The world watched in horror as a gunman killed two and wounded five in a twin shooting in Copenhagen on February 14th. Controversial cartoonist Lars Vilks was in attendance and is expected to have been the main target of the attack. The second attack occurred a little after midnight when the suspect killed the night guard of a local Synagogue before escaping the scene. He was eventually captured and killed, although his identity remains a mystery as of the writing of this editorial. Condolences for the death and condemnation against the attacks continue to pour in from around the world; these have included a controversial statement by Benjamin Netanyahu urging Jews to migrate to Israel, and one from Saudi Arabia condemning the shooting and the murder of three North Carolina Muslims last week, addressing both as “ugly terrorist attacks.”

The Copenhagan shooting comes barely a month after the Charlie Hebdo attack, but almost a decade after Denmark grappled with the riotous aftermath of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. There is no doubt that it will further fuel the global outcry over the messy relationship between freedom of expression and respect for religious and ethnic minorities in the face of inflammatory free speech. While much of the developed world has argued for unfettered free speech, there have also been pleas for restraint including a recent address by President Obama where he called for such freedoms to not infringe on basic civility and respect for religious beliefs.

Incidents like this also expose the widening fissures in Denmark and Europe as they relate to questions of inclusion, acceptance and immigration. Hate/free speech and questions around religious respect have practical implications when it comes to political allegiances in an increasingly xenophobic population. Events such the shooting are terrifying, and serve to entrench popular support for right-wing groups like the Danish People’s Party, which campaigns on a vehement and unapologetic anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalism platform. The party has always played on deep-seated fractures within Denmark, and their electoral weight has increased quickly and worryingly since their inception. The Copenhagen shooting stands to boost support for these and other such right-wing ideologies, in the upcoming September 2015 Parliamentary elections.