a member of the Establishment (Breivik,
He claims that critical theorists, such as Marx, Freud, Lukacs, Gramsci, Reich,
Fromm and Derrida, as well as feminism, postcolonial theory, and queer theory will
“destroy fundamental structures of European society” (Breivik, 2011:31). The
question is if Breivik has ever read these theorists (cf. Gardell, 2011: 272). There are
no indications as such, but that extensive text passages have been copied.
Breivik draws his argument from a strong vision of monoculturalism, usually
articulated in radical conservative and cultural conservative circles such as the new
far right in Europe (Pelinka, 2013:10). It includes a desire for homogeneous cultures
and nations, and a homogenous and essentialist white and Christian Europe.
Anti-feminist Discourses
Breivik states that feminism is the most prominent aspect of political correctness in
Western European life today and nominates “radical feminism as ‘the most destructive
and fanatical’ element of this modern liberalism” (Breivik, 2011:31). The feminist
ideology goes together with the “social revolution” by cultural
Marxists/multiculturalists. The feminism that Breivik favours female superiority,
keeping men in line through affirmative action and charges of sexual harassment
(Breivik, 2011:28). He views feminism as obnoxious, against nature, and contributing
to the disruption of the nuclear family. As fewer European children are born, it will be
Kerstin von Brömssen
easier for Muslims to take over, and thus lead to a real subordination of women. Much
of Breivik’s anti-feminist writings are quoted from Fjordman:
It must be said that radical feminism has been one of the most important
causes of the current weakness of Western civilisation, both culturally and
demographically. Feminists, often with a Marxist world view, have been a
crucial component in establishing the suffocating public censorship of
Political Correctness in Western nations. They have also severely weakened
the Western family structure, and contributed to making the West too soft
and self-loathing to deal with aggression from Muslims (Fjordman in
Breivik, 2011:351).
Accordingly, there are strong anti-feminist discourses throughout the document,
which draw on a conservative ideology underlining biological differences between
men and women. Once again, Breiviks obsession with critiquing and blaming the
Frankfurt School is evident:
Children are not to be raised according to their biological genders and
gender roles according to their biological differences. This reflects the
Frankfurt School rationale for the disintegration of the traditional family
(Breivik, 2011:30).
Breivik argues that feminism has resulted in disruptions to previous norms in the
European society, which is seen as detrimental to traditional values or conservative
religious beliefs:
Ladies should be wives and homemakers, not cops or soldiers, and men
should still hold doors open for ladies. Children should not be born out of
wedlock. Glorification of homosexuality should be shunned (Breivik,
In Breiviks view, women’s sexual liberation allowed the takeover of the West. If
women gave birth to more children, there would not be the same threat. Therefore,
measures should be taken to give the man his rightful place as head of the family and
society, and ensure a growing birth rate (Breivik, 2011:11501153, 1171). According
to Breivik, the solution is to regain control of women’s sexuality, ban abortion and
contraception, and greatly reduce the possibility of divorce. The custody of children
shall automatically be given to the father. Furthermore, women should be prevented
from higher education and from full-time work if they have more than one child
(Breivik, 2011:11711184). Thus, Breivik draws on very conservative, essentilised
discourses on gender issues grounded in biological differences.
Breivik draws extensively on blog-texts from Fjordman, which is a pseudonym for Peder
Are Nøstvold Jensen, a far-right, Islamophobic blogger. Cf. Strømmen & Indregard (2012:
Kerstin von Brömssen
Anti-Islamic Discourses
Breivik’s strongest and most articulated discourses are anti-Islamic. His document
contains “topics related to historical events and aspects of past and current Islamic
Imperialism” (Breivik, 2011:44), which he claims have been removed and falsified by
the cultural Marxist elite in Western universities. Thus, the compendium is deeply
embedded in anti-Islamic discourses, to a lesser extent written by Breivik himself,
but copied from many in the far-right movement, such as Robert Spencer, Andrew
Bostom, Steven Emerson and “Fjordman” (Gardell, 2011a: 269270).
