In Breivik, troubling echoes of West’s view of Islam

Timothy Stanley writes: The trial of mass murderer Anders Breivik has confirmed one thing so far: He seems quite mad. Looking plump and dumb, with a slightly receding hairline, the Norwegian gave a right-wing salute as he entered the courtroom and smirked his way through CCTV footage of his handiwork.

Breivik claims that he killed 77 people as an act of self-defense against the Islamification of Norway, that he is a member of the Knights Templar and part of an “anticommunist” resistance to multiculturalism. Reading his insane manifesto, it is tempting to dismiss him as a nut with a gun.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying the political context to what Breivik did. Since 9/11, fringe and mainstream politicians in Europe and America have spoken of Islam as incompatible with Western values. Breivik quoted many of them in his manifesto. This is not to say that he took direct inspiration from those public figures, or that they bear personal responsibility for his crimes. But Breivik’s paranoia does conform to a popular — wholly negative — view of the twin problems of Islam and multiculturalism. Tragically, it is a view that few mainstream politicians have been willing to challenge.

Breivik makes two false claims. The first is that Islam is ethically inferior to Christianity and cannot exist peacefully within the secular democracies of the post-Enlightenment West. That is the open view of the Dutch Party for Freedom, the French National Front, the English Defense League and the Finnish True Finns. It was implicit in Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s aversion to the building of mosques. We might also infer it from much of the testimony presented at Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearings into the radicalization of American Muslim youth. King has opined that there are “too many mosques” in the United States and that roughly 80% of American Muslims are radical.

The mistake being made by all these people is to conflate a tiny minority of political Islamists — whose precise ideology has only really emerged in the last 30 years — with the entire global and historical community of Muslims. [Continue reading…]

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One thought on “In Breivik, troubling echoes of West’s view of Islam

  1. Leslie Garrett

    In the Pakistani village of Kalam, in Swat, there is, or was before the recent floods, a large, ancient, animist temple. When the area was converted to Islam in the nineteenth century, this wonderful old temple with its huge beams and grand swirling capitols was left intact. A portico, a long porch was either added or adapted, and a Mihrab was erected to point the way to Mecca, but the conversion to Islam was so accomplished that the eternal fire still burned in the centre of the building in 1978. I said that I was a Christian, but I was a religious scholar, and I was invited to pray with the men of the village. Further up into the mountains in parts of Chitral there are valleys where the people are still animist, and feminine dominant. The advance of Islam was generally a far more gentle movement than the Western herd has been led to believe by their masters.

    This recent American round of assaults on Muslim lands is but another manifestation of the same barbarian surges that gave the world the Mongol invasions and those of the Vikings. This indiscriminate killing by maddened warriors abroad, bare breasted women and bowing down before queens at home — look at the modernist West. This hardly an outgrowth of ancient civilization. Brevek is just another lost child of the computer age acting out the lies that he has been fed. Imagine what those bred on Game of Thrones will do. If those lies were “anti-Semitic” instead of anti-Islamic, the press in the West would never have let him tell his story in this way. His only problem for them is that he is just a little too good at this.

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