So, will the left blame Is­lam for Breivik’s acts?

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment & Analysis - Mon­ica Porter

THERE HAS been a tidal wave of me­dia cov­er­age about An­ders Behring Breivik and his mur­der­ous ram­page in Nor­way. Was he a soli­tary mon­ster or part of a net­work of vir­u­lent white su­prem­a­cists? Sane or a psy­chopath? Could he have been in­flu­enced by our own ex­treme na­tion­al­ists, the English De­fence League? Spec­u­la­tion has been rife. But one line of think­ing has been ab­sent. No one has pointed the fin­ger of blame for his hor­rific crime at the tar­get of his ha­tred: the Mus­lim world, with its ever-grow­ing pres­ence and in­flu­ence in the West.

No one has ar­gued: Yes, he was a mass mur­derer but con­sider the provo­ca­tion. Al Qaeda, global Ji­had, rad­i­cal imams spawn­ing ter­ror­ist cells in Europe and a lib­eral Euro­pean po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment that re­fuses to recog­nise the dan­gers. Per­haps Breivik’s vi­o­lent act was the pre­dictable con­se­quence of all that. Should we not fac­tor it into the equa­tion?

Such rea­son­ing, of course, would be ob­scene. The only one to blame is Breivik him­self. He planned the at­tacks and he ex­e­cuted them. Chill­ingly, he was able to look in­no­cent peo­ple in the eyes and calmly slaugh­ter them. The sug­ges­tion that there could be some so­cio-po­lit­i­cal, ide­o­log­i­cal or cul­tural griev­ance that might ex­plain — or even ex­cuse — his ac­tions is not one that any ra­tio­nal per­son would en­ter­tain.

In 2005, on an­other July day, four Bri­tish Mus­lim men trav­elled from Lu­ton to Lon­don, where they boarded three Un­der­ground trains and a bus and det­o­nated their sui­cide vests. They mur­dered 52 and in­jured hun­dreds more. They, too, coolly ob­served the in­no­cents on their way to work or school — peo­ple of all ages, back­grounds and eth­nic­i­ties — and blew them to pieces. Ruth­less killers with no re­gard for hu­man life, they were ev­ery bit as cul­pa­ble for their evil crimes as Breivik is for his.

Yet, in the af­ter­math of Lon­don’s 7/7 atroc­i­ties, there was a rush of left­ist apol­o­gists lay­ing the blame else­where. They claimed it was down to the war in Iraq. That ill-con­ceived war had made Mus­lims re­ally mad, they ar­gued, and 7/7 was the in­evitable re­sponse. “The vic­tims of the Lon­don at­tacks can blame Tony Blair’s gov­ern­ment for their suf­fer­ings,” de­clared Ge­orge Gal­loway, then an MP in the left-wing Re­spect Party. Well no, ac­tu­ally, they can blame four Mus­lims in sui­cide vests.

Within days of 7/7, Lon­don’s mayor, Ken Livingstone, pub­licly de­fended the use of sui­cide bombers in the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict, be­cause “Pales­tini­ans don’t have jet planes, don’t have tanks, they only have their bod­ies to use as weapons”. He didn’t want peo­ple blown up in his city, ob­vi­ously, but it was okay if it hap­pened in an Is­raeli one — that was some other mayor’s prob­lem and Is­rael had only it­self to blame.

A few years ear­lier, in the wake of the 9/11 at­tacks in Amer­ica in which nearly 3,000 per­ished, there was a clam­our of voices from the left, shift­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the abom­i­na­tion from its per­pe­tra­tors to its vic­tims. They said it was the fault of Amer­ica it­self.

For decades, so the ar­gu­ment went, the su­per­power had flexed its mus­cles around the world and 9/11 was the un­der­stand­able back­lash. (Never mind that the vic­tims were from a mul­ti­tude of na­tion­al­i­ties and eth­nic groups, and in­cluded dozens of Mus­lims.)

One would ex­pect this view from Iran’s Pres­i­dent Ah­madine­jad, for whom Amer­ica is the Great Satan, and nat­u­rally he didn’t dis­ap­point. But the Rev Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s erst­while Chicago pas­tor? The Rev­erend’s ha­tred for Amer­ica ev­i­dently out­weighed any qualms about Al Qaeda. “The United States has brought on the 9/11 at­tacks with its own terrorism” he as­serted, “… and now we are in­dig­nant be­cause the stuff we have done over­seas is brought back to our own front yards.”

A tirade so wil­fully ig­no­rant that it al­most beg­gars be­lief… ex­cept, of course, that this is ex­actly what we have come to ex­pect of so many pub­lic fig­ures, from the green Jo­hann Hari to the el­derly wit, Gore Vi­dal. The late Harold Pin­ter con­sis­tently blamed the US, Bri­tain and Is­rael for the world’s ills. Had his vit­riol been di­rected in­stead at truly bru­tal regimes in the Mid­dle East and Africa, he would never have won the No­bel Prize.

The vi­o­lent Ji­hadists who threaten us all are a source of anx­i­ety among many around the world. For some, this has ex­tended into a gen­eral aver­sion to Is­lam and its fol­low­ers. But Gal­loway, Livingstone et al won’t be cit­ing Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s cat­a­logue of mas­sacres as the root cause of Breivik’s killing spree.

The un­hinged Nor­we­gian is wholly, per­son­ally ac­count­able for what he did and, by the same to­ken, re­spon­si­bil­ity for Is­lamist atroc­i­ties lies squarely on the per­pe­tra­tors’ own heads and not at the door of Blair, Bush or any­body else. It’s time the left stopped play­ing its hyp­o­crit­i­cal blame game. Mon­ica Porter’s books in­clude ‘The Pa­per Bridge: A Re­turn to Bu­dapest’

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