On the 22nd of July, 2011 the right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Oslo and on Utøya in Norway—one of the most scarcely populated and wealthiest countries in the world. He believed he was defending Norwegian culture from the “threat” of multiculturalism.

In 2013, the Norwegian people voted in an alliance of the conservative party and the Progress Party (which is the same anti-immigration party that Breivik was previously a member).

Two years later, the xenophobia and excessively negative framing of the refugee crisis and immigration debate is getting harsher. Indeed, the hateful ideology in Norwegian social media is becoming alarmingly similar to the ideology of a terrorist we once could hardly view as one of our own people.

In a country blessed with one of highest standards of living in the world, words like “empathy” and “kindness” have become terms of abuse. People who plead compassion for refugees are being accused of being ”tyrants of goodness” by some ministers of the government.

The increasing number of Norwegians who claim that the Norwegian culture and its religion is superior are leading us into a cold-hearted and suffocating culture of fear and hatred. 5 years ago, Breivik’s views were considered extreme. Now they are not so distant from the mainstream.

—Tine Poppe