Muslims and Islamophobia
It is not enough to say he is mad. Anders Breivik is patently mad: no one in their right mind would behave as he has done. Nor is it enough to say that he is evil. If the word evil has any meaning at all, then it must obviously apply to a man who can go to a lake island summer camp, call innocent young people to run towards him – and then shoot 85 of them with an automatic rifle. We will never be satisfied with simple words like “mad” or “evil”, and for the days and weeks ahead we can expect exhaustive psychoanalysis of this dreary and supercilious 32-year-old sicko. He killed in the name of Christianity – and yet of course we don’t blame Christians or “Christendom”. Nor, by the same token, should we blame “Islam” for all acts of terror committed by young Muslim males. -- Boris Johnson
The venom spewing article of Subramanian Swamy, lone leader and President of Janta Party has not only hurt minorities but all the secularists of the country. That is why non-Muslim more than the Muslim scholars, Journalists and writers have lodged their displeasure and discontent with his article. They have demanded action from the government against Mr Swamy. Mr Swamy‘s article exploded like a bomb on the peaceful environment of the country. If this live bomb is not defused it is going to be very dangerous for the secularism and peace of the county. Taking the article in question as a mad man’s utterances, can be ignored too, but by doing so there is a danger of encouraging those anti-social elements that are always ready to ignite Hindu-Muslim violence.-- Suhail Anjum (Translated from Urdu by: Arman Neyazi, NewAgeIslam.com)
The atrocity committed this week by the Norwegian neo-Nazi — is it an isolated incident? Right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US are already declaiming in unison: “He does not belong to us! He is just a lone individual with a deranged mind! There are crazy people everywhere! You cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!” When I first heard the news about the Oslo outrage, I was afraid that the perpetrators might be some crazy Muslims. The repercussions would have been terrible. Fortunately, the actual mass-murderer surrendered at the scene of the crime. He is the prototype of a Nazi anti-Semite of the new wave. His creed consists of white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism, hatred of democracy and European chauvinism, mixed with a virulent hatred of Muslims.-- Uri Avnery
"The primary threat to democracy in Europe is not "Islamo-fascism" -- that clunking, thuggish phrase that keeps lashing out in the hope that it will one day strike a meaning -- but plain old fascism. The kind whereby mostly white Europeans take to the streets to terrorize minorities in the name of racial, cultural or religious superiority,…. The Norway massacre of July 2011 is indeed Fascism with thick overlays of Racism and Xenophobia. It is also well documented in India where not only government agencies but also the common people – driven by the ceaseless propaganda by the Bharatiya Janata party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, lapped up eagerly by our Hindi and English language TV Channels -- keep track of all things “suspicious” in their neighbourhood. -- John Dayal
Breveik is an extreme rightwing Christian who hates Muslims. About the UPA government he says that it tries to please Muslims at any cost. He praises those Hindu organisations, in his manifesto, who do not tolerate this injustice. He writes, “When situation gets out of control they attack Muslims”. But he denounces this strategy and asks to target the traitors and form militant groups for toppling the multiculturalist government. “We, (Breiviks and Hindu Fundamentalist Organisations) should cooperate with and learn from each other because our objective is the same.” He quotes two Indian historians, S Lal and Shri Nandan Vyas regarding the danger Europe has from the Muslims. He has advocated medal as, ‘Liberation of India Service Medal’ to the people who will help chase Muslims out of the country. Breivik had got the logo for his organisation made in Varanasi, an Indian city.-- Suhail Haleem (Translated from Urdu by Arman Neyazi, NewAgeIslam.com)
You see, it is politically incorrect to call faith-driven violence despicable without first cursing the awful things that makes a nut a nut. It is ironic that most of these awful things may as well be exactly the things that a politically correct person is also indulging in. For example, in Pakistan, on the eve of a terrorist attack by a Muslim fanatic, the politically-correct, progressive and conscientious person is obliged to first blame western imperialism, then the drone attacks. Then he goes to have a Big Mac. Of course, by then he usually forgets to also issue at least a token condemnation of the death and destruction caused by the religious nuts. The bottom-line is there are now more religious fanatics willing to go on murderous killing sprees in the world because they are more tolerated in the society than ever. Nations are just too busy navel gazing about airy-fairy abstract concepts about spirituality and political-correctness that have nothing to do with the twisted images that pollute a religious fanatic’s head. Such spineless post-modernist behaviour actually ends up (indirectly) justifying a fanatic’s mad existence. -- Nadeem F. Paracha
The killings in Norway are indeed a wake-up call. It is time for Western Muslims to stand up, to be vocal and to refuse to be treated as second-class citizens. Instead of seeing themselves as the victims, instead of marginalizing themselves, they should be an integral part of mainstream social, political and economic debates. Islam is a Western religion, that’s a fact. The issue of immigration is another discussion, one that requires a vision for the future. No Western country can survive and prosper without the support of new and young immigrants in the work force. It is clearly not by pandering to fears that the problem is going to be solved. A climate of fear would only lead to isolation and /or fragmentation within the society, and eventually to violent and extremist behaviour. The choice is ours: we can use wisdom, or become (explicitly or implicitly) populists. Some intellectuals can make a name for themselves; politicians can win the next election by surfing on people’s fears and sense of loss. But they will surely be forgotten by History. Others are prepared to face prejudices, racism and xenophobia with courage and commitment. -- Tariq Ramadan
