The killings in Norway – insane, and heinous and entirely evil would be wrong no matter who did them and no matter which political ideology they represented. There can be no doubt of that, and certainly no debate.
However, I would agree with Bruce Bawer when he states that this (hopefully) singular and evil act should not be construed as an excuse to avert our attention from the very real threat that Radical Islam poses to Europe, the entirety of western civilization, and indeed to the whole world. Bawer lives in Norway as an American expatriate and a gay man. He is in many respects, like myself, an unlikely convert to the values of classic liberalism. Indeed, he claims to still be a Democrat, but in any case, many would consider him a conservative. Labels aside (and I am not one to eschew labels as being entirely useless), Bawer knows of what he speaks and so I am linking to his article here. First, I quote:
“Those of us who thought, in the first hours after the blasts in downtown Oslo, that we were witnessing yet another act of jihad can be forgiven. In a way, it made sense. 9/11, London, Madrid, Beslan, Bali, Mumbai — why not Oslo? Then again…Norway, although a member of NATO with troops in Afghanistan and Libya, was not exactly in the forefront of the struggle to defeat jihad. On the contrary. Norway calls itself “the peace country.” For years, the Norwegian government and cultural establishment have striven to communicate to even the most extreme elements of international Islam that they want to be friends. They’ve shown their good faith in a number of ways:
They’ve made a great show of treating Jews very shabbily. Jostein Gaarder, author of the international bestseller Sophie’s World, published an op-ed a few years back declaring his contempt for Israel and the Jewish people. When Gaarder came in for some criticism, many high-profile members of the Norwegian cultural elite rushed to stand shoulder to shoulder with him. If the cultural elite in Norway is more anti-Semitic than its counterparts in any other country in Europe, it has a great deal to do with the recognition that the more you like the Jews, the more you’ll antagonize the Muslims.
They’ve been extremely gentle with Mullah Krekar, Norway’s resident terrorist. While some government officials have (admirably) labored to get the founder of Ansar al-Islam returned to his native Iraq, the system has repeatedly protected him, allowing him to stay in a very nice flat in Oslo, where he is supported by the state. Over the years the Norwegian media have churned out countless profiles of this murderous, child-torturing monster, invariably depicting him as a charming, grandfatherly type and allowing him plenty of space to bash the United States.
They’ve squelched criticism of Islam. In January 2006, Vebjørn Selbekk, editor of a small evangelical publication called Magazinet, reprinted the Danish Muhammed cartoons — and sent the Norwegian establishment into a tailspin. Politicians at the very highest level pressured Selbekk to apologize for his offense. He withstood admirably — for a while — but eventually buckled, and on February 10, 2006, appeared before a gathering of Norwegian imams and begged their forgiveness for having exercised his freedom of speech. Top government officials looked on in satisfaction, and a delegation led by a bishop of the Church of Norway traveled to Yemen to deliver the happy tidings of this capitulation to the theologian widely viewed as the closest thing to a Muslim pope, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
They’ve dropped displays of Islamic totalitarianism down the memory hole. Two years ago, on two separate nights, a small army of Norwegian Muslim youths rioted in the heart of Oslo, turning a usually placid quarter into something reminiscent of Sarajevo or Beirut at their worst. The alleged motive for this explosion of violence was displeasure over the situation in Gaza; the real intention was to mount a display of power — to intimidate, and to communicate to Norway that their time had come, and that they had better be listened to with respect, or else. And in February of last year, another small army of Muslims, this time not rioting boys but sullen-looking men in long coats and full beards, gathered in downtown Oslo, in the same square where Vidkun Quisling once held his Nazi rallies, and listened with apparent pleasure while a young speaker named Mohyeldeen Mohammed threatened Norway with its own 9/11. Both of these events came and went, and the people who make decisions about this sort of thing plainly decided that it would be best to pretend that they had never happened.
They’ve openly supported terrorist groups. In the last few days, one of the major stories out of Norway has been the declaration by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of his country’s support for the effort by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state. This stance scarcely came as a surprise, given the Norwegian government’s longstanding effort to “build bridges” to Hamas. It was Støre, after all, who — when a couple of dozen Western diplomats walked out on a rabid anti-Israeli speech by Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at the 2009 UN conference on racism — was the only Westerner who chose to stay and hear him out.
And the way they’ve talked to Norwegian Muslims about Islamist terrorism has been — well, consider this. A couple of years ago, when Jørn Holme, head of security services for the Norwegian police, showed up at a meeting sponsored by the Muslim Students Association, supposedly to discuss terrorism, surveillance, and the Muslim community, his main goal seemed to be to bond with the Muslims in attendance by putting down ethnic Norwegians (who, he said, were “too stupid to understand that there is no connection” between Islam and terrorism) as well as white American Christians (“In the United States in the sixties,” he told the audience, “blacks were raped by whites who went to church the next day”). Holme called the United State “human-rights-violation-country number one” and said that his greatest fear, when he contemplated a possible terrorist act in Norway, was that such an act would inflame anti-Muslim prejudice.”
