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'Islamophobia on rise in Europe'

Interview with Chris Bambery, author and journalist

24 Jul 2011 - 11:54

Islam Times - Norwegian terrorist suspect Anders Behring Breivik has made a confession to involvement in the armed attack on Utoeya Island near Norway's capital that left 87 people dead.

Press TV has interviewed Chris Bambery, author and journalist, from Rome, regarding the recent terror attacks in Norway. What follows is a rough transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Tell us more about these far-right extremists. Why would they want to create such a human tragedy?

Bambery: Until now, fascist groups and Nazi groups have been relatively free to do things in Scandinavia. From what we see, there has been an emergence of more respectable anti- immigrant, anti-Muslim parties particularly in Sweden and in Denmark which has encouraged this.

I think it is very important to put this in a climate inside Europe of a growing Islamophobia which is connected to the ongoing war on terror, and the anti-migrant policies which are emerging in many of the European Union countries and general hysteria about migrants which is connected to Islamophobia.

If you note Silvio Berlusconi's recent statement in Italy where he warned that his opponents want to turn Milan into an Islamic city and would create ghettos of gypsies and migrants; put all those ingredients together, this clearly is the culture in which these neo-Nazis feel confident to strike.

This is a brutal and terrifying attack, but it is not entirely unexpected. A number of reports and warnings have been received from the far right both in Europe and in North America .I think it is correct, what you said in the introduction to the program that all the resources of the state have been focused on the Islamic terrorism to the detriment of others.

In Britain for instance, the police explains they are unable to investigate the hacking of telephones by Murdoch media empire because they are concentrating on Islamic terrorism. The focus of this which is the consequence of the war on terror has let people to turn a blind eye to what is clearly an emerging danger inside Europe.

This attack both on the parliament in Oslo and particularly on a socialist youth camp on this island in Norway is a classic Nazi attack.

I think the second thing is what would be achieved from this. The achievement is a strategy of tension. Where people feel frightened, people feel terrified, and begin to turn to the state and the forces of law and order. That is the strategy we saw here in Italy in 1960s and 1970s to some success.

I think there is a strategy of cunning a terrible, disgusting, terrifying strategy. They need to weep up hysteria against the migrants and against the Muslims.

Press TV: Just imagine a Muslim was behind these deadly attacks, and they would have been called an act of terror, why has the person behind the terror tragedy in Norway not been called a terrorist?

Bambery: I think the issue here is that this man is a homegrown terrorist. He is a part of the Norwegian society in that sense and I think they find it more difficult to deal with this.

It is much easier to deal with so-called terrorists from beyond your borders and from beyond your frontiers. It is much more difficult when it is someone raised in your country that is supposed to uphold Christian values. The man is a Christian they reported. Why someone in a country like Norway carried such an attack?

I feel that people are pussyfooting around in using the term terrorist. It is a terrorist attack and it is not the only one we have seen in Western Europe. We have seen previous bombing attacks in Britain, in Denmark, elsewhere. We see a growing rise in anti-gypsy violence in eastern Europe and we see attacks on migrant camps in Italy. This is something on the rise in western and Eastern Europe.

No government seems to be taking a swing at it; actually it is giving a pass, by constant attacks and dehumanization of Islam and constant attack on migrants coming to their countries. Currently we see both of them coming together ironically as Britain and France fight a war in Libya. There is a growing refugee crisis from North Africa and they welcomed these people. Strangely, we see growing hysteria about Islamic refugees coming into Western Europe.

I think these governments find it difficult because they themselves created the atmosphere in which something like this can be created.