‘Islamophobic’ Bloggers, Scholars Blamed for Norway Outrage
(CNSNews.com) – As more details about Norwegian mass murder suspect Anders Behring Breivik emerged over the weekend, some prominent voices who warn about the dangers Islamist extremism poses to the West found themselves under fire.
Breivik has confessed to killing 93 people, mostly children, in Friday’s bombing and shooting rampage. He was described by a top Norwegian police officer as a “Christian fundamentalist.” He also has been identified as a freemason, and in online writings, he identified himself as a “Justiciar Knight Commander for Knights Templar Europe,” a reference to a medieval Catholic military order.
In a 1,518-page manifesto, which includes terrorist techniques and tactics and calls for mass executions of “traitors,” he rails against Muslim migration into Europe, “political correctness” and “multiculturalism,” and he takes aim at what he calls “cultural Marxists.”
The document, supposedly drafted over a nine-year period and posted hours before the attacks, also includes quotes from or references to a range of writers, “counter-jihad” bloggers, scholars and right-wing politicians.
They include Geert Wilders, the Dutch lawmaker acquitted last month of hate speech relating to his views on Islam; Islam expert and Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes; and conservative bloggers associated with sites such as Jihad Watch, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), Brussels Journal and Gates of Vienna.
Those sites and individuals were quickly targeted for strong criticism, as some detractors sought to link them to the actions of the Norwegian.
In an opinion piece in Norway’s Aftenposten Sunday, a writer named Oyvind Power drew attention to the manifesto’s references to Islam scholar Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, historian and author Bat Ye’or, and a Norwegian “counter-jihad” blogger who writes on the Gates of Vienna blog under the name Fjordman.
“Anders Behring Breivik was inspired by an internet environment that calls itself ‘counter-jihadist,’” wrote Power, saying such groups had spread their opinions online for years, contributing to “radicalization.”
“People like Fjordman and [Atlas Shrugs blogger and SIOA anti-shari’a activist] Pamela Geller and the right wing blogosphere who spew apocalyptic rhetoric and refuse to denounce the extremists among them now have the very real blood of children on their hands,” wrote Charles Johnson on his blog, Little Green Footballs.
In an opinion piece on the al-Jazeera network’s Web site, a Palestinian journalist, Ahmed Moor pointed a finger at radio and television broadcaster Glenn Beck – who does not, apparently, feature in Breivik’s writings – suggesting that he is the conservative counterpart of Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda propagandist.
“Anders Behring Breivik, Mohammed Atta and Baruch Goldstein are all cut from the same rotten cloth. Anwar Al-Awlaki and Glenn Beck – the peddlers of the faith – all share the same core afflictions,” Moor wrote. “All indications are that the hate-mongers – who are on the same side of this war, irrespective of religion – are winning in America.”
(Atta was the 9/11 ringleader; Goldstein was a Jewish doctor who in 1994 killed 29 Muslims in a mosque in Hebron.)
Also on al-Jazeera, Dr. Robert Lambert, co-director of the European Muslim Research Centre at Britain’s University of Exeter, noted the references in Breivik’s manifesto to anti-“Islamification” groups.
“While we must await the outcome of police investigations and court proceedings before reaching any firm conclusions about Breivik's motivation, it will nevertheless be instructive to begin an analysis of a violent extremist nationalist milieu in Europe and the U.S., and its dramatic shift towards anti-Muslim and Islamophobic thought since 9/11,” he wrote.
Some critics did not name names, merely blaming “Islamophobes” and raising concerns about “networks.”
“When we read of American Islamophobes, we must no longer deny the potential they have to undermine the societal values that we hold dear,” Religious Freedom USA co-director Joshua Stanton wrote in a Huffington Post article on the Norwegian massacre.
“Religious freedom is jeopardized when Muslims are singled out. But Islamophobes may come to threaten more than religious freedom – perhaps even our very security,” he argued.
British journalist and convert to Islam Yvonne Ridley told Iran’s IRNA news agency the attacks “could be the start of a terror campaign by rightwing fundamentalists” in Europe and the U.S.
“Just because the attacker is not olive or black skinned and does not follow the Muslim faith this does not make Friday’s horrific crime the actions of some recluse acting as a lone terrorist,” she said. “He had to have a network and support to plan and carry out such an atrocity.”
‘Absurd and offensive’
Some of the individuals in the spotlight responded.
Noting reports that Breivik sympathized with the views of his Party for Freedom (PVV), Wilders told Dutch media that the Norwegian was “a violent, sick psychopath” and said the PVV “hates everything that this man stands for and has done.”
“I have not yet had the time or energy to read his alleged manifesto, but it I hear he has posted quotes from my work,” Fjordman wrote on Gates of Vienna. “I dislike that in the extreme, but there is little else I can do about it. All of my writings are made available for free on the Internet.”
Fjordman noted that the manifesto also included references to the philosophers John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant and John Locke, adding, “I hope these writers will not be classified as ‘hate speech’ from now on.”
Spencer posted a statement on Jihad Watch on behalf of SIOA denouncing Breivik and calling for him to be punished to the full extent of the law.
“Attempts to link us to these murders on the basis of alleged postings by the murderer mentioning us are absurd and offensive,” it said. “Our work is and always has been wholly focused upon defending humane values and freedoms. There is no way that any sane person could possibly conclude that committing mass murder of children would advance the principles for which we stand.”
Geller, who is referred to just once by name in the lengthy manifesto, called it “almost inconceivable that one passing reference in a 1,516-page screed would be sufficient for the Islamic/leftist machine to assign blame to yours truly, and to those of us who are working diligently to educate the people. It’s extraordinary that this is being swallowed whole by the mainstream media.”
Pipes noted that Breivik was “the third terrorist” to be found to have read his material, the other two being the Pakistan-born U.S. national David Headley and the accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.
“As this triad suggests, an author has no control over who reads him and what possible role his writings may have in shaping the mind of a terrorist,” said Pipes, repeating an earlier assurance that “the Middle East Forum and I do not inadvertently provide guidance to terrorists.”