Western duplicity over Oslo massacre

Western duplicity over Oslo massacre

Western and West Asian reactions to last Friday’s massacre of the innocents in Norway reveal that the already wide political divide between the Christian and Muslim worlds is deepening.  

The New York Times instantly reported that a previously unknown group calling itself ‘Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami’ (Helpers of Global Jihad) had claimed responsibility for the the atrocity. The British Broadcasting Corporation repeated this false allegation. Both quickly dropped it, when the lone perpetrator was identified as Anders Behring Breivik, an ethnic Norwegian Christian.

Others were not as honest. Disgraced media mogul Rupert Murdock’s British tabloid, The Sun, carried the headline, “Al-Qaeda Massacre, Norway’s 9/11,” referring to al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

On its front page the Wall Street Journal, also owned by Murdoch, reported Breivik as the bomber/shooter but contradicted this story by publishing an editorial claiming that al-Qaeda had off-shoots in Sweden and Norway and blaming the attacks on ‘Jihadists,’ Muslim holy warriors. Once it was clear that the paper was wrong, it tried to shrug off its ‘mistake’ by saying “coordinated terrorist attacks are an al-Qaeda signature.”  Then the paper went on to say, “But copycats with different agendas are surely capable of duplicating its methods.”

Blame for the atrocity
In other words, al-Qaeda was, according to the Journal, ultimately, to blame for the atrocity. The paper also carried an opinion article by Bruce Bower, a US writer resident in Norway who wrote a book entitled ‘While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within.’

Breivik not only expressed admiration of this book but also quoted passages from it in his 1,500 page manifesto posted on the internet. He was a fan of ‘Jihad Watch’ which expresses Islamophobe views of US citizen Robert Spencer who holds that all Muslims are guilty of the attacks on the US and elsewhere. Another site favoured by Breivik was

‘The Gates of Vienna,’ a reference to the Christian defeat of the Ottoman Turks during the siege of Vienna in 1529. This battle halted the Ottoman march into western Europe. Breivik also claimed to be the member of the Knights Templar, a group of anti-Muslim extremists inspired by a military order formed during the Christian Crusades.

Glenn Beck, a commentator on Murdoch-owned outlet Fox Cable News, even blamed the victims: he remarked that the slain youths were attending a ‘political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth.’ Arab and Muslim media outlets and commentators branded Breivik a ‘Christian extremist’ or ‘Christian terrorist,’ using this characterisation with some satisfaction because Muslims are promptly accused whenever attacks take place in western countries. Some analysts point out that he commissioned from an Indian firm a uniform badge depicting a skull bearing the symbols of Communism, Islam and Nazism impaled by a cross, the symbol of Christianity.

Serious western and West Asian analysts argue that Brievik’s modus operandi was American rather than Arab. He copied Timothy McVeigh, the US army veteran who bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma city in 1995, killing 168 people and wounding 680. Breivik adopted McVeigh’s recipe for a fertiliser-based car bomb to target government offices in Oslo before making for Utoya island where he slaughtered youngsters gathered for a summer camp that had been addressed by senior Labour party politicians.  

Breivik’s background and motivations have been dissected by the world press.  European editorialists have expressed the view that right-wing parties and groups may have to tone down their rhetoric to avoid being blamed for creating a climate of hatred of immigrants. Some European politicians have vowed to isolate hate groups and curb their propaganda.              

The focus on Breivik’s politics contrasts with the line adopted by western media when discussing the political motivation of Muslims who strike western targets. Even  newspapers do not mention that Muslims have serious reasons for attacking the west: longstanding backing for repressive dictators, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and, above all, the planting of Israel in Palestine. These causes are rarely mentioned because no one has any intention of addressing them, thereby ensuring that Arab and Muslim grievances are likely to explode into violent action.

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