Not only has it lost almost one hundred people to a senseless rampage, but legitimate criticism of Islam has been profoundly discredited by association with a murderous lunatic. Also read: Can the Left Resist the Temptation to Exploit the Norway Attacks?
July 23, 2011 – 2:35 pm – by Bruce Bawer
Living in Oslo during the past few years, I passed the government buildings downtown almost every day. I lived right up the road from them, only a five-minute walk; they were my gateway to downtown Oslo. Very often, when I looked over at these structures in which, I knew, the prime minister and all of the cabinet ministries had their offices, I shook my head in wonder at the utter lack of visible security. Almost never did I see a single armed — or even unarmed — guard. (The only exceptions were on the rare occasion when a blizzard of foreign flags and a motorcade parked on the sidewalk indicated that some president or prime minister was visiting from abroad.)
This lack of security was certainly not unusual for Norway, where the police don’t carry guns, and where the very idea of police carrying guns is widely looked upon as some holdover from an earlier stage of human evolution. But — hello — in front of the main office buildings of a Western European government? After 9/11? It seemed sheer madness. In recent weeks, passing grim-faced soldiers with machine guns at Amsterdam airport, and then outside the New York Stock Exchange, I thought immediately of those vulnerable-looking government buildings in Oslo.
When I first heard the news of the explosions at those buildings, my first thought, of course, was that it was a jihadist attack. But it wasn’t: it was a right-wing lunatic. It wasn’t jihad. It was a meaningless killing spree by a madman, like the ones at Columbine and Virginia Tech. A headline in one Norwegian newspaper today noted that the death toll in Oslo and at Utøya yesterday was higher than at Columbine and Virginia Tech combined. The Norwegian media have always reported on mass murders by lone gunmen in the U.S. as if they were things that could never happen in Norway: rather, they were symptoms of a sick society that Norwegians could never possibly understand. In Norway, they use the term “amerikanske tilstander” — American conditions. It never means anything good. Yesterday’s nightmare, from a Norwegian perspective, was the most American of American conditions.
Those of us who thought, in the first hours after the blasts in downtown Oslo, that we were witnessing yet another act of jihad can be forgiven. In a way, it made sense. 9/11, London, Madrid, Beslan, Bali, Mumbai — why not Oslo? Then again…Norway, although a member of NATO with troops in Afghanistan and Libya, was not exactly in the forefront of the struggle to defeat jihad. On the contrary. Norway calls itself “the peace country.” For years, the Norwegian government and cultural establishment have striven to communicate to even the most extreme elements of international Islam that they want to be friends. They’ve shown their good faith in a number of ways:
They’ve made a great show of treating Jews very shabbily. Jostein Gaarder, author of the international bestseller Sophie’s World, published an op-ed a few years back declaring his contempt for Israel and the Jewish people. When Gaarder came in for some criticism, many high-profile members of the Norwegian cultural elite rushed to stand shoulder to shoulder with him. If the cultural elite in Norway is more anti-Semitic than its counterparts in any other country in Europe, it has a great deal to do with the recognition that the more you like the Jews, the more you’ll antagonize the Muslims.
Meanwhile, here is the video of Bruce Bawer speaking on Islam and it’s effects on Western Liberal democracy in Europe in Ottawa 2009
Thanks Snaphanen for sending me this