According to Breivik, the West has been in conflict with the Muslim world for the
past 1,400 years, as Muslims are trying to eradicate Christian Europe through Islamic
imperialism. There is “the ongoing Islamic colonisation of Europe; yet, they DO NOT
have the permission of the European peoples to implement these doctrines,” (Breivik,
2011:4). Thus, Europe has secretly been overtaken by Muslims. Breivik acted on July
2011 because of this, calling himself “The Knight Commander for Knights Templar
The Islamisation of Europe, according to Breivik, will be implemented through
mass immigration and demographic warfare as Europe is “completely
demographically overwhelmed by Muslims” (Breivik, 2011:9). This will lead to future
enslavement of the European countries by the Islamic majority (Breivik, 2011:9, 44).
Breivik views Islam as a religion of killing, torture, and enslavement, particularly
motivated by the jihadist ideology (Breivik, 2011:39). Overall, Breivik’s compendium
acts as a megaphone for Islamophobic discourses in Europe (cf. Taras 2012), of which
the Eurabian literature that I will discuss in the following section is part.
The Eurabian literature
In Breivik’s construction of the world, he is strongly influenced by what is usually
called the “Eurabian literature” and the conspiracy theory articulated within this genre.
Eurabian literature consists of well-known writers such as Bat Ye’Or and Oriana
Fallaci, but there are many writers and proponents within the genre. Some of the more
well-known works and and their authors are Londonistan: How Britain is Creating
a Terror State Within by Melaine Phillips; The Last Days of Europe. Epitah for
an Old Continent by Walter Laqueur; While Europe Slept. How Radical Islam
is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer; and America Alone: The
End of the World as we Know It and After America. Get Ready for
Armageddon, both by Mark Steyn. There are also numerous films, vidoes, DVs and
YouTube clips that articulate the Eurabian discourse (Sander, 2011: 193). The
Eurabian theories are much used within Anti-Muslim, right-wing discourses in both
Europe and the US.
The Egyptian-born, British-Swiss historian Bat Ye’Or (Hebrew for ”Daughter of
the Nile and pseudonym of Gisèle Littman) is one of the largest influences on
Kerstin von Brömssen
Eurabian literature (cf. Taras, 2012:198200; Strømmen & Indregard, 2012:2230).
Her most well-known book is Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (2005)
, but she is also
the author of Islam and Dhummitude: Where Civilisations Collide (2002), The
Decline of Eastern Christianity: From Jihad to Dhimmitude: Seventh-twentieth
Century (1996) and many other works.
Her 2005 book first used the term Eurabia,” from which the genre got its name.
Ye’Or’s main arguments are grounded in a belief that a number of European
politicians made a secret agreement with the Arab League after the 1973 oil crisis to
hinder American impact on Europe (Carr, 2006; Taras, 2012:198). This agreement, or
the Euro-Arabic Dialogue (EAD), was in the eyes of Ye'Or the “deux ex machina by
means of which European politicians and civil servants willingly prepared for the
subjugation of Europe” (Carr 2006:6, italics in the original text). The result of the
agreement is an ongoing, extensive transformation of Europe through immigration
(often articulated as “mass immigration”), where Muslims have prepared foundations
for jihad in many cities (Ye’Or, 2005). Ye’Or also claims that the educational system
was Islamified by allowing textbooks to be rewritten and transformed and allowing
university teachings on Middle Eastern and Islamic history, thus conforming Europe
to an Arab-Muslim worldview (2005:253, 256). The concept of dhimmitude is
fundamental in Ye’Or’s analysis. “Dhimmi refers to the non-Muslim subject of an
Islamic state and is a keystone in her formulations and theories (Ye’Or, 2005:190–
208). The living conditions under Muslim rule have always been humiliating and
uncertain, Ye'Or claims. Breivik cites many of Ye’Or’s and Fjordman’s works, along
with several other writers drawing on the Eurabian theory (Breivik, 2011:287314).
Italian journalist and writer Oriana Fallaci is another figure in Eurabian literature.