Prove your innocence — if you are a Muslim, because the media and the police believe Muslims are guilty by default. Terror intimidates Muslims more than anyone else on earth. After any terrorist activity, inside their houses, Muslims try to put fingers into their ears so as not to hear the phrase: “another act of Muslim terror”. Blaming the jihadists, the Wall Street Journal reported, “Norway is targeted for being true to western norms.” Meanwhile, on The Washington Post’s website, Jennifer Rubin wrote, “This is a sobering reminder for those who think it is too expensive to wage a war against jihadists.” Altogether the instant reaction to the incident, without any pursuance of proof or evidence, was that Muslim terror must be responsible for the attack. -- Shahidur Rashid Talukdar
Watching the initial coverage of the Norway massacre on BBC, I felt a tinge of sympathy for the news producers whom I could literally feel scrambling in the background. After all, with the shooter being a right-wing Christian extremist, the standard rundown they had prepared could no longer be used. Gone was the package on the cartoon controversy. Unusable was the old report on the 7/7 bombing. The rolodex of ‘experts’ on Islam and terrorism was now just a dead weight. Instead, several analysts and academics from a variety of Norwegian institutes and universities had to be trotted out. Breivik may have been a psychopath (in the technical sense of the word), but he wasn’t acting in a vacuum. – Zarrar Khuhro
"The Breivik murders are being used to discredit all resistance to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism. But we're stealing it back … Islamic texts and teachings, and frequently imams, directly exhort their followers to commit acts of violence. I do not. Nor does anyone else in the counter jihad. There is nothing Breivik could conceivably have read here as a justification for killing anyone. There is plenty in the Qur'an and Sunnah that jihadists can and do use as justification for murder." Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bawer mourned that: During the hours when I thought that Oslo had been attacked by jihadists, I wept for the city that has been my home for many years. But once he realised this was not the scenario, Bawer's sympathy with the victims apparently dissolved into dismay at the probably setback to those who oppose Muslim immigration."When it emerged that these acts of terror were the work of a native Norwegian who thought he was striking a blow against Jihadism and its enablers, it was immediately clear to me that his violence will deal a heavy blow to an urgent cause."-- Sarah Wildman
Breivik blames the "multiculturalists," and, in a twist that I touched on yesterday, also blames Hitler for giving rise to these "politically correct elites." These "elites," he argues, in their zeal to prevent another Holocaust, not only blind themselves to what Breivik calls "Islamic atrocities," which he maintains are worse than Hitler's holocaust, but have simultaneously engaged in a "deliberate scheme to feminise/pacify" European youth. "Multiculturalism is an anti-Western hate ideology aimed at undermining the indigenous peoples of Europe and destroying European civilisation and culture," the manifesto reads. As a result of multiculturalism, Europe has few "cultural defenses," writes Breivik, from "any force which would want to conquer us," that is, Muslims. Thus, Breivik goes on, "the Islamic Ummah" is "currently colonising us, facilitated by our traitorous cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites." He describes "Islamic conquest" of Europe as "demographic warfare."-- Sarah Posner
In the European case, the decline of religion over the decades has been simultaneous with the damping of nationalist sentiment, though many times for good reason. It has unfortunately been replaced by an unsatisfying, often unpopular, elitist, and distant capitalist project, which is economically unnerving and therefore also culturally terrifying. The linking of the Muslim and the Jew as the enemy of Europe is neither uncommon, nor innocuous. It speaks to a sense of embattlement. With an estimated 76 dead, in a country whose population is both small and concentrated, consider how it would translate proportionally into America, a country many times its size: 4,700 dead. -- Haroon Moghul
WESTERN terrorism experts have faced considerable derision in the past few days for jumping to the conclusion, in the immediate aftermath of a bomb blast aimed at governmental offices in central Oslo last Friday, that Al Qaeda had once again picked a relatively soft target. Instead of pondering the possibility of a different source of violence, they generally devoted their mental energies to trying to figure out why violent Islamists would pick Norway as a target. Could it be a consequence of Norway’s minor involvement in Iraq and its continuing role in Afghanistan? After all, Ayman Al Zawahiri had on a couple of occasions threatened reprisals against the nation. Might it have something to do with the deportation proceedings against the Kurdish Islamist figure Mullah Krekar? Or the fact that a Norwegian newspaper reproduced the notorious Danish cartoons? Hey, if none of those explanations stood up to scrutiny, there was always Muammar Qadhafi’s threat of suicide bombings in Europe to avenge NATO’s bombing campaign in Libya, in which Norway has participated. -- Mahir Ali
Another Sangh pariwar leader VHP’s Vinod Bansal says: What the Norwegian killer says about appeasing Muslims is right.
