Neil writes for the Mid Devon Advertiser

The sickening events in Norway are still not fully understood and it will be some time before the extent of the threat from right-wing extremists is known. All we know is that many young lives were maliciously and senselessly ended by a man driven by irrational hatred and a warped vision of the world we live in. The motivation of Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind both the car bombing in Oslo and the murder of 68 teenage members of the Norwegian Labour Party, appears to be a latent mixture of militant nationalism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. Much of this has been ascertained from a 1,518 page long document, a sick parody of a political manifesto, entitled “A European Declaration of Independence”.This is the first major terrorist attack in Western Europe to be inspired by what could loosely be described as neo-fascist ideology and comes at a time when most Western intelligence agencies are concentrating on the threat of Islamist attacks on our citizens and values.It is important then to establish whether the attack in Norway is an isolated attack by a delusional fantasist or whether there are like-minded individuals who are willing to use violence to further a neo-fascist agenda and whether or not these individuals form organisations or informal networks that seek to radicalise other and promote terrorism.We know of groups in the UK and Europe who espouse anti-Muslim sentiment and militant racism, such as the British National Party and English Defence League, however none of these openly promote violence to further their political goals and have only been connected to clashes with anti-fascist protesters at demonstrations and football hooliganism.Is this now changing and have we allowed a threat to grow under our noses unchallenged whilst focussing our resources to combating Islamist extremism?Breivik has claimed when interviewed by the police to have links to the EDL and supposedly met with members in March 2010 when he came to London for an event with Geert Wilders, the controversial Dutch politician.He has also claimed to be a founding member of a secretive organisation called the “European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal” of the Knights Templar, which was supposedly founded in London 2002 by representatives from eight European Countries with the aim of promoting pan-Europeanism and driving Islam out of Europe. It seems likely that this is an invention to give legitimacy and justification to his actions.The events in Norway show that extremism is not confined to one particular group and the Prime Minister has asked the security services to review the level of scrutiny right-wing groups in this country.But there is only one response that is sure to defeat violent extremism, wherever it may come, and that is to vigorously defend our democratic and enlightened values.The response of the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stolenberg, to this heinous crime best exemplifies enlightened stoicism in the face of extremism:“We are still horrified over what happened. But we will never give up our values. Our answer is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity but never naivety.”