What drives a young and heretofore regular Norwegian man to carry out a savage attack on the moderate political order of his country? What drove one Anders Behring Breivik to murder 80 Norwegian children and to attack the centre of his country’s political life?
Clearly, the blame for this horrifying attack must lie with him. His decisions are his own. But we must consider that he was provided with the necessary ideological fuel to legitimise his bigotry and drive him to take drastic measures to alter a system which he may well have believed operated against the interests of the Norwegian people.
We must consider that the growth and transatlantic nature of the new far-right anti-Muslim movement figured largely in this man’s decision to attack his own country.
The key figures in this movement have risen to prominence in theUnited Statesin recent years but their influence among certain right-wing journalists, public intellectuals and organisations on our side of theAtlantichas been growing.
We must fully understand the ways in which they exploit European concerns and fears over immigration to promote their anti-Muslim agenda. We must understand that these ideologues, bloggers and self-aggrandising so-called scholars do not have the best interests of the “West” at heart. They hate for hate’s sake. They channel energies that, in times past, would have been directed against the Black man, or the Jew, against a new target – the Muslim. And they legitimise their activities with the thin claim they oppose Islamism and not Muslims themselves.
I am referring here primarily to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer (though are many others who also require urgent attention). From their bases in the United States, they influence and in some cases direct prominent right-wingers in continental Europe and here in the United Kingdom. Their fingerprints can be found on the statements and beliefs of figures including Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, organisations such as the English Defence League and, tragically, the mass-murderer of upwards of sixty teenagers – Anders Behring Breivik.
Atlas Shrugs – Rape and Rabid Racism
We now know from media reports that Breivik was a reader of Geller’s popular Atlas Shrugs blog. Specifically, he recommended a post by her in which she referred to a non-existent “media blackout” inFrance with reference to riots by ethnic minorities there. Instead of attributing the social problems of ethnic minorities in France to the same factors that one would find at play among Black or Hispanic (non-Muslim) minorities in the US – indeed, on full display in her home city of New York – she refers to “Muslims rampaging…, destroying and setting alight the streets of France”. She goes on to sketch out a grand conspiracy of government and media intent on aiding and abetting the so-called Islamisation of Europe describing “submission” by the media “fifth column” to the invading hordes.
Geller will no doubt protest her innocence of any charge of race-bating but her behaviour speaks volumes.
In the agonising hours when the Breivik massacre was still ongoing and the facts were yet to be established, Geller predictably began covering what information was available. She included in one post – Friday, July 22, at 1437 – a host of links to her previous posts that dealt with Norway. One of these links referred to the horrific charge that every single rape committed in Oslo is committed by a Muslim (which, if true, would render the Norwegian capital entirely rape-free, but for the Muslim invaders). She has since removed that link. Could it be that such wild accusations drive men like Breivik to believe that their country is being systematically destroyed by some Islamic-Leftist conspiracy to pillage the country? She also removed a link to a “Letter from Norway” but kept all the links (here, here and here) that deal with a “genocide” against Jews in Norway.
This grand conspiracy is what Geller and those of her ilk routinely refer to as “Eurabia” (a child-like linguistic construction denoting the supposed Muslim takeover of Europein collusion with (invariably leftist) political elites – a term used by the extremist England-based pseudo-historian Bat Ye’or in her book Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis).
On her blog, under the category “Eurabia: Dhimmitude”, there are no less than 481 entries describing the ongoing destruction of Europe at the hands of an evil Islamic/Leftist conspiracy. This includes “Germany Going Islam”, with the “grotesque” Muslim conquest being already a “fait accompli”.
How can a naïve and impressionable young man from a small nation like Norway(with a population far less than that of London) fail to be concerned when reading the shocking revelations on display on the Atlas Shrugs blog? How can he fail to fear for the cultural future of his country when the Muslim hordes are secretly planning – like the malicious Jew of Nazi myth rubbing his hands in glee as his evil plans take shape – to conquer Europethrough stealth? Geller describes the possibility (and a possibility is all it is) of Turkish entry into the European Union thus:
Turkeywould be the first Muslim majority country granted admittance into the EU. This would, in one stealth action, result in the radical islamization of the EU. Larger states have more votes than smaller ones in the EU andTurkey would be the largest, most populated country in the organization. [My emphasis]
What is a man to do when his entire civilisation is said to be under relentless Muslim attack, with the collusion of his own “fifth column” government and media? Indeed, it is likely that Anders Breivik saw genocide in his future.
