Confessed right wing Norwegian attacker Anders Breivik has said that he wants to save Europe and Norway from a multiculturalism that he calls cultural Marxism.
Jonathan Birdwell, researcher for the London-based think tank Demos, says that Breivik and other far-right extremists are moving away from race-based ideology, and focusing on demonizing cultural conservatism.
"They say Islam is not a race, but rather it's a hateful political ideology," he told Here & Now's Robin Young.
"These individuals and groups basically see European culture as being incompatible with what they describe as Islamic culture or Muslim culture," he said.
Birdwell said that the shift away from a race-based ideology is also a strategic decision for these groups.
"If you look at his manifesto, he states that for pragmatic purposes and in order to make sure that they have legitimacy, they have to move away from race-based arguments and move towards this cultural conservative which emphasizes and attacks Islam. And this allows the far right to take up the mantle in defense of western enlightenment values like women's rights... and gain more legitimacy."
Birdwell says that mainstream politicians are now struggling to address the fears among many Europeans that Muslim communities are not assimilating, without fanning the fire of far-right groups.
"That's a huge challenge, but I think you are going to see increasingly these issues being debated more open in the public," he said.
This program aired on July 25, 2011.