Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oslo Masscare, Muslims, the far right and Twitter

Anders B Breivik, has murdered 93 people in Oslo.

On Friday this man, a right wing fanatic, committed one of the worst acts of individual terrorism ever seen. Earlier today a manifesto of his was published in which he rants about Islamic colonisation and a liberal conspiracy. His fixation with the liberal conspiracy is why he boarded a boat to Utoya island and in a truly brutal and horrific fashion murdered at least 84 youths at a labour conference, people he saw as being responsible for the "Islamo Marxist" alliance to destroy European Christendom. The young men and women had nowhere to run on the small island in what was must have been 45 minutes of unimaginable horror.

Many things about this event, beyond the obvious, disturbed me greatly. I was on twitter shortly after I heard about the initial blast in downtown Oslo. I like many, assumed we were dealing with an act of Islamic terror. I myself clumsily tweeted the following remark.

Murdering butchering Islamic terrorists at it again. This time in #Oslo

My assumption at the time was that Oslo was being subject to the same type of attack that London, Madrid, Washington and New york has seen in recent times. I should not have jumped to that conclusion so early and I do want to apologise to any Muslim readers of Gubu World who were offended. I did however realise quite early on, particularly upon hearing that the second attack was launched against the Norwegian Labour Party that it was likely a case of domestic right wing terrorism.

There were other things on twitter that bothered me. I follow Michelle Malkin on twitter. She claims to be a conservative pundit but is in fact a right wing smear merchant (she spent the 2004 US Presidential election trying to convince people that Democratic candidate John Kerry had shot himself in Vietnam to get a Purple Heart in order to boost his political career). Anyway, in the immediate aftermath of the Oslo blast she began a trend on twitter called #standwithnorway which was extremely active for about an hour. She herself tweeted many comments about standing up to Islamic terror. However, once it became clear the atrocity was not linked to Islamic terror, she stopped tweeting on the subject and the trend dissipated. Presumably she was no longer "standing with Norway"

British Col Richard Kemp, a man I respect, likewise disappointed me. He clearly lost interest in the story, evidenced by his tweets, after the identity of the perpetrator of the massacre became known. Although he did tweet the following interesting remark which I will discuss shortly.

Will those who "understood" motives of likes of Khan London attack on 7/7, ie "despair" of govt policy, also "understand" motives of Breivik's motives?

The reality is that in the hours before the motivation for the attack became known, The hawks hoped the Muslims were behind it where as the Doves (and pro Muslim) wanted it to be domestic. This aspect of the case reminded me of Jared Lee Loughner who in January of this year in Tuscon Arizona, shot and killed 6 people and wounded 14 others including democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Many people at the time assumed that as the victim was a liberal congresswoman in a conservative state, the perpetrator must have been a right winger. It subsequently became clear that he was a psychotic, but as in the Norwegian case, the Tuscon shooting resulted in a frenzied discussion (which lasted much longer) about whether the man had been influenced by right wing rhetoric coming from the more intense wing of the anti Obama crowd. People jumping to conclusions is natural if a little irresponsible. But I find it unfortunate that when facing a human tragedy people actively root for their beliefs to be vindicated.

Christian Fundamentalist
Over the coming weeks we can expect a debate to take the following form. It is wrong to be overly critical of Islamic fundamentalism when Christian terrorists are prepared to carry out similar acts of extreme violence. It is also wrong to be overly critical of Islam in Europe in case it inspires the like of Breivik (I expect Dutch politician Gert Wilders will come in for some criticism this week). These are understandable points to make given events in Oslo but some realities must be pointed out.

1. In the western world, acts of Christian terrorism are extremely rare where as Islamic terrorism is commonplace.

2. It appears Breivik acted alone. He has no supporters, and in Europe you will not find a single town, village, house, or even a dingy flat somewhere where people will be rejoicing at the deaths of so many innocents.

3. I think it will become clear that Breivik's actions were more motivated by fascist or Nazi thought rather than Christian fundamentalism. And we all know that such ideologies are capable of unbelievably extreme levels of cruelty.

4. Fridays outrage should not prevent people of good will from expressing in a dignified manner their concern at Islamic extremism internationally or of its growth in Europe. People need to be confident in their convictions that to criticise one form of extremism is not to inspire another. Personally I am an anti fascist, anti racist, anti Marxist, anti religious fanatic who detests all forms of extremism including that practised by Irish Republicans.

The Far Right
The far right have always been a reality in Europe, a reality that I thought up until Friday was one which could be largely ignored. Extremism should always be confronted in whatever form it takes. It only needs to be understood in terms of how it needs to be defeated. Col Kemp's earlier tweet illustrates his frustration at how people on the left strive to understand the hatred of those committing acts of Islamic terror but will obviously not do so when it comes to Mr Breivik. And they would be right. Mr Breivik deserves no sympathy, not even in the faintist ideological sense. And neither do the men behind the countless acts of Al Quaeda horror. At the end of it all, if you are prepared to commit a spectacular act of mass murder against innocent civilians, it is not because of the injustices of US/British foreign policy, any more than it was Breivnik's reason to kill so many because he believed in a liberal conspiracy. It was because in both cases, the extremists are consumed by hatred and no amount of placating to them will appease them.


