Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Oslo bomber didn't act alone

This is a cross-post of a piece of mine which has appeared on uberpolitics.

Well, as we all know, the person who planted the bombs and carried out the shootings was one Anders Behring Breivik who claims he acted alone.

Except of course, he didn't. It certainly seems likely that he's the only person who directly killed people but that doesn't mean he acted alone.

As more and more information emerges it's becoming clear that this was an individual who held anti-Islamic, anti-left, anti-tolerance beliefs. In short, he was a neo-Nazi who defined his enemy as Muslims rather than as Jews.

He belongs to a school of thought and an ideology that has become increasingly prevalent over the past decade or so. There will always be disturbed people capable of slaughtering innocents but even then most of them need some sort of "reason" to justify their actions to themselves. For the 9/11 suicide bombers it was a distorted version of Islam - one which is preached in Saudi mosques and which is indirectly financed by the Saudi monarchy. For Breivik it was a narrative of impending Muslim domination of Europe.

The narrative is what provides people with the reasons to justify killing innocent people. Breivik, was motivated by a fear of "Islamic colonisation" and even published a manifesto to that effect. In it he references numerous right-wing websites such as Jihad Watch (I'm not going to link to it, you can find it for yourself if you have to). The founder of Jihad Watch frequently appears on Fox News in the US to talk about the threat of "Eurabia". He peddles a narrative of impending Islamic domination which is based on complete ignorance of migration trends, population growth rates and the beliefs and values of Islam itself.

This narrative is what motivated Breivik and it is what will almost inevitably motivate others like him to carry out acts ranging from racially motivated murders all the way up to terrorist mass killings. The Oklahoma bomber and Breivik all share a common creed.

But they didn't invent this creed. This creed was invented by semi-celebrity right wing journalists and politicians across the western world. In the US its adherents can be found in the Tea Party movement and in Fox News, in the UK they can be found in parties like the BNP and in news organisations such as the Daily Express.

It is journalists and politicians who peddle a narrative based on lies which motivates others to hate filled acts. In the UK we have people like Melanie Phillips of the Daily Mail who has written newspaper columns and an entire book about "Londonistan". We have Richard Littlejohn and Paul Dacre. We have the people who write newspaper headlines saying "Council Spends Your Money on Muslim-only Loo!" In the Netherlands you have people like Dutch MP Geert Wilders.

All of these people nominally distance themselves from violence. They profess horror at the actions of people like the BNP (though the Daily Express now acts as a champion for the EDL). Yet it is they who create the ideology that trickles down and inspires the extremist adherents to actually carry out violence. They are just as much the culprits of the Norway terror attack as Breivik is.

But, because they distance themselves from violence and say they don't condone it, they get away with it and keep on peddling the same old myths which fuel it.

They have blood on their hands yet pass as respectable members of society.

Breivik may have started the fire, but they're the ones who gave him the matches.

EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that, whilst there is overlap between some of its members and the type of islamophobia I've mentioned, the Tea Party is actually a fiscal conservative movement with that being its primary motivation. Sorry for associating them with this unfairly.

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  1. This is a terrific post. As Norway's Prime Minister Stoltenberg understands, we need to face down the distortion and hatred that feeds acts of political violence.

    One small factual quibble though: the Tea Party is not part the movement you describe; their uniting factor is fiscal conservatism (though I'm sure plenty of individual Tea Partiers are also members of the unpleasant nativist wing of the Republicans).

  2. Thanks very much. It's nice to see that Norway's PM is actually reacting sensibly to the terrorist attacks instead of with knee-jerk actions.

    Thanks for the correction with regards to the Tea Party - I've updated the post accordingly.

  3. So are you denying the fact that Jihadist are really planning to terrorise the world and kill those who do not share their values and beliefs, 9/11, 7/7, Madrid bomb, Mumbai attacks to name a few, what about Halal meat served to even non-muslim?

    Stop burying your head in the sand, wake up before this onslaught gets to you.

  4. There are indeed Jihadists plotting to commit acts of terrorism - I have never said otherwise. But there are just as many white supremacists or Christian fanatics plotting to do exactly the same kind of thing.

    And, incidentally, Jihadists have about as much relation to Islam as Breivik or the KKK have to Christianity.

    As for halal meat served to non-muslims I am afraid I have quite literally no idea what point you are trying to make. Yes, some non-muslims have eaten halal meat. Some non-jews have eaten kosher meat. Some non-vegetarians have eaten vegetables. What exactly does this prove?

    As for burying my head in the sand, I'm fully aware of immigration and population trends. And, because I don't get my "facts" from wingnuts frothing at the mouth, I know I don't have anything to worry about.


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.