In her work The Rage and the Pride (2002), she writes:
Don’t you see that all these Ousama Bin Ladens consider themselves
authorized to kill you and your children because you drink alcohol, because
you don’t grow the long beard and refuse the chador or the burkah, because
you go to the theatre and to the movies, because you love music and sing a
song, because you dance and watch television, because you wear the
miniskirt or the shorts, because on the beach and by the swimming pool you
sunbathe almost naked or naked, because you make love when you want and
with whom you want, or because you don’t believe in God?!? I am an
atheist, thank God. And I have no intention of being punished for this by
retrograde bigots who, instead of contributing to the improvement of
humanity, salaam and squawk prayers five times a day (Fallaci, 2002:84
Fallaci provides an extremely dichotomist view of the world, where Islam and
Muslims are stereotyped and simplified. Much of the Eurabian literature has a tone
Ye’Or can be viewed on several links on YouTube: and where she discusses the so called Eurabia-
theory and what she thinks should be done [Retrieved 130221].
Kerstin von Brömssen
like this, even though Fallaci seems to be outrageous. Breivik also mentions and cites
Fallaci (2011:351, 529, 634).
Eurabian literature claims that the Euro-Arabic dialogue network has infiltrated
and reached all European influential sectors, such as political parties, media, the
financial sector, and the intelligentsia (cf. Gardell, 2011:206; Sander, 2011:193).
Therefore, Europe will soon be subsumed under Islam and Muslim sharia laws.
Europe is also depicted as old, tired, decadent, spiritually weakened, and slowly dying
because of the apathy of its own native people (cf. Ye’Or, 2005:268). Accordingly,
one of the great threats to Europe is the Muslim fertility rate, leading to an Islamic
take-over of Europe (cf. Carr, 2006:1516; Larsson, 2012:142165). All the fertility
data in the Eurabian literature is highly overestimated, although these sorts of
predictions are very difficult to do.
The mendacious Eurabian conspiracy theory, and the genre that it has created,
build on large, reductionist stereotyping of Islam and Muslims, creating a sharp
dichotomy between us and them. Muslims are seen as ignorant, uncivilized, and
unable to live with and understand Western norms and values. Islam is treated as the
same phenomenon since the year 610, never being able to change. Jihad is a central
element. Thus, all Muslims are the same and strive to forcibly establish a totalitarian
dictatorship (Gardell, 2011:207). The Eurabian writers claim that the third Islamic
conquest attempt is here and is the same threat to Europe as it was in 732 and during
the 1400's (cf. Gardell, 2011:271; Sander, 2011:193194).
Why should European leaders plan for a scenario where Islam and a radicalised
Islamic population dominate and take over Europe? The Eurabian literature has
several answers, but first is to undermine the power of Israel and the US (cf. Carr,
2009:78; Gardell, 2011a:206), which is the goal for the construction of the Euro-
Arab Axis (Ye’Or, 2005). In exchange for peace, oil, and new markets, the EEC
decided to sell off the continent’s political and cultural soul, and so has uniquely
adapted to Islam. Ye’Or describes this as “the New European civilization” which is a
“civilization of dhimmitude” (2005:9).
The Eurabian genre and its assertions are nothing but “flat-out barking gibberish,”
as Carr categorises them (2006:7). They are built on views of Islam as homogeneous,
never changing, barbaric, and violent. “Islam becomes constructed as the exact reverse
of European democracy,” as Taras points out (2012:121). Furthermore, the Eurabian
conspiracy theory has similarities to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as in The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This document built the myth of a Jewish world
conspiracy, claiming that a Jewish secret society was going to dominate the world
(Gardell, 2011:204205; Hasian 1997:195214).
As Hasian convincingly shows, conspiracy theories build on fragments and
selective interpretations of historical moments, thus overlooking the complexities of
historical, political, social, and economic factors. Instead, these factors are fabricated
For critical discussions on the issue of census numbers and the “demographic bomb,” see
Larsson (2012) and also Carr (2006:1517).
Kerstin von Brömssen
and altered to provide an orderly explanation of events (Hasian, 1997:209).
Conspiracy theories build on a strong belief that processes which have nothing to do
with each other are actually linked. Thus, there is a hidden agenda that can be
revealed. Furthermore, the underlying people or networks are given great power to
manipulate (Knight, 2000). These features are all seen in the Eurabian genre.
