On July 22, 2011, two terror attacks in Norway were perpetrated by a white Norwegian right-wing extremist. His stated motivation was to eradicate the Muslim presence in Norway and Europe by massacring Norwegian social democrats he believed to be responsible for allowing Muslim immigration to Norway since the 1960s. Seventy-seven people died that day, most of them teenagers. The terror attacks came at the end of a decade in which Islamophobic ideas (often originating in transnational far-right online activism) had become increasingly mainstream in Norwegian politics. How is one to understand the popularity and ubiquity of such sentiments in a small and prosperous country like Norway, in which Muslims make up 3.6 percent of the population? Sindre Bangstad is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, and the author of Anders Breivik and the Rise of Islamophobia.
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