Norwegian terrorist stirs multiculturalism opponents
Some commentary points to sympathy for the views of the Norwegian man alleged to have murdered 76 people last Friday in a terrorist attack that has stunned Norway.
Anders Behring Breivik's admission that he planted the car bomb at the Oslo prime minister's office and stalked a nearby island, killing 76, had led to speculation about the potential for more mass violence from Europe's radical right.Skip to next paragraph
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But some commentators argue that despite his deplorable methods, Mr. Breivik has a point: "Multiculturalism" has failed and Europe should turn back toward the narrower, traditional national cultures of the region.
They argue, Breivik's attacks – among the largest mass murders carried out by a single person in history – should push Europe to redouble its opposition to both Muslim immigration and to Islam itself.
Exhibit A this morning is a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Bruce Bawer, an Oslo-based American critic of the role of Islam in Europe, whose book "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within" was admiringly quoted by Breivik in the rambling 1,500 page manifesto he published online before his rampage.
Breivik – a self-described Christian nationalist opposed to the "Islamic colonization" of Europe abetted by mainstream European politicians ("a corrupt class of abject traitors") – argues that modern Europeans have been "indoctrinated" by a "multicultural orthodoxy." Both Bawer and Breivik appear to be of the belief that members of the European political elite are ignoring general public opposition to immigration and a growing threat to nations like Norway.
But while Bawer condemns Breivik's "unspeakably evil" approach to addressing such concerns, he appears far more concerned about the likelihood that Breivik's violent methods will detract from a cause they both care deeply about.
In a column at the Pajamas Media blog last Friday, Bawers worried "that legitimate criticism of Islam, which remains a very real threat to freedom in Norway and the West, has been profoundly discredited, in the eyes of many Norwegians, by association with this murderous lunatic."
Bawer has not been alone in worrying about the need to criticize Islam. Yesterday, a Jerusalem Post editorial made much the same point. "Europe’s fringe right-wing extremists present a real danger to society. But Oslo’s devastating tragedy should not be allowed to be manipulated by those who would cover up the abject failure of multiculturalism," goes the summary at the start of the editorial.