Breivik extensively draws on this Eurabian genre and its conspiracy theories,
which all belong to contemporary anti-Muslim and Islamophobic discourses. For
example, Ye’Or is referred to as “perhaps the leading expert on the Islamic institution
of dhimmitude” (Breivik, 2011:61) and “the leading scholar of Islam’s expansion”
(Breivik, 2011:91). Overall, Breivik cited many dubious experts on Islam, which is,
not surprisingly, a characteristic for the Islamophobic genre as a whole (cf. Carr,
Breivik and education
Breivik views the 1950s as a golden era, where everything seemed idyllic and
Most European look back on the 1950s as a good time. Our homes were
safe, to the point where many people did not bother to lock their doors.
Public schools were generally excellent, and their problems were things like
talking in the class and running in the halls. Most men treated women like
ladies, and most ladies devoted their time and effort to making good homes,
rearing their children well and helping their communities through volunteer
work. Children grew up in two-parent households, and the mother was there
to meet the child when he came home from school. Entertainment was
something the whole family could enjoy (Breivik, 2011: 19).
This is a very naive, simplistic and infantile view of society. Breiviks idea was
that this golden era has come to an end due to the ideologies of cultural Marxism that
declared the doctrine of political correctness and the multicultural movement. Breivik
particularly accuses higher education of restricting the freedom to articulate and
discuss ideas, especially in the curriculum. The multicultural movement encourages
students to take on cultural relativist ideas (Breivik 2011:1832). Breivik states that
“multiculturalism involves the systematic restructuring of the curriculum so as to
hinder students from learning about the Western tradition,” that “the essence of
multiculturalism is that all cultures and religions are ‘equal,’” (Breivik, 2012:46) and
that “multiculturalism is an anti-European/Christian hate ideology designed to
exterminate European identities, our cultures/traditions and European nation states”
(Breivik, 2011:1134). Particularly disturbing to him is that this multicultural
movement has been established at many elite universities, such as Stanford. Due to the
multicultural movement, universities have become places for political indoctrination
instead of critical thinking (Breivik, 2011:31).
Although Breivik positions himself as a Christian, he is not particularly religious.
He writes: “I am 100% Christian,,” but also “moderately Christian” (2011:1404, 1398;
cf. Gardell, 2011:280). He predicts both the Catholic and the Protestant Churchs’
Kerstin von Brömssen
destruction as “they embrace the ongoing interfaith dialogue and the appeasement of
Islam” (Breivik, 2011:1404).
In one section of the document headed Future Western European educational
systems” Breivik advocates gender-segregated schools, school uniforms, a focus on
excellence instead of mediocrity, and increased discipline including the possibility to
use physical methods (Breivik, 2011:12001201).
Breivik is a lonely man utterly out
of time who gave himself a voice.
However, he is not totally alone. Breivik articulates discourses belonging to the far
right-wing, extreme or populist parties in Europe. These movements are not
characterised by a strong organisational structure, but are rather single-issue oriented.
As Pelinka writes: “They have a very defensive agenda, the preservation of status quo,
or the status quo ante as it was before mass migration, Europeanization and
globalization started to challenge the nation state” (Pelinka, 2013:10). This is very
clear in Breivik’s Manifesto. His fight is against today’s open, democratic, diverse
society. As we have seen, his position against multiculturalism is not that extreme in
Europe. What made him different was his murderous actions. Unlike most other
advocates of this ideology, he also turned to violence and became a domestic terrorist.
Challenging educational perspectives: Toward the future
We live in an age of globalisation, where overarching power relations and
individual identity processes are highly influenced by phenomena linked to a changing
political and social climate in Europe (Castells, 2010). Globalisation has extended and
intensified relations across regions, national borders and continents, challenging
structures and identities within nation states. Castells notes: “Our world and our lives
are being shaped by the conflicting trends of globalization and identity” and states “it
is indeed, brave or not, a new world” (2010:1–2).
However, not everyone reacts positively to the challenges of globalisation. There
are multiple such responses to globalisation in the name of God, nation, ethnicity,
family or locality. Most of these are on the Internet (Castells, 2010), articulating
discursive constructions already in place within the local cultural landscape, and most
are not new. Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have long, deep historical roots
(Esposito & Kalin, 2011:xxii; Taras, 2012:109). Furthermore, Islamophobic cultural
discourses in the Western world today have taken the place of earlier biologic racism.
Thus, we can see how old, discursive structures in European societies open up for new
discussions of societal issues in a racist way (cf. Gardell, 2011:7883).
