Norway Massacre: The Outcome of Hate or the Beginning?
Downtown Oslo, Norway now resembles one of many war-torn streets around the world; blasted buildings, blown out windows, shattered glass, death and destruction. This is not war-time; however, there is a political tug of war going on in Europe, with tensions simmering below the surface of urbane European life, and the murderer of Norway has opened Pandora’s box. Norway witnessed cold-blooded murder when one man disguised as a policeman killed more than 85 people in a bomb blast in Oslo that was followed by a massacre on Utoya Island
At first authorities thought the incident was Al-Qaeda related, but later discovered that a fellow countryman, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, was responsible self for the brutal killings. Witnesses say that Anders Behring Breivik, dressed as a policeman, lured people – mostly children and teenagers – out of hiding then shot them on Utoya Island.
Norway is home to the Nobel Peace Prize and is known for its tolerance and foreign aid. Breivik justified his brutal acts by saying Norway is being colonized by Muslims, however, the CIA World Factbook states that only 2% of Norway’s citizens were of non-European background as of 2007, while more than 94 per cent of the population were ethnic Norwegians.
Moreover, Norway does not have a history of Muslims immigrating there, compared to countries like England and France which had formally colonized Muslim countries. The Muslims entering countries like Norway and Denmark have arrived recently from a variety of countries. Without a colonial background, the recently-arrived Muslims have little knowledge of the language of these countries and this has created some tensions within political circles with most mainstream leaders committed to open and tolerant immigration policies.
Breivik is identifying himself as a conservative Christian opposed to Marxist conspiracies and the perceived Muslim colonization of Europe.
In response, the head of the world’s largest ecumenical group accused the gunman of blasphemy for using Christianity as a justification in his brutally murderous attacks, considering any connection with this blatant terrorism and Christianity as sacrilegiou.
As discussions of extremist ideologies being discussed on the Web increase, Christian leaders see the recent attack in Norway as a wake-up call and acknowledge the need to prevent their faith being used as justification for violence Breivik, who had been planning this murderous attack for a long time, has admitted responsibility for the massacre adding that his actions were ‘atrocious’ but ‘necessary’. He has thought deeply and has been planning for the operation since 2009. He wrote a lengthy manifesto which contains rants on why he believes his actions are justified. In his manifesto, Breivik, a neo-Nazi, attacks Marxism and is clearly anti-Islam. He is also a Knight Templar .
Although the far-right exists in Europe – including Norway – Norwegian intelligence did not consider it as serious a threat as Islamic extremists. When news of the bombing in Oslo, followed by the massacre of the island, came in, authorities assumed at first that Islamic extremists were responsible Focus shifted, however, when police realized an ethnic Norwegian with extreme right-wing political opinions was responsible for the carnage.
A recent report issued by the Norwegian Police Security Service noted that there has been a rise in far-right activity, yet the Prime Minister maintained that Norway had no problem with right-wing extremism. The same report indicated contact between far-right extremists and criminal groups that facilitated access to weapons and therefore potential for violence.
Since 2006, the far right has been resurgent in Europe, with extreme right-wing political parties scoring unprecedented electoral success in a number of European countries. Until last Friday’s massacre, governments and security services considered this a worrying, but containable, trend . Intelligence agencies have been focusing their attention on al-Qaeda for the last decade, but have now turned their attention to a new and deadly threat. Extreme right-wing activists and those who sympathize with them are increasing in number. They are characterized by defiant and aggressive defense of their national culture and history , seeing globalization and mass immigration – especially Muslims – as threatening their identity.
Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in the Netherlands is an example. Such people often use powerful historical and cultural reference points to form new alliances, thereby creating fear in the masses, and more and more Europeans are taking notice. Wilders’ Freedom Party is the third-largest in the Netherlands and other similar parties throughout Europe secured encouraging results in elections in the last eighteen months.
Geert Wilders has proven it is legal to criticize Islam and he does so quite freely. Not only has Wilders vilified the Quran and Prophet Muhammad , but he has also incited hate against Muslims Wilders has also called for immigration of Muslims to Europe to stop, warning that if it does not there will be more mosques than churches and Europeans will lose their freedom.
The supposedly tolerant European society has undergone a shift, and Wilders’s Party for Freedom won 15 percent of the vote in national elections and his ideas are slowly taking root in mainstream politics. Evidence of this is that The Netherlands has some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe and has banned the niqab.
As long as people sit back and listen to politicians like Wilders rant about Muslims and immigration, he and those like him, become emboldened to take their anti-Islam rhetoric a step further. Last Friday, Norway saw what that next step might be.
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg believes the attacks were the result of grievances against Norway’s immigration policy of a lone gunman and assures that he will answer this attack with ‘more democracy, and more openness’ However, the ease with which one individual was able to bomb government buildings and carry out a massacre a short distance away means that security in Norway must come under review. The degree of trust in Norwegian society has now been threatened, but with its values based on openness, Norway is resisting tighter security.
Murdered for a racist ideology, the 93 adults and children killed at the island and in Oslo’s bombing attacks have been mourned by people throughout Norway and beyond. The Labor Party remains committed to having the summer camp again next year but with more security.
Norway is now confronting the realization that Breivik is not a lone madman, but is a highly-organized Norwegian political terrorist who claims to be part of a Europe-wide movement opposed to Muslim immigrants and multiculturalism. Breivik intends to use this atrocity to espouse anti-immigrant politics that have become increasingly popular throughout Europe.
s European intelligence officials now face two parallel terror threats, one proclaiming Islam and one anti-Islamic, Norway continues to commit itself to immigration, multiculturalism and humanity . At the same time, the extent of the extreme right-wing movement in Europe – that includes elected parties and movements – is alarming authorities as they seek to police a political movement that had been considered alarming but largely non-violent in the past.
Breivik – a member of an international network describes himself as a member of a nine-year-old organization he calls the Knights Templar Justiciar who pledge to use “martyrdom” to crush Muslim immigration, multiculturalism, and the individuals and parties who tolerate immigrants. The True Finns an extreme-right party in Finland, holds about 20% of the seats in parliament.
Such organizations mistakenly believe that Muslims will become a majority in Europe after which a racial war will be necessary. Breivik refers to popular anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalism writers and figureheads like Geert Wilders, and Canadian Mark Steyn to characterize Muslims as being united in an ideological conspiracy to impose a ‘Eurabia’ through ‘demographic warfare ‘ and thereby dominate the population.
The mass murderer of Norway seems to be achieving his aims, as the issues of immigration and multiculturalism are now being highlighted and debated. Some are concerned that vigilantes copying Breivik – may also try to take the law into their own hands if governments do not address these issues to their liking. The grotesque incident in Norway has sparked open debate, much to the relief of many Europeans are concerned with immigration and multiculturalism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy of France have stated their dissatisfaction for multiculturalism. However, statements like this offer no solution and only feed already increasing anger. Some groups blame Muslims for many of society’s social ills, a frightening reminder of Germany in the early to mid 1900s.
Groups are now urging governments across Europe to deal more urgently with the issue of immigration and the perceived influence of multiculturalism across the continent, warning that things may get more out of control if the issues are not addressed.