News / Europe

Do Norway Killings Signal Change in Europe’s Attitude Toward Islam?

People at Oslo Cathedral pay their respects to victims of last week's bomb attack and shootings in Norway, July 27, 2011
People at Oslo Cathedral pay their respects to victims of last week's bomb attack and shootings in Norway, July 27, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Susan Yackee

The recent shocking tragedy in Norway has highlighted the disconnect between European nations and their Muslim populations. The Norwegian suspected of killing 76 people in Oslo and at a youth camp on a nearby island claims he was on a mission to “save Europe” from a Muslim takeover. Ultra-nationalist Anders Behring Breivik accused the ruling Labor Party that hosted the youth camp of betraying Norwegian culture by encouraging immigration.

A sampling of European analytical opinion shows there is great concern in the region about “accommodating” Islam and immigration in general.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen of the University of Oslo spoke to Susan Yackee about religious tolerance in Norway

Thomas Hylland Eriksen, a social anthropologist at the University of Oslo, said the suspect’s ideology is quite well known in Norway and has been spreading on websites since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States a decade ago.

He says many Norwegians feel that “Muslims represent an alien culture”, but only a minority hold the view of ultra-nationalists “that Islam is incompatible with democracy.”  He says Norway’s July 22 tragedy focuses on the growth of a small new right-wing movement in Europe, which he says must be taken seriously as a future security threat.

Eriksen says there is a drive in Norway to increase religious tolerance. He says it is too early to tell if the mass killings in Oslo will make the people of Norway more accepting of Islam. However, he says “that might certainly be an outcome.”

“Maybe this tragic event will lead to a cleaning of the air where it becomes clear that when you live here you are committed to the country – you’re a citizen – and your religion doesn’t really matter.”

Bruce Clark of The Economist spoke about the tragedy in Norway

The Norway tragedy created a “palpable increase of tension” in certain European cities, said Bruce Clark who writes on religion, law and ethics for The Economist in London . He says it is going to be a struggle to keep social peace in some towns deeply divided and segregated.

Clark agrees discussion of religion and religious diversity has been brought to the front. He adds “debates around multiculturalism, the integration of immigrants and the ability of religions to live together will become sharper, more tense,” stressing that “attitudes may become more entrenched.”

Tim Ross, the religious affairs editor at the London Daily Telegraph, says there are concerns the attacks in Norway reflect a “growing sense of hostility towards Islam across Europe” and “unease” about how Islam should be incorporated into the European social mainstream. As an example he cites the decision in France to ban the burqa from public spaces.

Listen to the comments by Tim Ross of the London Daily Telegraph about the implications for Europe

Surveys show that “Islamophobia” in the general public has increased in recent years, Ross said.  But he added recent analysis suggests the better educated are less likely to be prejudiced against Islam.

Ross says mutual understanding is crucial to ensuring that tensions are kept to a minimum.  He believes European governments, communities and individual citizens should play a role in supporting the message of tolerance towards religions. After all, said Ross,  Islam, “is actually a religion of peace.”

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More