The spaces where and how education is taking place are also being radically
challenged and transformed (Brooks et al., 2012:1; OECD, 2013:1936). Formal
education in schools still plays a major role and is challenged in its own way.
Breivik gives the address for his educational conclusions as:
715092.shtml The server for this is not found [130224].
Kerstin von Brömssen
However, as seen in Breivik’s case, learning can also take place alone in front of a
computer. Without teachers or friends to challenge or discuss his ideas, Breivik turned
into Andrew Berwick and became a member of the Ancient Order of the Knights
Templar. Thus, Breivik was a “shopper” of anti-global reactions on the Internet, in the
form of anti-jihadist, Islamophobic discourses, such as those against Islam, Muslims,
the women’s rights movement, and a multicultural world.
New learning spaces are discussed in the literature (Brooks et al., 2012:1314),
often as issues of democratised learning, equal access, and the growth of an
educational and private service sector. However, we also need to discuss content and
knowledge constructions from the far right and the forming of anti-democratic
movements. This need also stretches into the Internet (cf. Al-Shaik-Ali, 2011:143
172). The Ministry of Justice in Sweden also discuss the importance of these issues,
where it is stated that there is a pressing need to address far-right extremism at the
European level (2012).
As schools and education are instrumental in developing and continuing discussion
on democratic values and norms laid down in the National Curricula, we need to work
on progressive values in line with a multi-/intercultural, human rights curriculum and
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... Such ideologies can be viewed as global systems of power relations and played out within political and ideological struggles locally (Murji & Solomos, 2015). Thus, racism does not occur in a vacuum; it is shaped by the changing structures of power conflicts and ideologies in the larger surrounding society, thus shifting and appearing in new forms such as anti-Muslim racism in Sweden and in Europe (von Brömssen, 2008;Mulinari & Neergaard, 2012). It is also important to emphasize that race and racism, in my understanding and also in broader scholarly understanding, are social constructs; that is, 'social inventions' and a 'biological fiction' acted out by people on societal arenas (Delpit, 1995(Delpit, /2006cf. ...
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Research about race and racism(s) has helped to explain power relations and differences in education. However, it has been difficult to have a theoretical lens using the concept of race and racism(s) accepted in areas of education, as well as in educational research in Sweden. Issues formulated in terms of race and racism(s) are controversial and there is strong resistance to talk about race. This article provides an overview of research in education using the concepts of race, racism(s), and/or racialization in Sweden after World War II. The aim is to investigate educational research where these concepts come into use, how this research is framed, the findings of the studies, as well as nuances and tendencies in educational research using the concept of race. The article locates the historical view of the concept of race and its use in Sweden and argues that the history and unresolved political issues around eugenics and race come into play and contribute to the hesitation and avoidance of the use of the concept.
... Norwegian man Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb outside a government building killing eight, before traveling to Utøya island dressed as a police officer where he murdered sixty-nine Labor Party youth camp members, most of whom were teenagers. 120 In terms of his tactics, Breivik denounced the connectedness of terrorist groups, and emphasized the importance of conducting attacks alone, in order to maximize efficacy. 121 Therefore, it would have been expected that in contrast to Tarrant and Osborne, no links would be found. ...
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... This, however, is the only quotation from Revelation found in the entire 1,518 pages of Breivik's work; the biblical book is quoted as often as the poems of Tennyson. Such simplistic claims obscure a far more complex range of discourses evident in Breivik's text (Brömssen, 2013;Sandberg, 2015) and the multiple explanations for that act of terrorism (e.g. Ranstorp, 2013;Gardell, 2014;Hemmingby and Bjørgo, 2016). ...
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The purpose of this article is analysis of discursive marginalisation through education in Nordic welfare states. What knowledge do Nordic research discourses produce about marginalisation through education in Nordic welfare states? What are the Nordic contributions to research discourses on marginalisation through education? We apply a discourse theoretical approach and analyse 109 peer-reviewed publications on marginalisation by the Nordic Centre of Excellence “Justice through education in the Nordic countries” (NCoE JustEd) between 2013 and 2017. The publications are from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. Four critical Nordic research discourses reconceptualise marginalisation in relation to dominant educational discourses on marketisation, Eurocentrism, gender equity and ableism. These Nordic research discourses document discursive effects of the dominant, normalising discourses in terms of stigma, segregation and exclusion of poor, working-class students, non-white and immigrant students and descendants of immigrants, as well as sexual minorities and disabled students. Based on ethical, epistemological and methodological considerations, the critical Nordic research discourses produce knowledge about marginalisation as a relational, intersectional and interdiscursive phenomenon. The critical Nordic research discourses de- and reconstruct knowledge about marginalisation in Nordic welfare states.
