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Muslims and Islamophobia ( 26 Jul 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Far Right on the offensive: New York Times story cited as example for liberals spinning the Norway Horror

How the New York Times Spins the Norway Horror

By Ron Radosh

 July 25, 2011

Leave it to the New York Times to run a front-page story [1] about the murders perpetrated by crazed right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik [2] that is more accurately described as a not-so veiled editorial. Written by Scott Shane, the article begins by proclaiming that Breivik “was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam, lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations from them, as well as copying multiple passages from the tract of the Unabomber.”

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 [3], 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.

So, Shane continues, authorities and others now “have focused new attention around the world on the subculture of anti-Muslim bloggers and right-wing activists and renewed a debate over the focus of counterterrorism efforts.” We should be looking not at radical Islam, as Rep. Peter King vows to continue to do with his congressional hearings, but at its opponents, all “right-wing activists” who, as we all know, are the only real enemies out there.

And of course Shane points out that “critics have asserted that the intense spotlight on the threat from Islamic militants has unfairly vilified Muslim Americans while dangerously playing down the threat of attacks from other domestic radicals.” In fact, Muslim Americans have never been vilified. What those critics have actually said — the responsible ones and not those like the crazed publicity-seeking pastor in Florida — is that there are real dangers of jihad from some advocates of radical Islam.

Does Shane not remember that had not a street vendor noticed a truck parked in the Times Square area, an American jihadist would have caused a catastrophe as deadly as the one in Norway? Does he not know of the acclaimed Muslim businessman who owned a TV station in upstate New York who beheaded his wife [4] for offending him according to Shariah law? This man was interviewed as an example of a moderate American Muslim and an example of how Muslims in America have acculturated and played a positive role in our society. And what about the radical Sami Al-Arian [5], who pleaded guilty to support of terrorism, and whom many American academics defended as a victim of a witch-hunt when he was removed from his teaching job in Florida?

Shane’ s report also implies that the 2009 Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism was unfairly withdrawn, “after criticism from conservatives repeated on Sunday [by former CIA officer Marc Sageman’s] claim that the department had tilted too heavily toward the threat from Islamic militants.” Shane also quotes former Homeland Security official Daryl Johnson, who argued that an equal threat came from the right-wing extremists and criticized Homeland Security for its actions and for having more analysts work on Islamic extremism than on the domestic right wing. Johnson cited the Hutaree as proof of his contention, arguing that they had a larger domestic arsenal than any Muslim extremists. As the article notes, however, the FBI had successfully infiltrated this domestic group of self-proclaimed Christian extremists, and thereby prevented any terrorist action from taking place.

As PJMedia writer Bruce Bawer points out [6] on this website and in the Wall Street Journal, Norway stands out as a nation singularly afraid of confronting any of the real dangers posed by Islamic radicalism. That lack of action is the kind of thing that obviously helps fuel the anger of someone like the crazed fanatic, who seems to believe that killing children whose parents are members of Norway’s governing political party is a fight against Islamic fascism. As Bawer writes, “Norwegian television journalists who in the first hours of the crisis were palpably uncomfortable about the prospect of having to talk about Islamic terrorism are now eagerly discussing the dangers of ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘conservative ideology’ and are drawing connections between the madness and fanaticism of Breivik and the platform of the Progress Party. “

As Bawer puts in in his Journal [7] piece, it was “the failure of mainstream political leaders to responsibly address the attendant challenges” that resulted in “the emergence of” an extremist such as Breivik. The killer, who evidently believes that he can “wake up the masses” by using terror against regular citizens, is not only mad, but more in tune with anarchist ideas than those of critics of Islamofascism.

Here is what is now failing to be addressed. Bawer writes:

Norway, like the rest of Europe, is in serious trouble. Millions of European Muslims live in rigidly patriarchal families in rapidly growing enclaves where women are second-class citizens, and where non-Muslims dare not venture. Surveys show that an unsettling percentage of Muslims in Europe reject Western values, despise the countries they live in, support the execution of homosexuals, and want to replace democracy with Shariah law. (According to a poll conducted by the Telegraph, 40% of British Muslims want Shariah implemented in predominantly Muslim parts of the United Kingdom.)

Are we now not supposed to point these things out, because one madman who claims he acts out of valid concerns takes the kind of action that makes him as evil as those he supposedly wants to politically fight? If Breivik was indeed really concerned with these developments, what he has done has harmed his own avowed cause, and allowed radical Islam to grow even deeper roots in the West, since leaders will now view any concern as an example of irrational Islamophobia.

What the Left is seeking to do, therefore, as Bawer puts it, is make Anders Breivik a “poster boy” for those who criticize radical Islam. This is similar to the days of Joe McCarthy, when more people began to see the would-be victims of McCarthyism as all innocent, even though by adopting that pose, many actual spies managed to get away without anything being done to them, out of our fear that they might have had their rights taken away unjustly. It became more of a slander to call someone a McCarthyism than to call a Red a Red, which resulted only in charges that one was unfairly Red-baiting.