Geller is a proponent of the outrageous libel that Muslims are responsible for 270 million deaths (here and here) – surely an apocalypse by any standard – in addition to mass “cultural annihilation” that continues unabated to this day in various countries. Was Breivik driven by the belief that his nation will join the ranks of the fictitious 270 million souls lost to the Islamic savages? It certainly seems that way since he states in his manifesto that “Islam (ism) has historically led to 300 million deaths” (rounding up Geller’s figure to the nearest 100 million for better effect). Did he believe that drastic action was needed to overturn the regime of the “fifth column” of government and media that facilitates and enables the grand conquest ofEurope? It would be difficult for any impressionable person to come away from Geller’s horrifying blog without feeling thatEurope is on the brink of a cataclysm that would make the Nazi Holocaust look like spilt milk.
What did Breivik himself recommend, according to the London-based Guardian newspaper? “Join organisations like Stop the Islamisation of Europe” is one tactic that he suggests. This is, of course, the European counterpart of Geller and Spencer’s Stop the Islamisation of America which Geller bizarrely likes to describe as a “prominent human rights organisation” in faked news (here, here, here, here, here and here among others) reports that are written by her (or her allies) and presented as legitimate news coverage via Yahoo! News, PR Newswire and other outlets.
He also recommends reading a book written by the popular anti-Muslim blogger who calls himself “Fjordman” entitled Defeating Eurabia (that word again) which he recommends as “the perfect Christmas gift for family and friends”. He poses the chilling question:
“How many thousands of new Europeans must die, how many one hundred thousand [sic] European women should be raped, millions robbed and tractor discarded [sic] before you understand that multiculturalism + Islam does not work?”
Breivik also hopes for the establishment of a Norwegian equivalent to the extreme right-wing English Defence League, which is regularly praised by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Geller has referred to the EDL as “the standard bearers of freedom in the UK”. Spencer’s ringing endorsement of the EDL stated that the decision to form a Jewish Division of the fascist group was “a development much to be applauded” and had praised them for their efforts to “confront official British dhimmitude” (see below for a discussion this term). According to Spencer, the EDL “deserves the support of all free people” in its crusade to defend England against “the global jihad and Islamization of Britain”. The Guardian has suggested that Breivik was in contact with the EDL. The EDL, for its part, “vehemently” denies this or any association with Breivik.
Robert Spencer – Pseudo-Scholar and Shaper of the Debate
While Pamela Geller provides what one could cautiously describe as the charisma and charm necessary to promulgate these hateful views, she does not generally pose as a scholar or learned person in matters relating to the Islamic religion and the history of the Islamic world. She does claim, though, to have “immersed” herself in the study of geopolitics in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The child-like logic that characterises her blog does not bear out this claim, however.
The anti-Muslim hate movement requires two things: public figures willing to promulgate their views and their anti-Muslim agenda and a team of “scholars” in the background providing an academic edge to this bigotry.
Prominent anti-Muslim bigots like Pamela Geller (a frequent contributor on Fox News), Glenn Beck (who needs no introduction), Douglas Murray in the United Kingdom (a frequent contributor the BBC and avowed Neoconservative who has stated that “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board”), Melanie Phillips who writes for the London-based Daily Mail newspaper, The Spectator Magazine, Standpoint, The Jewish Chronicle and The Australian (and has described Arabs as “savages” and referred to “the Arab poison”) among others require a scholarly source of information so as to present their neo-fascist hate as fact.
This is where a contingent of individuals, posing as academics, comes in. Daniel Pipes has long been the favoured go-to pseudo academic of choice (he has never held a tenured position in a university and publishes nothing in reputable peer-reviewed journals of international relations or Middle Eastern/Islamic studies). He has in recent times been eclipsed by the prolific charlatan and dilettante Robert Spencer. Around Spencer, and providing important historical “sources” are Andrew Bostom (a medical professional by training who has no formal education in Islamic studies – his “work” has been used as a source of information by both Spencer and Melanie Phillips); Ibn Warraq, who claims to be an “apostate” from Islam, also lauded by Geller as “the world’s leading scholar on [sic] Islam”(he also has held no position in academia and has contributed no original research whatsoever to the field of Islamic studies); Bat Ye’or, an England-based extremist “historian” and the most prominent promulgator of the “Eurabia” fallacy (Geller relies on her writings to legitimise her claims of grand “genocide” by Muslims and features her frequently on her Atlas Shrugs blog – her work is also admired by Melanie Phillips); Bruce Bawer, the (ominously) Norway-based American author of such hateful work as While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and, Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom.
