The competition among some European politicians to capitalize on societal fears of Muslim immigrants "legitimizes" actions like the July 22 deadly attack in Norway, according to an expert on Europe, nationalism, identities and immigration.

Muslims in Europe have "challenged the homogeneous understanding of the nation" and are "shaking the relationship between state and religion," Riva Kastoryano, a research director at the prominent Center of International Studies and Research in Paris, told the Hürriyet Daily News in a recent interview in Istanbul, where she comes every summer to visit her family.

Q: What did you feel when you heard about the attacks in Norway and the man who perpetrated them?

A: I said to myself, this was going to happen. This was coming, after all the populist rhetoric of politicians using much of the same discourse as the perpetrator. European politicians have over the last three or four years entered into a competition to reject the "other." They are blaming Muslims for asking to have minarets in Europe, for wanting to wear the burqa. Politicians are bidding like at an auction to attack Islam.

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