Finally, does anyone remember the 1978 massacre by the self-proclaimed Marxist leader of the People’s Temple, Rev. Jim Jones, in Guyana? An astounding 918 people, many women and young children, were forced to commit “revolutionary suicide”  by the maniacal Marxist, whose project was building a socialist utopia in Guyana and whose Temple in San Francisco had been praised by Rosalynn Carter, Jerry Brown, Walter Mondale, and scores of leftists who were active in the SF area.

Jones’ Temple led to the mayoralty victory of George Moscone, who then made Jones head of SF’s housing authority. Jones regularly read to his members from the works of North Korea’s Kim Il Jong, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, and, of course, the Soviet Union’s totalitarian leader, Joseph Stalin. A self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist [8], Jones freely borrowed his ideology from those folks and from the later West Coast New Left, including the Black Panther Party.

I do not seem to recall any American leftists at the time acknowledging that his actions and beliefs stemmed from their ideas and beliefs, although it obviously had. None made the kind of public statement [9] John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine made yesterday, that we had to acknowledge Breivik “is exactly the kind of psychotic ideologue of the Right so many in this country instantly assumed Jared Loughner, the schizophrenic who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was — and this fact seems to have inspired a bizarre score-settling glee.”

That he does take his views from the Right does not, therefore, mean that those views are all wrong — since those writers he had studied have condemned his actions in their entirety. Why should these murders give the left-wing activists such pleasure, Podhoretz righgtfully asks? And in a masterful New York Times op-ed [10] today, columnist Ross Douthat writes that “The darkest aspects of his ideology belong strictly to the neo-fascist fringe. But many of his beliefs and arguments echo the rhetoric of mainstream cultural conservatives, in Europe and America alike.” It is fair, however, he notes, to call “Breivik a right-winger.” We must not be afraid to acknowledge that, and to be candid in letting people know from where he got some of his ideas.

But people like Robert Spencer or Bruce Bawer are no more responsible for Brevik’s actions than the Beatles were for the grisly murders carried out by Charles Manson, who said he had been inspired by their music. Douthat points out:

His compendium quotes repeatedly from conservative writers on both sides of the Atlantic, and it’s filled with attacks on familiar right-wing targets:

Secularism and political correctness; the European Union and the sexual revolution; radical Islam and the academic left.

Indeed, stripped of their context, some of his critiques of multiculturalism and immigration resemble arguments that have been advanced, not just by Europe’s far-right parties, but by mainstream conservative leaders such as David Cameron in Britain, Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France.

He continues:

How should European conservatives react? Not with the pretense that there’s somehow no connection whatsoever between Breivik’s extremism and the broader continental right. While his crimes should be denounced and disowned, their ideological pedigree has to be admitted.

But this doesn’t mean that conservatives need to surrender their convictions. The horror in Norway no more discredits Merkel’s views on Muslim assimilation [11] than Ted Kaczynski’s bombs discredited Al Gore’s views on the dark side of industrialization.

Al Gore’s ideas can be discredited on their own, as many have done. It cannot be accomplished, as some tried at the time, by trying to discredit Gore because the Unabomber used his words for his own purposes. As wrong as Gore might be, it is not because a madman said he agreed with him and took the kind of terrorist action that Gore never supported.

The point is that the conservatives, as Douthat says, are right in their warnings. The tragedy of the madman’s murders in Norway, as horrible as they are, must not allow us to ignore the big picture. If we do, he has indeed won more than he intended. So I hereby second Douthat’s argument:

Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic have an obligation to acknowledge that Anders Behring Breivik is a distinctively right-wing kind of monster. But they also have an obligation to the realities that this monster’s terrible atrocity threatens to obscure. Amen.

URLs in this post:

[1] Story:

[2] Anders Behring Breivik:

[3] Jihad Watch:

[4] Who beheaded his wife:

[5] Sami Al-Arian:

[6] points out:

[7] Journal:

[8] self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist:

[9] public statement:

[10] op-ed:

[11] Merkel’s views on Muslim assimilation:



Killings in Norway Spotlight Anti-Muslim Thought in U.S.


July 24, 2011

The suspect behind the attacks in Norway said he believed multiculturalism to be a threat.

The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam, lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations from them, as well as copying multiple passages from the tract of the Unabomber.

In the document he posted online, Anders Behring Breivik, who is accused of bombing government buildings and killing scores of young people at a Labor Party camp, showed that he had closely followed the acrimonious American debate over Islam.

His manifesto, which denounced Norwegian politicians as failing to defend the country from Islamic influence, quoted Robert Spencer, who operates the Jihad Watch Web site, 64 times, and cited other Western writers who shared his view that Muslim immigrants pose a grave danger to Western culture.

More broadly, the mass killings in Norway, with their echo of the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by an antigovernment militant, have focused new attention around the world on the subculture of anti-Muslim bloggers and right-wing activists and renewed a debate over the focus of counterterrorism efforts.