It is Robert Spencer though, who sits at the head of this contingent of hatemongers, using as his primary vehicle his widely read and wildly popular blog JihadWatch. This blog, which according to Spencer is a provider of “cutting-edge” scholarship, is described in grandiose terms as a “program of the David Horowitz Freedom Centre” and provides running coverage of terrorism all over the world. It also runs an ongoing smear campaign against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and reputable scholars such as Reza Aslan (here, here, here, here, here and here), Tariq Ramadan (here, here, here, here and here) and John Esposito (here, here, here, here and here for Geller’s contribution).
The blog also covers the ongoing and wide-ranging “stealth Jihad” by the Muslim Brotherhood aimed, Spencer and the other contributors to his blog claim, at conquering the United States and overturning the Constitution. All activities of Muslims are framed as part of a massive orchestrated conspiracy to infiltrate the West with a view to its eventual destruction.
Spencer is also a prolific writer who has written and “edited” many books which pose as academic analyses of Islam and Islamic history. It is worth noting here that Spencer knows no Arabic and on that basis is wholly unable to use primary source material in his efforts to provide his hateful rhetoric with the appearance of scholarship. He has no formal training in Islamic studies. His published works include such titles as The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran (which features a cartoon picture of a bomb on the cover), The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades (which, in an indication of its seriousness, features a cartoon pig’s head on the front cover) and, most tellingly and perhaps most relevant to the Breivik massacre: Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs. He has also “edited” (note the academic pretence), The Myth of Islamic Tolerance which features a “forward” by Ibn Warraq (see above). This book amounts to nothing more than a paper blog, consisting of printed posts by the aforementioned collective of pseudo-intellectual bigots: 15 posts by Spencer himself, 18 posts by Bat Ye’or and others by Daniel Pipes, Ibn Warraq and other prominent figures in the fraud that misleads thousands of people.
It is Robert Spencer who provides the vocabulary that so grossly defines Muslims as a collective and monolithic enemy of the West. His regular use of the word ‘”stealth” is frequently echoed by Daniel Pipes and others. He frequently describes Muslims as “Islamic supremacists”. This is a particularly heinous attempt to hijack the legitimate repugnance invoked by this word when used in reference to white supremacists around the world. The “Islamic supremacist” angle is a particularly telling insight into the intellectual limitations that beset Spencer and all of his work. How can a religion that accepts new believers and desires all of humanity to be spiritually saved possibly be described as “supremacist”, when membership is open to every single human being on the face of the earth? One evidently cannot become Caucasian, which is what provides the term “supremacist” with all of its frightening power.
Here though, we must consider the word “Dhimmi” and the chilling fact that this term has indeed been used by Anders Breivik in his online contributions to debates surrounding immigration and multiculturalism in Europe. Briefly, the word describes the status of Christians and Jews in historical Islamic empires, whose social status and limitations were clearly defined. In return they were protected by the Islamic authorities from internal and external threats. The historic result was that Christians and Jews experienced nothing like the persecution that prevailed in Europe at that time.
Spencer has perverted this term and uses it frequently to describe Western politicians and media personalities who display no hatred of Muslims. Anders Breivik described many times the state of “Dhimmitude” in Norwegian life – established subservience to the supposed Islamic conquerors in Europe – a term which was coined by Bat Ye’or.
This method of formalising the so-called Islamisation of Europe with vocabulary that sounds like the terminology of the social sciences serves to cement in the heads of impressionable Europeans with legitimate concerns about both immigration and terrorism that all is lost. That their governments are against them, in collusion with their Muslim neighbours and that tomorrow, Norway will cease to be Norway.
What can be done?
This movement has a set of ideological leaders – most prominent among them Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. But the strength of Geller and Spencer is that they hold no official role in any extremist right wing party. They must, however, be outed as the key ideological protagonists in the new right wing movements which are gaining prominence and influence across he Western World. The United States has become the base of a hate ideology that has now claimed the lives of children in Europe.
The information age and the growth of social networking and the internet means that what were once local issues have become global in scope. These developments have demonstrated their power for good in the world – see the Arab Spring – but they can also have the opposite effect. Instead of motivating people to grasp what is good and decent in life, these extremists are promoting hate and social tension which, as a European, I believe will ultimately become unsustainable.
Before the Oslo massacre, the hate of Geller, Spencer, Beck and the rest was palpable in Europe. It was not, however, a key influence in a mass murderer.
This is no longer the case. The transatlantic network of hate with its intellectual roots in the United States must be tackled head on.
Norway must be the wakeup call.