Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 August 2011
Issue No. 1059
Press review
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Arab press: He's not Muslim

Rasha Saad scans reactions after the man who went on a shooting rampage in Norway was found not to be an Islamist terrorist

The link between the recent massacres in Norway and Islamophobia was the focus of the pundits this week.

In the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, Ibrahim Kaalin, professor of Islamic philosophy and the relationship between Islam and the West and a senior advisor to Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wrote that the tragic attacks in Norway "show the high cost of sleeping on the rising tide of Islamophobia and its dangers."

In "Islamophobia is a crime against humanity', Kaalin wrote that the Norwegian massacre "has falsified the claims that Islamophobia, unlike anti-Semitism, does not involve violence and thus is a matter of freedom of speech and the right to criticise."

Kaalin maintains that after the murderous act of Anders Behrig Breivik, the 32-year-old Norwegian responsible for the attacks, and the ideology behind it, Islamophobia can no longer be taken lightly.

Kaalin warned that some commentators were trying to present Breivik as an isolated case of one person's insanity.

According to Kaalin, the Islamophobic network from which Breivik derived his ideas and actions extend from the US Islamophobes such as Robert Spencer, Bat Ye'or and their colleagues to racist European political groups.

On the same lines also in Asharq Al-Awsat, Osman Mirghani wrote that since the terrorist attack there was much talk about Islam and Islamic immigration.

Mirghani wrote that the brutal nature of the attack, the huge number of casualties, and the motives of the perpetrator have horrified Norway and Europe in general, sending shock waves around the world.

Mirghani noted that despite America's multiculturalism and freedom of religion, it was not immune to the rise of right-wing voices who specialise in attacking Islam and Muslims. Mirghani cited examples that included the controversy over the construction of a mosque close to Ground Zero in New York, or in the media storm surrounding the call for a day of "Quran burning" by a fundamentalist Christian preacher, and the innuendo surrounding US President Barack Obama and his Islamic background.

Mirghani wrote that those monitoring the repercussions of the terrorist attack in Norway must be aware that the Western media does not talk about "Christian terrorism", despite the numerous references to the fact that the perpetrator of the terrorist attack is a right-wing fanatic who hates Islam and Muslim immigration, and rejects cultural pluralism.

In the London-based daily Al-Hayat, Jihad Al-Khazen wrote that after anticipating that an Islamic group was behind the attack in Norway we heard that the person behind the terrorist act was a Norwegian fundamentalist terrorist of the Zionist Evangelical type.

In "European terrorism', Mustafa Zein wrote in Al-Hayat that Europeans and Americans were shocked when they learned that the perpetrator of the Norway massacre was not Muslim.

Zein pointed out that indeed, the media and the official discourse have consecrated the notion in the minds of Westerners, over the past two decades, that the Muslim was the terrorist, and that Christian fundamentalist or Nationalist Fascist movements were merely groups of marginal extremists posing no danger to society or to secular governments.

On the background of being ignored in this manner, Zein explains, many extremist movements have grown, with some of them reaching parliaments and becoming part of the democratic institutions that plan domestic and foreign policy.

Zein quoted Breivik's words: "I prayed for the first time in a very long time today. I explained to God that unless he wanted the Marxist-Islamic alliance and the certain Islamic takeover of Europe to completely annihilate European Christendom within the next hundred years he must ensure that the warriors fighting for the preservation of European Christendom prevail."

According to Zein, Breivik's words are part of a comprehensive ideology adopted by racist movements. This ideology, Zein explains, represents an important part of the West's history which those movements are trying to get inspiration from in order to practice their racism and their terrorism.

Others asserted that he was mentally deranged and should not be tried for his crime, Zein added.

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