I know that many conservatives in the US argue that the reason Europe is susceptible to far right extremism is because they do not properly address the issue of Islamic immigration and that mainstream European politics isolates and demonizes those who are critical of Islamic ghettoising. I do not accept this. I believe that if Europe restricted significantly the levels of Muslim immigration into Europe, Mr Breivnik would still be a fascist Nazi animal hell bent on murder murder murder. Likewise, If Israel were to be wound up, something which some people argue would appease extremists and bring peace to the world, Islamic terror would not disappear with it. It would in fact be emboldened and increase. Extremism needs to be confronted and defeated, not circumnavigated.

11 comments:

Gary said...

Ted,
Wow,. very good, very well said. Extremists of any shape or color make my head ache. I do not care of they are Islamic fundamentalists or Born-again Christians, Liberals or Conservative, Communists or Capitalists -they are closed minded and dangerous. Murder and terror are never called for nor justified -not in the name of any deity and certainly not for any ideology.
Gary

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

Thanks very much indeed. Sorry I haven't been on "Gary's Reflections" much of late. I have been very busy with work and personal stuff but I always look in and enjoy your posts. I knew very little about the American Civil War before your blog.

I share your views on extremists. I just wish people didn't feel so uncomfortable and reluctant to call out all extremists. As I said, criticising one form of extremism is not encouraging another.

Anonymous said...

It appears that the crazed gunman in Norway was inspired by the kind of right-wing rhetoric espoused by Geert Wilders. Perhaps this site and others should consider the negativity, hate and extremism they help spread when they seek to blame all Muslims for any and all wrongdoings.

It is good that Ted has seen his error but I fear it will be short lived, after all where would his blog without some kind of slight against Islam and Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ted,
Your article here is good, and I also saw your response to another blogger on the same subject. Let me congratulate you on identifying a few places where the blogger went a bit overboard. You manage to cite facts in a reasoned manner, in spite of the fact that you condemn the act and actors. I can't tell you what a difference that makes.
Jenny

Ted Leddy said...

Anonymous

I don't think you can bame people who are opposed to Islamic immigration for the Oslo massacre any more than you could blame the violence of dissident Irish Republicans on people who glorify the 1916 Rising. When people take things to the extreme, they should be blamed, the rest of us don't need to evaluate ourselves because others take things too far.

Ted Leddy said...

Thanks very much Jenny

I appreciate the words of encouragement very much.

Anonymous said...

Ah come on now Ted, don't belittle the role you play in stirring hatred for Muslims. It is sites such as yours that inspire the likes of murderous monsterous manics Norway produced. If we were to substitute Jew for every time you mention Muslim you'd be locked up for antisemitism and incitement, as it stands this site simply allows you to air your hatred of difference without consequence - at this time.

Sites such as yours should be indirectly held responsible for
creating division and dissension.

Gary said...

Anonymous,

Please excuse me for addressing you by that name but you seem to be unwilling to put your real name to your comments.

Your comments that Ted's blogs stir up hatred of Muslims is blatantly false. Ted makes a great effort to be fair and open minded, perhaps even a little too open minded at times.

As for your observation about "the likes of murderous monsterous manics Norway produced" - you are at least partly right. Norway did, indeed, produce a real monster. It is interesting to notice that it was a single monster -how many murderous, monstrous maniacs have been produced by Islamic fundamentalist extremism in Pakistan in just this past year?

The body count in Norway was tragic but it is only a fraction of the innocent Muslims killed by extremist groups in Pakistan.

I have an idea, why don't you and I both condemn the killings in Norway and the killings in Pakistan and call for some peace and tolerance instead of making vile accusations and spreading intolerance?

Gary

The System Works said...

Anonymous: Some European countries have enacted laws to curb public Holocaust denial, while most have bans on incitement to violence, but anti-Semitism like 'Islamophobia' is not outlawed and you can't be arrested for it.

Don't forget that in many countries, such as Sweden, Muslims are far more likely to perpetrate hate crimes (often against small Jewish communities) than be a victim of them.

The System Works said...

Of course, Anders Breivik did not actually direct his wrath against specifically 'Muslim' targets either. He decided to kill Western leftists, the movement he considered (rightly) responsible for the excesses of multiculturalism. He could hardly blame Muslims for wanting to move to the developed world.

builder man said...

I stumbled on your blog and am astounded by an Irishman's support for Israel's colonial project in Palestine. Please read Jewish historian Ron David's 'Arabs and Israel for Beginners' in which he states: 'We stole Palestine, we stole it.' Guess how we got all those red patches on the globe I was so proud of in my youth. That's right
- we stole it. Ask why Nelson Mandela supports the Palestinians.