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Charlie Hebdo: Norway didn’t give in to Islamophobia, nor should France

This is a dangerous moment. Anti-Muslim prejudice is rampant in Europe. The favoured target of Europe’s far-right – like France’s Front National, which currently leads in the opinion polls – is Muslims. France is home to around 5 million Muslims, who disproportionately live in poverty and unemployment, often in ghettoised banlieues. This incident should rightfully horrify, but it will now undoubtedly fuel an already ascendant far-right.

The consequences? More anti-Muslim hatred, more disillusionment among already marginalised young Muslims, more potential recruits for extremist groups.

There is a choice, of course. Norway’s enlightened response could be a model elsewhere in Europe too. It would be the last thing the attackers would want us to do. That, in itself, should give us all pause to think.

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