Conservative extremists in Europe are facing new attention after the attacks
last week that killed almost eighty people in Norway.
On Friday the country held the first funerals for victims of the attacks.
Eighteen-year-old Bano Rashid was the first to be buried. She was Muslim but
the ceremony also included Christian prayers. Ms. Rashid was a Kurdish immigrant
from Iraq with an interest in politics. She was one of the people shot to death
at a summer youth camp organized by Norway's governing Labor Party.
A sixty-ninth victim of that shooting died Friday.
Also Friday, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg led a national memorial service
in Oslo, the capital. Mr. Stoltenberg said Norway had been hit by evil, and he
called on the nation to unite around its values of democracy and peace.
The violence was Norway's deadliest since World War Two.
Thirty-two-year-old Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik has admitted
responsibility. But he has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges. He says he
was part of a wider "crusade" against Muslim immigration and multiculturalism in
Europe. Investigators say they believe he acted alone. They questioned him
Friday for a second time.
Mr. Breivik exploded a car bomb in Oslo shortly before going to Utoeya island
where the shootings took place last Friday. The deadly explosion wrecked the
prime minister's office building.
Mr. Breivik's lawyer says his actions suggest he is out of his mind.
Far-right groups across Europe have denounced his attacks.
European Union officials say they will form a team of experts to investigate
non-Islamist threats in Scandinavian countries. The criminal intelligence agency
Europol says the team may look at other European nations in the future.
A report this year from Europol said extreme left-wing groups carried out
forty-five attacks in Europe last year. It said there were no terrorist attacks
by right-wing groups, but extremists were increasingly active on the Internet.
K. Biswas from the New Internationalist magazine says far-right groups have
become more influential in Europe in recent years.
K. BISWAS: “You’ve seen parties in Italy, in Denmark, in Holland have grown
outside the mainstream conservative electoral vehicles in their countries, and
they have had an effect. They have had an effect on immigration. They have had
an effect on the language used by mainstream politicians.”
In the Norwegian parliament, the right-wing Progress Party is the second
largest party. In Sweden, Democrats joined parliament last year declaring “Keep
Nigel Inkster is a director at the International Institute for Strategic
Studies in Britain. He says Islamic terrorism is the most serious threat to
European security. And, he says, it is much more difficult to investigate than
He says in Britain the threat from the extreme right normally does not come
in the form of a major terrorist attack.
NIGEL INKSTER: "I think most of the violence that we have seen from extreme
right-wing groups has been of a more, if you will, casual, street variety
targeted against demonstrations by immigrant groups or simple attacks on
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.