Admittedly, Norway is not part of the European Union, so the title of this posting may be forgiven slightly. A part of Europe it is, however, and right now, this Scandinavian country of 4.3 million dominates the news. Not a happy event, sadly, for when a mass murder occurs inspired by racial hatred and right-wing politics, we are obliged to sit up and take notice.
Our thoughts of course, are always with the victims and their families and no doubt the laws in Norway will follow their due course. But what I feel that Europe is forced to confront, is their sleeping discontent towards it's Muslim population. Not helped, by the actions of certain Muslims, of course, what is even more disturbing is that Europe has not truly escaped the prejudices of their historic past and so it shouldn't be surprising that sympathisers of radical Hitleresque ideologies exist amongst their midst.
Call it the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Third Reich or the Bosnia War, historically speaking, Europe has been there before - several times in fact, with the Jews and the Muslims. It starts with fear, propaganda, hate crimes and then state institutions that pass ridiculous laws. All of these steps pave the way to graver acts against humanity. When Belgium moves to ban the veil by drawing alarmist attention to something that I've often felt is rather more individual, can they truly claim that they are doing society a favour? I mean, where is the thin line drawn between outright Islamaphobia and liberal good intent? And if that line is blurred, where is the difference between Islamaphobia and divisive/hateful right-wing intent? In fact, where is the difference between the liberal good and the fascist bad?