Jul. 26, 2011
Norway Tragedy Illustrates Immigration Tensions in Europe
The bombing and massacre in Norway this past week speaks to the tensions present throughout Europe as its countries undergo rapid demographic changes, says Emory University political scientist Thomas Lancaster, an expert in comparative politics and Europe.
“This tragedy has less to do with Norway and its culture than about a broader trend in Europe. As a "home grown terrorist," the perpetrator is a terrible example of how the fringe right in Europe is viewing the very important sociological, and thus political, changes coming about as a consequence of immigration policy within Europe,” says Lancaster.
While Norway is not a member of the European Union, it does follow intraEuropean movement patterns of immigrants, which has seen a tremendous increase in Muslims from several countries, he says.
“Economics is clearly driving this immigration, but the social implications is that the very social, racial and religious composition of most European countries is rapidly changing. In this sense Norway is not an exception,” Lancaster says.
“In Norway about one out of four people in Oslo are of non-European origin. Each European country has its own variations in terms of immigration policy, but most of the strong economies, such as Germany and Norway, are the ultimate destinations of many immigrants from countries with a majority Muslim population.”