Czech political scientists explain why Europeans are committing terrorism
Jan Charvát, an expert on extremism and a political scientist, has told the Czech Press Agency that after the shooting on the Norwegian island of Ut?ya committed by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, Europe must come to terms with the fact that brutal terrorism is not only committed by people from other cultures. Anti-Islamic sentiment has long existed in Europe, but the shooting of young people at the Norwegian Socialists' camp and the detonation of bombs in front of the Office of the Prime Minister in the Scandinavian country are a new form for the manifestation of such opinions, according to political scientist Miroslav Mareš.
The political scientists say one factor behind the rise of such postures is the social frustration that has been growing in societies afflicted by economic crisis. "Over the past few years we have seen a marked rise in that part of the ultra-right that is rather conservative, nationalist and populist, but is definitely not neo-Nazi. The main link between all of these groups is anti-Islamism," Charvát explains.
Over the past 30 years, anti-Islamic opinions have been forming in Western countries to which people are now starting to lend an ear. "At moments of social frustration, feelings of danger and threat arise," Charvát said, adding that foreigners and "innovations" can most easily be portrayed as dangerous.
Mareš says that for some time it has been evident that resistance to Islam is becoming more widespread in society. "For it to make itself felt through such a violent act is basically unique. It's not possible to call this a trend," Mareš said.
Mareš also said that while the way in which Breivik carried out his actions was new and sophisticated, it is not yet possible to determine whether this is proof of a more widespread militant extremist stream. "It looks like he acted alone," Mareš said. "Whether this is the start of a new era is another question."
The political scientists believe Breivik evidently selected socialist youth for his targets because the governing Norwegian party supports immigration. Charvát specified that according to the available information, Breivik was not directly bothered so much by Islam as by the people who in his view were permitting it to permeate Europe and "destroy" it.
Psychiatrist Karel Humhal believes Breivik is undoubtedly a person suffering from some kind of personality disorder. "He cannot be a person who is normal in the usual sense of the word," Humhal told the Czech Press Agency. Humhal has inferred from Breivik's behavior, his capacity for self-promotion, and his desire for popular attention that he suffers from megalomania.
Charvát's evaluation is similar. "When I read Breivik's manifesto, the impression I have is that this is a person with strong narcissistic tendencies," Charvát concluded.