Norway killer Breivik's Common cause with Hindu nationalists. Excerpts:
The only positive thing about the Hindu right wing is that they dominate the streets. They do not tolerate the current injustice and often riot and attack Muslims when things get out of control, usually after the Muslims disrespect and degrade Hinduism too much. This behaviour is nonetheless counterproductive. Because instead of attacking the Muslims they should target the category A and B traitors in India and consolidate military cells and actively seek the overthrow of the cultural Marxist government.
India will continue to wither and die unless the Indian nationalists consolidate properly and strike to win. It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical. -- Anders Breivik’s manifesto
The implication that he develops is that Breivik’s actions can be attributed to those who for years have been trying to educate the public in the West about the threat posted to our values and way of life by the forces of radical Islam. Shane singles out — by virtue of Breivik having cited his writing 64 times in his manifesto — the writings of Robert Spencer at the website Jihad Watch , part of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, as well the work of “other Western writers who shared his view that Muslim immigrants pose a grave danger to Western culture.” That sentence says it all: Unassimilated Muslim immigrants in Europe, people who do not accept the laws and standards of the nations to which they have immigrated and who consider themselves proponents of both jihad and sharia law, are not a danger. Instead, the danger comes from those who point out the uncomfortable truths that many dare not face.-- Ron Radosh
To Carlson, this proves Poland is "an island of profamily values" amid the tides of "Christo-phobic" "population-control types" who dominate the rest of the continent. Poland, he says, could provide an important counterbalance to European modernity and become a launching point for "a profamily resistance," and thereby "save Europe again": a not-so-coded reference to the Battle of Vienna in 1683, where Polish King John III Sobieski led a "Holy League" army of Christian soldiers against the Ottoman Empire, culminating in a decisive victory for Christendom over the invading Muslim troops. The profamily movement's bald reference to this ancient holy war informs new conservative foot soldiers who see today's immigration conflicts as "a new phase of a very old war." And so the WCF chose Poland as the site of last spring's massing of the troops, drawing thousands of leaders from across the spectrum of religious-right activism: from US evangelical and Catholic nonprofits to Eastern European Catholic and orthodox antiabortion and anti-gay rights groups, to bureaucrats from European, EU and US governments, taking policy notes to bring back home. – Sarah Posner
Initial media reports on Anders Behring Breivik’s dual assault on government buildings in downtown Oslo and the Labour Party summer camp were quick to link the attack to “Islamic terrorism”. It was eerily reminiscent of early reporting on the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh, when “experts” were quick to claim that the attack bore the hallmarks of “Middle Eastern” and “Islamic” terrorism. According to early reports, Breivik, fearing Muslim colonisation of Western Europe and the rise of multiculturalism – and allegedly citing the influence of individuals promoting exclusive and intolerant worldviews – decided that the time for action had come..-- Natana J. DeLong-Bas
The title of Breivik’s manifesto, which was posted on the internet on that day, is “2083”—the date Breivik suggested would be the culmination of a 70-year war that began with his action. Yet 70 years from 2011 would be 2081; why did he date the final purge of Muslims from Norway to be two years later, in 2083? I found the answer on page 242 of Breivik’s manifesto, where he explains that on 1683 at the Battle of Vienna, the Ottoman Empire’s military was defeated in a protracted struggle, thereby insuring that most of Europe would not become part of the Muslim empire. The date in Breivik’s title is the 400th anniversary of that decisive battle, and in Breivik’s mind he was re-creating the historic efforts to save Europe from what he imagined to be the evils of Islam. Behind the earthly conflict was a cosmic war, a battle for Christendom. As the title of Breivik’s manifesto indicates, he thought he was re-creating that historical moment in which Christianity was defended against the hordes, and Islam was purged from what he imagined to be the purity of European society. -- Mark Juergensmeyer
As soon as the shocking and tragic news from Norway hit the airwaves, it was entirely predictable that various right-wing Islamophobes would type first and think later. They were so eager to exploit the tragedy to peddle their pre-existing policy preferences that they blindly assumed the acts had to have been perpetrated by al Qaeda, by its various clones, or by some other radical Muslim group. This is the sort of bias one expects from an ideologue like Jennifer Rubin… Sadly, it is also not out of character for the supposedly respectable Wall Street Journal, whose editorial page has been a reliable source of threat-mongering and distortion for years. Even as Norwegian officials were cautioning that they had no reason to suspect Islamist groups, the Journal was plunging ahead with an editorial entitled "Terror in Oslo," -- Stephen M. Walt
“Today the creeping fascism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is coming upon us not as gradually as imperialism did, nor as suddenly as did the Emergency. Its spread is being calibrated adroitly by seven faceless men, who make the RSS ‘high command’. We barely feel it. Some yesteryear civil libertyites like Arun Shourie have been co-opted. Others are being wooed or chased… As the period of the Emergency clearly demonstrated, the RSS is astute enough to know when to hunt with the hounds and when to run with the hares. They are smarter than the German fascists in this respect.”