Bawer goes on to state in his article that he fears that legitimate criticism of Islam may be squelched by this act of barbaric and delusional political violence. I wonder, reading his points above, what criticism there is in any case? However, his point is a good one. As hate speech laws proliferate in intensity in other places in the EU and in Canada (the circus of Section 13), these murders can only add to the anti-free speech project of the left. Bruce makes a good deal of other points and of course, has noticed that Anders Behring Breivik has mentioned his name, although with a certain amount of uncertainty as to his credibility as Bawer is gay. Of course, many of the people that I often read and admire for their uncompromising anti-Jihad stances are named in the pages of Breivik’s exhaustingly long “manifesto” which was apparently, often copied from the loony screed of the Unibomber with a few key changes to make it relevant to his own purposes. In any case, Bawer continues here…
“During those hours when we all thought this was a jihadist attack, one thought that crossed my mind was that this would change the political map of Norway. For years, the Progress Party, which is the second largest of Norway’s seven or eight major parties, has led the way in calling for more responsible policies on the immigration and integration of people from Muslim countries — and has been demonized as a bunch of right-wing extremist xenophobes who hate Muslims. I assumed that after this attack, Norwegians would vote in a Progress Party-led government in the next elections. Now it appears that the man who committed all these murders is a former member of the Progress Party and is, indeed, a right-wing extremist xenophobe who harbors (according to Dagbladet) a “violent hatred for Muslims” and multiculturalism, and who targeted the Labor Party youth camp because he blames the ruling Labor Party for the Islamization of Norway. Norway’s political future looks very different now, in short, than it did 24 hours ago.
It gets worse. Anders Behring Breivik, it turns out, was a frequent commenter at a website, document.no, that is run by a friend of mine in Norway, Hans Rustad, and that is concerned largely with the Islamization of Norway. Hans’s website is down right now — I don’t know why — except for a page on which he has posted a collection of all of Breivik’s postings on the site, going back to 2009. On September 14, 2009, he wrote: “Bawer is probably not the right person to work as a bridge-builder. He is a liberal anti-jihadist and not a cultural conservative in many areas. I have my suspicions that he is TOO paranoid (I am thinking of his homosexual orientation). It can seem that he fears that ‘cultural conservatives’ will become a threat to homosexuals in the future. He refuses therefore to take the opportunity to influence this in a positive direction. This seems entirely irrational.”
On October 31, 2009, he wrote that several things needed to be done in the next twenty years in order to prevent the Islamization of Norway, among them: “Initiate a collaboration with the conservative forces in the Norwegian church. I know that the libertarian forces in the European anti-jihad movement (Bruce Bawer among others, and some other libertarians) will have a problem with this, but conservative forces in the church are in fact one of our best allies. Our main opponents must not be jihadists but the jihadists’ facilitators — namely the multiculturalists.” And on November 6, 2009, he wrote: “It is tragicomic that an important NGO like Human-Etisk Forbund [the Norwegian Humanist Association] has been taken over by a cultural Marxist when it should be run by a liberal anti-jihadist like Bruce Bawer.”
It is chilling to read my own name in postings by this mass murderer. And it is deeply depressing to see this evil, twisted creature become the face of Islam criticism in Norway. Norwegian television journalists who in the first hours of the crisis were palpably uncomfortable about the prospect of having to talk about Islamic terrorism are now eagerly discussing the dangers of “Islamophobia” and “conservative ideology” and are drawing connections between the madness and fanaticism of Breivik and the platform of the Progress Party. Yesterday’s events, then, represent a double tragedy for Norway. Not only has it lost almost one hundred people, including dozens of young people, in a senseless rampage of violence. But I fear that legitimate criticism of Islam, which remains a very real threat to freedom in Norway and the West, has been profoundly discredited, in the eyes of many Norwegians, by association with this murderous lunatic.”
Mark Steyn weighs in with wit (even under these circumstances) and characteristic aplomb, pointing out that in fact, no Muslims were killed so this particular form of Islamaphobia had some odd consequences:
“The mass murderer Breivik published a 1,500-page “manifesto.” It quotes me, as well as several friends of NR — Theodore Dalrymple, Daniel Pipes, Roger Scruton, Melanie Phillips, Daniel Hannan (plus various pieces from NR by Rod Dreher and others) — and many other people, including Churchill, Gandhi, Orwell, Jefferson, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, not to mention the U.S. Declaration of Independence.* Those new “hate speech” codes the Left is already clamoring for might find it easier just to list the authors Europeans will still be allowed to read.
It is unclear how seriously this “manifesto” should be taken. Parts of it simply cut and paste chunks of the last big killer “manifesto” by Ted Kaczynski, with the occasional [insert-your-cause-here] word substitute replacing the Unabomber’s obsessions with Breivik’s. This would seem an odd technique to use for a sincerely meant political statement. The entire document is strangely anglocentric – in among the citations of NR and The Washington Times, there’s not a lot about Norway.
Nevertheless, Breivik’s manifesto seems to be determining the narrative in the anglophone media. The opening sentence from USA Today:
Islamophobia has reached a mass murder level in Norway as the confessed killer claims he sought to combat encroachment by Muslims into his country and Europe.
So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, that’s now an “Islamophobic” mass murder? As far as we know, not a single Muslim was among the victims. Islamophobia seems an eccentric perspective to apply to this atrocity, and comes close to making the actual dead mere bit players in their own murder. Yet the Associated Press is on board:
Security Beefed Up At UK Mosques After Norway Massacre.
But again: No mosque was targeted in Norway. A member of the country’s second political party gunned down members of its first. But, in the merest evolution of post-9/11 syndrome, Muslims are now the preferred victims even in a story in which they are entirely absent. “
From here: Islamophobia and Mass Murder by Mark Steyn
And, with that I send my condolences out to Norway and to all of those people whose loved ones were killed or hurt. There is no redeeming value to this act, and I would hope that the narratives that it generates are not exploitative of those deaths, but that they instead shed light.
In other news, on a more personal note, in case you wondered where I went I just moved, and am searching for a new place to live, and am “transitioning” again! This time possibly even, eventually to a new city, though time will tell. Everything is a bit chaotic for me, but it won’t be forever. So, I’ll not be able to post quite as much as I’d like I think, but I’m still around and will check in from time to time with new observations. Thanks to all who stop by to read!