Following the July 22, 2011, Oslo bombing and shootings at the Utøya youth camp Norway became embroiled in a conflict over commemorative ethics. The memorial initially selected in an international contest, Memory Wound by Jonas Dahlgren, drew opposition from victims’ families and local residents for its severe impact on the natural landscape. Plans for installation were cancelled in 2017. This controversy, we submit, must be contextualized in relation to the Norwegian justice system’s handling of Anders Breivik, the perpetrator whose criminal proceedings were kept relatively secluded. We demonstrate how the design of Memory Wound and the suppression of Breivik’s publicity reflect a symbolic logic traceable to a national imaginary of Norwegian exceptionalism. By interpretively aligning the use of negative space in Memory Wound with the muting of Breivik as a media event, we investigate the prescriptive force of symbols to inculcate world views. Specifically, we attend to the foreclosure of “prosthetic memory,” which through media circulation allows people to engage with memory that is not primarily theirs. We acknowledge the possibility of empathy across difference that Landsberg ascribes to prosthetic memory; however, we insist that the circumstances under which solidarity might be rejected must be considered. With a dual case study, we offer a perspective on enduring assumptions about cultural identity and the rise of rightwing extremism in Northern Europe.
Når terror ties i hjel En diskusjon om 22. juli og demokratisk medborgerskap i skolen Hva har demokratisk medborgerskap med 22. juli å gjøre? I denne artikkelen ser vi naermere på spørsmålet gjennom en diskusjon av skolens rolle i etterkant av terrorhandlinge-ne som rammet Norge sommeren 2011. Artikkelen er basert på en kvalitativ undersøkelse blant elever i videre-gående skoler. Vi drøfter elevenes oppfatninger av 22. juli og hva som har blitt gjort i skolen i lys av begrepet demo-kratisk medborgerskap. Studien ser på skolens rolle gene-relt, men har samtidig et saerlig blikk på fellesfaget Religion og etikk. Innledning Under terrorangrepene 22. juli ble 77 mennesker drept og mange flere såret. De fleste av ofrene var ungdom som deltok på AUFs årli-ge sommerleir på Utøya. Gjerningsmannen Anders Behring Breivik angrep den norske regjeringen og Arbeiderpartiets ungdomsorga-nisasjon med mål om å svekke det norske sosialdemokratiet. An-grepet var dermed ikke bare et fysisk, men også et symbolsk angrep på demokratiet og på demokratiske verdier. I etterkant er 22. juli blitt et komplekst begrep som rommer alt fra Breiviks motiver og handlinger til folkets reaksjoner og sorgprosesser i ettertid. I artikkelen presenterer og drøfter vi ungdoms oppfatninger av hva skolen gjorde i etterkant av 22.juli. Vi bygger på en kvalitativ spørreundersøkelse besvart av elever ved seks videregående skoler. 1,2 Undersøkelsen viser at elevene i liten grad har fått anledning til å arbeide med 22. juli-tematikker i skolen. Ifølge elevene har verken Breiviks handlinger, ideologi, motiver eller bakgrunn vaert behand-Trine Anker Førsteamanuensis i religions-vitenskap og programleder for lektorprogrammet ved Det teologiske Menighetsfakultet Marie von der Lippe Førsteamanuensis i religions-vitenskap ved Universitetet i Bergen og underviser i reli-gionsdidaktikk på lektor-programmet og praktisk pedagogisk utdanning (PPU)
In this chapter, we present how controversial issues are handled in Religious Education (RE) in Norway. The topic of controversial issues in education is part of a growing academic interest internationally, and several recent studies have shown a tendency for controversial issues to be avoided in the classroom. With a specific focus on the terrorist attacks that hit Norway in 2011, we present how teachers of Religious Education have dealt with religious or ideological motivated terrorism in their teaching. The study is based on in-depth interviews with teachers in upper secondary schools.
