22. juli-senteret

Breivik’s process of radicalisation – frequently used explanations

Many explanations on why and how the terrorist was radicalised followed in the wake of the terror attack to try to understand what happened on 22 July 2011.

In his compendium, and during the trial in 2012, Breivik claimed to have been treated badly by Muslim people. This has been used as a possible explanation for his hatred towards immigrants.

Several experts believed that Breivik’s difficult childhood might have influenced the development of psycho-pathological deviances, leading to the narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder he was diagnosed with in 2012.

Others have pointed to the terrorist’s use of the internet and computer games as important factors in the radicalisation process. The terrorist frequently visited known anti-Jihadist websites and extreme right-wing forums, which function as echo chambers for extreme views. Some experts have suggested that certain computer games can create a distorted view of reality and lead to social exclusion in the event of continuous high frequency of use, which was the case with Breivik.

The idea that immigrants threaten a ‘national identity’ is not limited to the radical right-wing, but is shared by politicians from several parties. The normalisation of extreme attitudes in mainstream politics in the time before the terror attack has also been mentioned as a relevant factor in discussions about Breivik’s radicalisation process.

Individually, such explanations oversimplify the causes that might have led Breivik to become a terrorist. It is difficult to know the extent to which these factors contributed as drivers to the terror attack.



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