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Norway’s day of terror

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A wounded woman is brought ashore opposite Utoeya island, Norway

A wounded woman is brought ashore opposite Utoeya island, Norway

BBC reports:

The man arrested following the attacks in Norway describes himself as a “nationalist”, according to the police.

In the purest sense of the word, he is not alone. On this day of grief, Norwegian people have united under their flag, vowing to stand firm against terror.

But the suspect, it seems, is no pure nationalist. Instead, he is said to be a right-wing extremist of the kind that police authorities in the West have feared for some time.

Their fear has been heightened by the potentially explosive mix of economic recession and unemployment, increasing racism and an ever stronger anti-Muslim sentiment, according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

Norway’s security police reported a mild increase in right-wing extremist activity last year and predicted that such activity would continue to increase throughout this year.

But it also suggested that the movement was weak, lacked a central leader and offered relatively modest growth potential.

The late Stieg Larsson, the Swedish crime writer famous for his Millennium trilogy, was one such expert.

In the mid-1990s, he founded the anti-racist, anti-extremist publication Expo following a sharp rise in violence carried out by neo-Nazis.

In an interview in connection with a documentary I was making at the time, he told me that Sweden was the world’s largest producer of so-called White Power Music and other racist propaganda, with an active, fast-growing and violent neo-Nazi movement.

Since then, it seems Norwegian far-right extremists have created stronger links with criminal communities, as well as with similar groups abroad, in Europe, Russia and the US.

Sweden, by contrast, has seen a sharp drop in far-right extremist activity since its peak in the mid-1990s, when every national newspaper in the country published identical editions with photos of every known neo-Nazi in the land.

But at the same time, aspects of the far-right agenda have risen to greater prominence on the mainstream political arena, with Expo reporting how the revulsion displayed by the Swedish people during the 1990s is increasingly turning towards a curiosity about toned-down far-right rhetoric.

Al Jazeera reports:

Suspected Norway attacker Anders Behring Breivik

Suspected Norway attacker Anders Behring Breivik

The man suspected of a bombing and shooting spree in Norway has called his deeds “atrocious but … necessary,” his lawyer has said.

In an interview with TV2 news on Saturday, Geir Lippestad, who is representing 32-year-old Anders Breivik, said his client was willing to explain himself in a court hearing on Monday.

Lippestad said: “He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary.”

A judge will decide at the hearing whether to keep the suspect in detention pending trial.

Telegraph (UK) added:

Norwegian police say a man in custody has confessed to a bombing and shooting spree that killed 92 people.

But Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim told reporters Sunday that the man, Anders Behring Breivik, does not accept criminal responsibility.

“He has admitted to the facts of both the bombing and the shooting, although he’s not admitting criminal guilt,” Mr Sponheim said.

“He says that he was alone but the police must verify everything that he said. Some of the witness statements from the island (shootings) have made us unsure of whether there was one or more shooters.”

Sponheim said police had no other suspects for the worst massacre committed in Norway since World War Two, in which 97 people were also wounded. Several people also remain missing, which could raise the death toll.

NYT carried this oped:

Breivik is no loner. His violence was brewed in a specific European environment that shares characteristics with the specific American environment of Loughner: relative economic decline, a jobless recovery, middle-class anxiety and high levels of immigration serving as the backdrop for racist Islamophobia and use of the spurious specter of a “Muslim takeover” as a wedge political issue to channel frustrations rightward.

In a June 11 entry from his 1,500-page online manifesto, Breivik wrote: “I prayed for the first time in a very long time today. I explained to God that unless he wanted the Marxist-Islamic alliance and the certain Islamic takeover of Europe to completely annihilate European Christendom within the next hundred years he must ensure that the warriors fighting for the preservation of European Christendom prevail.”

Two days later, he tests his homemade bomb: “BOOM! The detonation was successful.”

European Christendom in this context is a mirror image of the idealized caliphate of Osama bin Laden. It is a dream-world cause through which to enlist the masses in apocalyptical warfare against an “infidel” enemy supposedly threatening the territory, morals and culture of an imagined community of devout believers.

This particular Christian Europe — the Continent is overwhelmingly secular for reasons that have nothing to do with a growing Muslim presence — is just as fantastical as a restored 7th-century dominion of the caliph. Bin Laden inveighed against “crusaders.” Breivik attended a 2002 meeting to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader military order. This is the stuff of video games — except that it kills real teenagers of all faiths.

What has become clear in Oslo and on Utoya Island is that delusional anti-Muslim rightist hatred aimed at “multiculturalist” liberals can be just as dangerous as Al Qaeda’s anti-infidel poison: Breivik alone killed many more people than the four Islamist suicide bombers in the 7/7 London attack of 2005.

Breivik has many ideological fellow travelers on both sides of the Atlantic. Theirs is the poison in which he refined his murderous resentment. The enablers include Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, who compared the Koran to “Mein Kampf” on his way to 15.5 percent of the vote in the 2010 election; the surging Marine Le Pen in France, who uses Nazi analogies as she pours scorn on devout Muslims; far-rightist parties in Sweden and Denmark and Britain equating every problem with Muslim immigration; Republicans like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Representative Peter King, who have found it politically opportune to target “creeping Shariah in the United States” at a time when the middle name of the president is Hussein; U.S. church pastors using their bully pulpits week after week to say America is a Christian nation under imminent threat from Islam.

Muslims over the past decade have not done enough to denounce those who deformed their religion in the name of jihadist murder. Will the European and U.S. anti-immigrant Islamophobic crowd now denounce what Breivik has done under their ideological banner? I doubt it. We’ll be hearing a lot about what a loner he was.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

July 23, 2011 at 9:22 am

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