In 2011, a Norwegian right-wing extremist killed 77 mostly young people in an attack on proponents of multiculturalism. A critical event of this magnitude is important in a nation’s collective memory. For young people’s political socialization and value orientation, it could be crucial. Adolescents’ memories and interpretations of terrorism are an understudied area. On the basis of different memory narratives among ethnic Norwegian adolescents, who were 13 or 14 in 2011, implications of the attacks, seen as a case of collective memory formation of terrorism, are discussed in terms of how young people remember and interpret the attacks and negotiate between competing narratives. Focus group interviews conducted in 2015–2016 with 18-year-olds showed a marked tension between support for democratic values and numerous references to individuals and organizations having critical views on immigration and diversity and the importance of active agents promoting the conflicting narratives.
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Artikkelen gir et overblikk over hvordan nyere nordisk religionsdidaktisk forskning har nærmet seg spørsmål om mangfoldets utfordringer og muligheter. Overblikket baseres på analyse av doktoravhandlinger, noen forskningsprosjekter og en del artikler. Det spørres om hvordan forskningen beskriver religions- og livssynsmangfoldet, hvilke religionsdidaktiske utfordringer den mener mangfoldet reiser og hvilke strategier lærerne kan ta i bruk i arbeid med faget i klasserommet? Analysen viser at forskningen er omfattende og økende, men omfanget varierer mellom de nordiske landene. Den aktuelle forskningen bidrar i betydelig grad til å forstå og problematisere religionsundervisningens plass og rolle i et samfunn som preges av økt religions- og livssynsmangfold, og til å forstå at forskningsfeltet er blitt til i et samspill mellom ulike akademiske disipliner, og dessuten mellom politikk, forskning og praksis. Resultatene fra forskningen bidrar først og fremst til å belyse mangfoldets omfang og kompleksitet, samt at det i varierende grad fanges opp av læreplaner og undervisning. Det er mindre av forskning som belyser lærerarbeidet, læreprosesser og resultater av undervisningen. Forskningen viser også at religions- og livssynsmangfold må ses som en viktig del av forutsetningene for undervisning og læring i alle fag, og i religions- og livssynsfagene er den i dag en selvsagt forutsetning, uavhengig av hvordan disse er organisert i de ulike landene. Nøkkelord: mangfold, flerkultur, religionsundervisning, forskning, How does recent Nordic religious education research address the challenges and possibilities of religious and world view diversity? Abstract The article gives an overview of how recent Nordic religious education research has approached issues related to the challenges and possibilities that religious and worldview diversity pose to education. The emphasis is on PhDs, a few research projects and articles. How does the research describe diversity, which challenges are pointed out and what strategies can teachers in the classroom employ. The analysis shows that there is a growing research mainly in Norway, Sweden and Finland, compared with Denmark and Iceland. The research investigated contributes mainly to new knowledge about the distribution and complexity of diversity in classrooms and to some extent to increased knowledge about how the diversity is dealt with in classrooms and curricula. It is also shown that this diversity is a challenge to the whole school, not only religious education. Less research is directed towards issues of teaching and learning and the effects of this. Keywords: diversity, intercultural, religious education, research
The Extreme Right in Western Europe is a concise introduction to one of the most persistent facets of late twentieth-century history, politics and society. The legacy of the Nazi era and the increasingly unacceptable face of extremism all militated against the success of far right-wing parties after World War Two. Nevertheless, contemporary problems and the solutions offered to ever more difficult questions such as immigration, unemployment, and law and order have enabled extremist, nationalist and populist movements to emerge. Focusing on a range of countries including France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Austria, Belgium and the Mediterranean region, Paul Hainsworth: • explores the concept of right-wing extremism • discusses the varying success of extreme right political parties in Western Europe • examines the policies and perspectives of these parties • analyses the profile of the extreme right's electorate • assesses the impact of right-wing extremism on aspects of politics in contemporary Western Europe. This accessible and up-to-date analysis of this enduring movement in Western Europe is a must for courses in history, politics and European studies.