In the United States, critics have asserted that the intense spotlight on the threat from Islamic militants has unfairly vilified Muslim Americans while dangerously playing down the threat of attacks from other domestic radicals. The author of a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism withdrawn by the department after criticism from conservatives repeated on Sunday his claim that the department had tilted too heavily toward the threat from Islamic militants.

The revelations about Mr. Breivik’s American influences exploded on the blogs over the weekend, putting Mr. Spencer and other self-described “counterjihad” activists on the defensive, as their critics suggested that their portrayal of Islam as a threat to the West indirectly fostered the crimes in Norway.

Mr. Spencer wrote on his Web site,, that “the blame game” had begun, “as if killing a lot of children aids the defense against the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, or has anything remotely to do with anything we have ever advocated.” He did not mention Mr. Breivik’s voluminous quotations from his writings.

The Gates of Vienna, a blog that ordinarily keeps up a drumbeat of anti-Islamist news and commentary, closed its pages to comments Sunday “due to the unusual situation in which it has recently found itself.”

Its operator, who describes himself as a Virginia consultant and uses the pseudonym “Baron Bodissey,” wrote on the site Sunday that “at no time has any part of the Counterjihad advocated violence.”

The name of that Web site — a reference to the siege of Vienna in 1683 by Muslim fighters who, the blog says in its headnote, “seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe” — was echoed in the title Mr. Breivik chose for his manifesto: “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.” He chose that year, the 400th anniversary of the siege, as the target for the triumph of Christian forces in the European civil war he called for to drive out Islamic influence.

Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism, said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time, he said the counterjihad writers do argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. Well, they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”

“This rhetoric,” he added, “is not cost-free.”

Dr. Sageman, who is also a forensic psychiatrist, said he saw no overt signs of mental illness in Mr. Breivik’s writings. He said Mr. Breivik bears some resemblance to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, who also spent years on a manifesto and carried out his mail bombings in part to gain attention for his theories. One obvious difference, Dr. Sageman said, is that Mr. Kaczynski was a loner who spent years in a rustic Montana cabin, while Mr. Breivik appears to have been quite social.

Mr. Breivik’s declaration did not name Mr. Kaczynski or acknowledge the numerous passages copied from the Unabomber’s 1995 manifesto, in which the Norwegian substituted “multiculturalists” or “cultural Marxists” for Mr. Kaczynski’s “leftists” and made other small wording changes.

By contrast, he quoted the American and European counterjihad writers by name, notably Mr. Spencer, author of 10 books, including “Islam Unveiled” and “The Truth About Muhammad.”

Mr. Breivik frequently cited another blog, Atlas Shrugs, and recommended the Gates of Vienna among Web sites. Pamela Geller, an outspoken critic of Islam who runs Atlas Shrugs, wrote on her blog Sunday that any assertion that she or other antijihad writers bore any responsibility for Mr. Breivik’s actions was “ridiculous.”

“If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists,” she wrote.

Mr. Breivik also quoted European blogs and writers with similar themes, notably a Norwegian blogger who writes under the name “Fjordman.” Immigration from Muslim countries to Scandinavia and the rest of Europe has set off a deep political debate across the continent and strengthened a number of right-wing anti-immigrant parties.

In the United States, the shootings resonated with years of debate at home over the proper focus of counterterrorism.

Despite the Norway killings, Representative Peter T. King, the New York Republican who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he had no plans to broaden contentious hearings about the radicalization of Muslim Americans and would hold the third one as planned on Wednesday. He said his committee focused on terrorist threats with foreign ties and suggested that the Judiciary Committee might be more appropriate for looking at non-Muslim threats.

In 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security produced a report, “Rightwing Extremism,” suggesting that the recession and the election of an African-American president might increase the threat from white supremacists, conservatives in Congress strongly objected. Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, quickly withdrew the report and apologized for what she said were its flaws.

Daryl Johnson, the Department of Homeland Security analyst who was the primary author of the report, said in an interview that after he left the department in 2010, the number of analysts assigned to non-Islamic militancy of all kinds was reduced to two from six. Mr. Johnson, who now runs a private research firm on the domestic terrorist threat, DTAnalytics, said about 30 analysts worked on Islamic radicalism when he was there.

The killings in Norway “could easily happen here,” he said. The Hutaree, an extremist Christian militia in Michigan accused last year of plotting to kill police officers and planting bombs at their funerals, had an arsenal of weapons larger than all the Muslim plotters charged in the United States since the Sept. 11 attacks combined, he said.

Homeland Security officials disputed Mr. Johnson’s claim about staffing, saying they pay close attention to all threats, regardless of ideology. And the F.B.I. infiltrated the Hutaree, making arrests before any attack could take place.

John D. Cohen, principal deputy counterterrorism coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security, said Ms. Napolitano, who visited Oklahoma City last year for the 15th anniversary of the bombing there, had often spoken of the need to assess the risk of violence without regard to politics or religion.

“What happened in Norway,” Mr. Cohen said, “is a dramatic reminder that in trying to prevent attacks, we cannot focus on a single ideology.”

Source: New York Times,