I'm sure by now most have heard of the tragic attack that occurred in Norway, but to summarize, a 32 year old Norweigan man called Anders Breivik went to Utoya Island, Norway, which I believe is the site of the Labour Party youth camp, and then opened fire killing many people. The figure seems to vary as is expected but generally from what I've read is around 68-76, and that is directly from the shootings. I'm not sure if there were any more deaths elsewhere linked to Breivik, however it is also worth mentioning that he is being linked to some explosions that occurred two hours before his rampage in Oslo, which killed a further 8 people. Oh, and he did this all dressed as a police officer.
Now for me, the first thing that came to my mind when I heard this was, who and why. Who would do this, and why? Obviously details are still emerging and I am by no means an expert on this issue but Breivik stated the following as the reason for his attack: (taken from wikipedia)
''Breivik stated the purpose of the attack was to "send a strong message to the people and cause maximum amount of damage to the Labour Party to stop its recruitment" and to stop "a deconstruction of Norwegian culture and mass-import of Muslims". He added: "I had to save Norway and Western Europe from a Muslim takeover. The purpose of the assassinations was to give a symbol to the people. The Labour Party have betrayed the country and the people. The price for this they had to pay yesterday"''
So straight away what is quite clear is that he is a right wing extremist and a nationalist, and this seems to be the main motive behind the attacks. Also more specifically, he seeks the increase in Muslim immigration into Europe as the reason for his attacks. Now, I am not a Muslim myself and have many issues with Islam, but one thing which I think very few will deny, and also what I think most people will agree is extremely unfair is the fact that we currently live in a world where every time something explodes or somebody blows something up, every time somebody goes on a killing spree, straight away people think Muslims are behind it. If you ask me, the media are to blame for this, and it disgusts me at what gets printed at times. For example, want to guess who the sun blamed for this? Well, check for yourself:
Yes ladies and gents, apparently this was an ''Al-Qaeda'' massacre. Now, yes I know they use speech marks to suggest that this is just a rumour and not necessarily what they think, but talk about jumping the gun... Sorry, but when you print stuff like that, you are risking it being false and have to live with the consequences. Just what exactly does this tell the millions of readers? I admittedly haven't read that particular story in The Sun, but I just think it's incredibly misleading and unnecessary to print such babble without actually knowing what's going on.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened either, and I for one don't think it's right to treat a terrorist attack any differently just because the guy who did it was ethnically Norweigan and Christian as opposed to being an extremist Muslim. It seems however that this is the double standard adopted by many people, and more worryingly some of the media.
Also, I fear that this may be a sign of things to come, and ironically, as much as the far right will have you believe that all Muslims are evil extremists, terrorists etc etc, we now have an attack by a far right individual fueled by his hatred of Muslims, and not for the first time. I fear that some sort of backlash is inevitable, but we must learn from this and really understand how fundamentally evil extremism can be, from all sides.
So what are people's thoughts on the attacks? And do you agree/disagree with my views on the media and how they treated this and similar issues?
Good read that Shades.
Even the Financial Times reported the muslim terror link. Jumping to conclusions is wrong but in these events it's what people do. We have to remember that terror groups have threatened Norway and therefore to jump to that conclusion is natural. Indeed neighbouring Sweden was attacked in December, although it failed.
So it's not as if there would be no reason to assume that initially, though the papers should have been wiser. That evening a muslim group claimed responsibility and later withdrew that claim so it can be difficult.
People make assumptions based on things usually. For example if I go right back to 9/11 I rang my husband, boyfriend then, as soon as it all started and he said 'it's Osama bin Laden' someone few had heard of. I asked him how he knew and said because he'd read about the threats the guy was making.
I think most can separate muslim extremists from muslims. I can feel sorry for the muslim population when these things happen but not for the extremists being blamed, they threatened to do it after all. A nice aspect is that this has made Norway, a country I know quite well having Norwegian in-laws (hubby's sisters hubby is a typical Norwegian), determined to hold on to their multi cultural society.
Norway is a very proud country, I've never seen so many flags in my life as there. Seriously, nearly every other house has a flag. It's not in a racist way but they are very proud of their country and I know my immigrants also fly the Norway flag there. They won't let this idiot (too weak a word but aren't all) ruin that.
Again, good article.
Thanks, I think the Muslim group claiming responsibility is interesting but that is what they want - they want you to fear them, they want to spread terror which is why they're terrorists, they want everyone to be scared of them. And the media I feel are playing into their hands, and yes of course there have been attacks by muslim terrorists in the past which will make people assume things in the future, but things like the sun's headline that day really don't help, especially when they fail to then print it when another group of people commit similar crimes. It just scares the public even more, unnecessarily in my opinion. Especially when other stuff gets ignored.