Abstract The aim of this article is to analyse and compare the census statistics on Muslims in Europe provided by the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe with anti-Muslim estimates of the possible numbers of Muslims in Europe in order to give a comprehensive picture of how many individuals actually identify themselves as Muslims. Contrary to popular figures estimating that there are approximately forty to fifty million Muslims living in Europe (including Russia, but leaving out Turkey) the official census data provided by nineteen countries in the Yearbook gives a figure closer to five million. The findings in my article are based on the available censuses from 2000 until today (that is, summer 2012), and the results give a presentation of census statistics on individuals who identify themselves as Muslims in Europe. The results from the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe are critically discussed and related to estimates and popular assumptions about the number of Muslims in Europe that circulate in the media, especially among anti-Muslim writers who adhere to the so-called Eurabia theory. In conclusion it is clear that there is a large gap between popular anti-Muslim estimates of the number of Muslims and the figures presented in official census data. It is argued that this gap may have a negative impact on how Islam and Muslims are framed, discussed and debated in Europe today.
The article examines short-term effects of terror on trust and civic engagement in Norway. Prior to the July 22, 2011 attacks, Norway ranked among the nations with the highest levels of trust and civic engagement in the world. How does a nation of trusters react to terror? Based on two web surveys conducted in March/April 2011 and August 2011 short-term effects on trust, fear, and political interest and participation are analyzed. Two competing hypotheses are explored: first, the “end-of-innocence hypothesis,” which assumes that the attacks have disrupted trust and instilled a new culture of fear, and second, the “remobilization hypothesis,” which assumes that the attacks have led to a reinforcement of trust and of civic values. Our results show increased interpersonal and institutional trust as well as a modest increase in civic engagement, especially among youth. Moreover, there is little increase in experienced fear within the population. Our study therefore supports the remobilization-of-trust hypothesis. Contrary to the intended aims of the attacker, the structures of trust and civic engagement seem to have been reinforced in Norwegian society. This study in part corroborates findings concerning short-term effects after September 11, 2001.
Anders Behring Breivik, perpetrator of the Norwegian massacre, was motivated by a belief in a Muslim conspiracy to take over Europe. Extreme and aberrant his actions were, but, explains the author, elements of this conspiracy theory are held and circulated in Europe today across a broad political spectrum, with internet-focused counter-jihadist activists at one end and neoconservative and cultural conservative columnists, commentators and politicians at the other. The political fallout from the circulation of these ideas ranges from test cases over free speech in the courts to agitation on the ground from defence leagues, anti-minaret campaigners and stop Islamisation groups. Although the conspiracy draws on older forms of racism, it also incorporates new frameworks: the clash of civilisations, Islamofascism, the new anti-Semitism and Eurabia. This Muslim conspiracy bears many of the hallmarks of the ‘Jewish conspiracy theory’, yet, ironically, its adherents, some of whom were formerly linked to anti-Semitic traditions, have now, because of their fear of Islam and Arab countries, become staunch defenders of Israel and Zionism.
Across Europe, the ‘war on terror’ is having a major impact on race relations policies. New legislation, policing and counter-terrorist measures are casting Muslims, whether settled or immigrant, as the ‘enemy within’. In the process, the parameters of xeno-racism, which targets impoverished asylum seekers, have been extended to Muslim communities. Islam is seen as a threat to Europe, which is responding not only with draconian attacks on civil rights but also with moves to roll back multiculturalism and promote monocultural homogeneity through assimilation. Hence ‘integration’ measures - like France’s banning of the hijab - become an adjunct to anti-terrorist law. This is not just ‘Islamophobia’ but structured anti-Muslim racism.
From the Publisher: Manuel Castells describes the origins, purpose and effect of proactive movements, such as feminism and environmentalism, which aim to transform human relationships at their most fundamental level; and of reactive movements that build trenches of resistance on behalf of God, nation, ethnicity, family, or locality. The fundamental categories of existence, the author shows, are threatened by the combined, contradictory assault of techno-economic forces and transformative social movements, each using the new power of the media to promote their ambitions. Caught between these opposing trends, he argues, the nation-state is called into question, drawing into its crisis the very notion of political democracy. The author moves thematically between the United States, Western Europe, Russia, Mexico, Bolivia, the Islamic World, China, and Japan, seeking to understand a variety of social processes that are, he contends, closely inter-related in function and meaning. This is a book of profound importance for understanding how the world will be transformed by the beginning of the next century.