As with the Oklahoma City bombing 16 years ago, the initial public reaction to the horrific events in and near Oslo was to finger Muslim extremists. The online comment boards of the New York Times quickly filled with denunciations of “radical Islam” and “a religion of hate.” A few voices cautioned that little was yet known about the killer or killers. But – as with Oklahoma City – most felt comfortable in the assumption that the jihadis had struck again.
Now that 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to police that he did indeed set off the bomb at a government building in Oslo, then went to a youth camp on nearby a island and methodically hunted down and executed 68 people, attention is shifting to the growing popularity of right-wing, anti-immigrant parties in Western Europe.
But rather than wonder why Europeans seem to be increasingly sympathetic toward xenophobic neo-fascism, the continent’s leaders should ask themselves why they’ve given their people with legitimate concerns about their economic and cultural future no place else to go.