Norwegian Right-Wing Discourses: Extremism Post-Utøya

  • Sindre Bangstad
Part of the Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies book series (BOREFRRERE)


Since the terror attacks in Oslo and at Utøya in Norway in which 77 civilians lost their lives on 22 July 2011 there have been a number of attempts to provide explanations for the atrocities committed by Anders Behring Breivik. This chapter contends they cannot be understood without reference to the ideology with which he legitimated his actions. It explores the intersections between extreme and populist/radical right-wing discourses on Islam and Muslims in Norway since the 1980s through the methods of critical discourse analysis and shows that among politicians in Norway’s most popular political right-wing party The Progress Party (PP) there is a long record of utilising rhetorical tropes of extreme right-wing provenance and/or distribution when it comes to immigration, multiculturalism, Islam and Muslims. Central PP politicians in Norway have, for 25 years, cast Muslims in Norway as an ‘existential threat’ to Norway and Norwegians. In so doing, some of the central PP politicians have endorsed and promoted a discourse which, even though it did not directly incite violence, have certainly advanced ideas about Muslims and Islam which are of extreme right-wing provenance and are taken by some extreme right-wingers to offer tacit support for their cause. From an analytical point of view, extreme and populist/radical right-wing discourses on Islam and Muslims form part of a continuum, rather than being discourses clearly demarcated from one another. Whilst there is no direct and unmediated link between rhetorical ‘fighting words’ and behavioural ‘fighting acts’, the ideology that drove the terror of 22 July 2011 cannot be understood without exploring these intersections which Anders Breivik came to construe as legitimating specific courses of violent action.


Islamophobia Utøya Anders Behring Breivik Right-wing discourse Fremskrittspartiet Terrorism Islam in Norway Eurabia genre Stealth Islamisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KIFO, Institute For Church, Religion And Worldview ResearchUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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