For example out of interest, are you familiar with the Talbot street bomb making haul? Basically in 2006 police found a large amount of chemical substances in a man's home, and 2 british men were arrested as a result of this, they believe it was the largest haul ever discovered in someone's home in England. Interestingly, the case went virtually unreported in the national press. There was no coverage of the arrests on the BBC, and very little in the national papers, beyond a paragraph in the Newsbriefs of the Sunday Times and in the socialist newspaper the morning star. From Wikipedia:
''e prosecution cited statements from his wife that he wanted to shoot Tony Blair and local Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves, and held strong views on immigration. He was also alleged to possess a copy on his computer of the Anarchist Cookbook, which includes bomb-making information, as well as crossbows and four air-rifles. His wife told the court that "I have seen a change in Rob since he became involved with the BNP four years ago (after being a member of the Conservative Party for 23 years)." "The BNP make mine and Robs marriage suffer. It droves wedge between us."
Now, just imagine what would have happened if these guys had been Muslims called Abdullah and Muhammad. Just seems a tad unfair to me, that's just my view any way.
By the way TCIR this isn't aimed at you in any way, just something which I thought people might find interesting
It never ceases to amaze me how people get so worked up about things that they have no experience of. A perceived slight is taken as fact and truth and often the reaction is out of all proportion to the original "wrong". Predominantly my family descends from Irish Catholic immigrants with a smattering or Nordic and Spanish genes along the line. Time was that distant ancestors were ostracized for marrying Protestants.
I'm proud to say that living now, in the 21st Century, my friends and family get togethers resembles United Nations meetings - without the aggro. One brother is married to a French African girl, the other to girl from an Iranian family. Another sister has an Italian boyfriend and we have Greek, Swiss, Chinese, Japanese, American, Canadian, Indian, Turkish, German and Spanish friends. Even I married out of the faith - a Londoner and A WEST HAM SUPPORTER !!!!!!.Many nations, many colours, many beliefs. And we all get along with the addition of a little respect.
My sister-in-law of Iranian Muslim heritage gets so upset when she reads stories in the paper with inflammatory headlines. She particularly gets upset with the "Council bans ******** not to offend Muslims blah, blah, blah" type of stories. I remember her being really worked up about one of those banning of Christmas stories. She told me that Jesus is revered as a prophet in Islam and that many Muslims would actually be more offended that his birth wasn't being celebrated, but that wouldn't be newsworthy! But she also gets just as upset and perplexed about the anti-Western or anti-Christian articles in the Muslim and Middle Eastern press. Her attitude is don't these people ever try to talk to someone and find out the truth. It's the same answer of course.- it wouldn't be newsworthy.
I have an issue with: ''the suspician of blame for this autrocity was, naturally, put squarely at the feet of Al Qaeda.Its probably what most people first thought when they heard the gravity of this news, without knowing the facts (is there anybody prepared to admit they didn't?)''
Firstly if I have misunderstood you I apologize, but you seem to be saying that straight away people ''naturally'' thought of Al Qaeda. Well I can't speak on behalf of anybody but myself but why make this assumption? The fact that a political youth camp was attacked suggested a political agenda, not a crazy muslim fanatic attack... I don't think it's right to suggest it is Al Qaeda just because Muslims have been responsible for terror attacks in the past. So have many other groups of people. Yes it makes news and sells papers, but it's still wrong to make these biased assumptions if you ask me. Again, apologies if I've misunderstood you.
Shades, the bombing came first so people initially thought of Al Qaeda, the full details didn't emerge until the following day.
Like I said, it isn't just because they've been responsible for most similar attacks, though that is reason enough. They threatened Norway.
Fair enough yes the bombings are more understandable. I do understand why people think that, but my point is the media aren't helping. They have over exaggerated things beyond belief in the past and they continue to fear the public. Again, I know not everyone thought this but like I said, as soon as I realised it was a labour youth camp, I thought straight away it was a political agenda and not Al Qaeda.
I forgot about the bombings though.
Fair enough, I agree with a lot of that, especially about the tabloids and how they exaggerate things. If you have a few minutes and I'd really recommend it as it's a brilliant analogy/story, skip to 5:35 if you don't want to watch the whole thing as the start is a bit off topic, it's a brilliant story which sums up for me why we shouldn't fear terrorism as much as the media want us to.
I for one thought it was an al-qaeda attack at first, as norway are part of the UN in afghanistan etc. was that because apart from eta and northern ireland, all attacks on europe have been by al qaeda or an affiliate? or was it because Norway were a percieved legitimate target of al-qaeda? So, is it wrong to have considered your enemies as being the perpetrators? Then of course there was teh claim from a muslim group that they carried out the attack.
My problem with the news coverage has been that this guy is getting labeled as a nut case, which is dangerous because it risks marginalising what caused the man to kill in the first place. Whether the politicians, media, commentators like it or not, this guy now has a platform, it is known and widely published that he has a manifesto, it will be read by others. If there was one person that managed, there could be many more, so instead of marginalising it we should be tackling it head on, discussing openly without ridicule of either side and destroying percieved aggrievances/issues with proper debate.