Anyone who thinks that these are the fulminations of some diehard ‘fanatic Muslim’ or a ‘pseudo-secular’ communist is in for a shock. The person venting his spleen against the RSS is none other than Subramanian Swamy. The aforementioned statement is taken from his article ‘The RSS game plan’ that was published in the January-February 2000 issue of Frontline magazine. And, “one of the results of the contacts between fascism and Hindu nationalism” wrote Casolari, “was the attempt to militarise Hindu society and to create a militant mentality among the Hindus. -- A Faizur Rahman’s Response to Subramaniam Swamy’s Article in DNA, Mumbai
Sure you might carry another article that counters Swamy’s article, and that might salvage the situation a bit, but it can’t undo the damage. The damage is that these kind of xenophobic views have now got respectability by getting carried in the DNA. I request you to issue an apology in your newspaper for carrying such an extremely offensive piece, so that people know such extreme views cannot be tolerated. —Vinay Sreenivasa, Bangalore.
There’s no crude bomb planted in any market which can hurt this country more than a few published opinions like Swamy’s. Apart from reflecting an ignorant, head-butting, childish worldview, it is an incitement to violence and generalised reprisals against a force (the “Muslim agenda at large”) that does not exist. I’m not really disappointed in Swamy — everyone knows what to expect of him — but your decision to publish him is the real betrayal of your role in a city experiencing crisis and fear. —Raghu Karnad, Editor, Time Out, Delhi.
Right Wing Watch flags the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer's column, in which he describes Anders Breivik's manifesto as "accurate," even though he doesn't agree with massacring people. Although Fischer devotes most of his column to denouncing the idea that Breivik is a Christian, he does write: Much of his analysis of cultural trends in Europe and the danger created by Islamic immigration and inflitration is accurate. But clear thinking Westerners and every Christian I know believes these problems can be solved through public policy rather than mass murder. -- Sarah Posner(Photo:American Family Association Monogram)
The perpetrator was a white Norwegian fanatic, a Christian, who for years has been planning these attacks which claimed the innocent lives of more than 90 people. Anders Behring Breivik felt no remorse and admitted to the crimes adding that he wanted to spark a revolution against multiculturalism in his country, specifically against Muslim immigrants and the spread of Islam in Europe. The twin attacks raise a number of key issues which will continue to overshadow public debate in most European countries and elsewhere. The link between terrorism and Islam goes beyond the foolish reaction of some in the Western media. It has become inherent in many Western societies where Islamophobia is on the rise, especially after the 9/11 attacks in New York and the 7/7 bombings in London. Similar terrorist attacks in Madrid in March 2004 were also blamed, although no direct link was established, to Al-Qaeda. As a result it became acceptable to associate Muslims with terror resulting in abhorrent practices such as racial profiling in the US and others. -- Osama al Sharif
When asked about the basis of his assertion about Islam being decidedly the perfect religion, and the fact that followers of other religions would be making comparable assertions, Zakir Naik conveniently invalidated the question by making a reference to Qu’ran which he said categorically and conclusively justified his assertions. He also added that secular nations were essentially confused about religious and ideological convictions. It was this lack of sufficient confidence in their own faith that non-Islamic countries permitted the practice of all religions. That such a choice might have involved the issue of tolerance and encouragement of cultural diversity, as an extension of a human being’s inalienable democratic rights, clearly didn’t occur to the barbaric propagandist. -- The Sojourner
Photo: Zakir Naik
The tide of Islamophobia is running strongly on the European right at the moment. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been trumpeting the failure of multiculturalism for the past six months, and British Prime Minister David Cameron recently added his voice to the chorus. It is only a cynical political stratagem, but it could have real consequences. Left to their own devices, the various immigrant groups in these countries, including the Muslim groups, will assimilate into the general society in a couple of generations, as immigrants generally do. You can accelerate the process a little with the right government policies, but not much. -- GWYNNE DYER