29 July 2011

Thoughts on the Norway attacks

And so it came to pass that the bombing and massacre in Norway were carried out by a homegrown, lone-wolf terrorist with anti-Muslim sentiment, contrary to conjecture about al-QaΚΏida or other Islamist groups masterminding this horror.  I have to admit that Islamist terrorism was the first thing that popped into my head when I first heard that there was a bombing, but I wasn't so reckless as to make public declarations about it before I knew the details.  I would have hoped that professional journalists would hold themselves to an even higher standard than an ordinary citizen, but who am I kidding?

Left-wing commentators have been coming down hard with criticism toward anyone who incorrectly speculated that Islamic terrorists were behind the attack, solidifying their view that Christian extremists are just as bad. But is Anders Behring Breivik really a Christian extremist?  Anders Behring Breivik thinks so.

How sincere are his religious convictions?  From what I've gathered by skimming his manifesto, he was just an all-around deranged madman who admittedly hedged his bets on Pascal's wager before what he thought would be a suicide mission in the name of "cultural Christians" against the threat of multiculturalism.  Regardless of how much of a True Believer™ Breivik was, attempts to associate or dissociate him with Christianity are pointless; Jon Stewart did a great job pointing out how ridiculous it has become:

Right-wing pundits were quick to suggest that Breivik was right about the Islamic threat in Europe, though bombing government buildings and massacring children isn't a very effective way of fighting that threat.  If he believed that his country was under siege by Muslim invaders, why didn't he take the "fight" to his perceived enemy?  What did he think he was accomplishing by murdering all those people?

For what it's worth, I can somewhat understand the concern about multiculturalism - the "live and let live" attitude many Western governments have toward immigrants with no pressure to assimilate can lead to de facto segregated communities in which custom may supersede local law.  I've heard reports of troubling inicidents in majority Muslim communities in other countries such as the UK before, though I'm not sure how factual they are; similar reports coming from Dearborn, Michigan are mostly sourced from a Christian group with its own agenda.  Concern is one thing; paranoia is another.

Here's hoping that this atrocity is an isolated incident and not the start of a wider right-wing terror campaign.  The last thing any secular society needs right now is the additional threat of self-styled Crusaders attacking civilians.

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