Threat from the far-right has received enough attention

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The Independent Online

There are still no clear indications about the exact motivations behind the terrible acts of the Norwegian "terrorist", including whether he specifically selected his targets.

What is evident is that he is linked with a far-right, neo-Nazi and fundamentalist groups.

All this generated surprise in the media and the public.

The problem is that much of the attention in the past has been devoted to the rise of radical Islam.

Some politicians – and often police and media – have considered the radical fringes of the extreme right as a folkloristic phenomenon.

But Norway is not a unique case. As in many other European nations, immigration emerged in the 1980s as a visible issue and was politicised and exploited by the extreme right. Almost a decade later, an influx of refugees led to the familiar, far-right rhetoric of migrants costing the state too much, and immigration became a mobilising flag for the far right.

This made possible the electoral successes of extremist parties in Austria, Norway, Britain, Italy, and France among others. What have we done to prevent this? Not a lot.

Political and media discourses are often full of references to the collapse of multiculturalism, the threat of Islam and the loss of our European identity. The few police reports on the issue showed that there were extreme-right activists planning terrorist actions.

Have we paid enough attention to this? Probably not. But this is not a new issue. Radical elements within the far right have been linked with terrorism since the end of the Second World War.

Perhaps we should we start learning something from European history.

The author is an expert on European facism at Kingston University

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