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What Anders Breivik did in Norway was a horrible tragedy
At least seven people died in Oslo after a huge car bomb exploded close to buildings which house the offices of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
A further 84 were killed when a man dressed as a police officer opened fire on the island of Utoya where a youth meeting of the ruling Labour Party was taking place.
I cannot imagine the absolute horror that these children had to face. As a parent, knowing that your child was in such danger and being unable to help would be absolutely maddening.
The greatest danger this of cowardly attack is dismissing it as the work of a lone madman. This attack was directed against the Labour Party. This was a gathering of youth from the Labour Party. Anders Breivik wanted to make commentary on immigration policies of the Labour Party.
Hassan Ali argues that hostility towards immigrants has been growing steadily in Norway over the past decade and blames the rise of right-wing parties in parliament, particularly the Progress Party, or FrP, which now holds the second-largest number of seats.
This mad man (Anders Behring Breivik) has been brain-washed by the far right party (FrP)… and has been following its ideology… and he needed to do something,” he said.
The FrP was attacking the Labour party because they were bringing Muslims to this country and defending their rights, their workplace and social rights.”
Mr Breivik was a member of the party for four years but the FrP denies it influenced him, saying his actions and beliefs are contrary to its policies and value-system.
”Over the last three years we have felt we are not welcome here,“ says Hassan Ali.
”Every Sunday the papers are writing only negative things about the Somalis. People are leaving and more will leave as the pressure builds up.”
Members of other immigrant communities are also concerned about what they say is the negative attitude towards them.
Kenneth, who came to Norway from Kenya six years ago, says he was on a plane when the attacks took place.
”The first thing someone said was that it was an immigrant and immigration should be stopped.”
A party or a people can not espouse anti-muslim sentiments and then be surprised when these thoughts have given rise to a mass murder. This had happened in Nazi germany, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka. Anders Brevik was a creation of the extremist views that pervaded his country.
Lars Buehler, a Norwegian scholar and terrorism expert, said he had debated with Breivik on an extremist website frequented by what he calls xenophobes and Islamaphobes all over Europe.
”I was the single opposing voice, arguing against the xenophobic, Islamaphobic postings and comments that were the norm on this page, and Breivik did not stand out with a particularly aggressive or violent rhetoric. He was quite mainstream, Mr Buehler said.
The rhetoric that fuels Anders Breivik exists in not so hidden forms in main stream society .
Following the devastation wreaked by Breivik, it was a week of intensive damage limitation for the anti-Islam populists of Europe. Alarmed they might be tarred by association with the Utøya massacre, the New Populists, usually if inaccurately dubbed neo-fascist or extreme right, have been in a hurry to disavow the Norwegian mass murderer and condemn the violence.
Among the extreme parties in Italy, France, Sweden and the Netherlands, politicians have been fired, suspended, disciplined or rebuked by their leaders for voicing sympathy with Breivik’s worldview – nostalgia for a conservative, traditionalist, whites-only Europe of a bygone age combined with blind fury at its dissolution in a globalised world.
If Breivik’s anger erupted in mass murder, the populist politicians use words as their weapons, posters and images for their witch hunts and scapegoating.
”In a Norwegian Norway this tragedy would never have happened,“ blogged Erik Hellsborn of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party. ”This was caused by multiculturalism.“ He was in trouble with the leadership of a party that campaigns to ”keep Sweden Swedish” in the country that is the most open to immigrants in Europe.
Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom party, who has been tried and acquitted on hate speech charges for his calculated provocations, is a favourite of Breivik, notching up 30 references in the manifesto. Wilders said he was appalled by Breivik, fearing that such actions could damage his campaign. “This is a slap in the face for the worldwide anti-Islam movement,” he said.
In Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, the Freedom party leader who associated with neo-Nazis in his youth and who is now neck-and-neck with the governing social democrats at the top of opinion polls, fired a party official who responded to the atrocities by declaring that the real danger was Islam rather than Breivik. The same party used a computer game as a campaign tool last year. In Mosque Bye-bye, the players zapped Muslim prayer houses, only to be told that the southern Styria region of Austria is “full of mosques and minarets”.
The idea for the game was imported from neighbouring Switzerland where the rightwing Swiss People’s party has powered its anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant referendum campaigns with potent, inflammatory posters almost always in stark red, white, and black, recalling Third Reich propaganda – grasping black hands scooping up red-and-white Swiss passports, three white sheep kicking a black sheep off a red-and-white Swiss flag.
As outlined in Breivik’s rambling manifesto, they largely dovetail with the views of the New Populists who combine a far-right outlook. Liberals and the left have been eager to seize on this, seeking to score political points by blaming figures such as Wilders or Strache for fostering a climate of hate, fear and prejudice that may not condone but nonetheless tacitly encourage violence.
I am unsure how any person can dismiss the inflammatory ideas of racisms and hatred from the actions of Anders Breivik. But, apparently it is possible:
An Italian MEP has described the ideas of Norway’s self-confessed mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik, as “good” and in some cases “excellent”.
Mario Borghezio, who belongs to the Northern League party, condemned Mr Breivik’s violence, but backed his stance against Islam.
“Some of the ideas he expressed are good, barring the violence. Some of them are great,” Mario Borghezio told Il Sole–24 Ore radio station.
He agreed with Mr Breivik’s “opposition to Islam and his explicit accusation that Europe has surrendered before putting up a fight against its Islamicisation”.
How does a person condemn mass murder and in the same breath condone the sick, cowardly ideology that lead to the act in the first place. What kind of mental gymnastics does a person need to perform not to see the hypocrisy ? Extremists views from the far right or the Jihadist have no place in a decent society. Free speech ends when violence, and murder is sanctioned.