The moral supporters of terrorism

Those who inspired and defended the bigoted motivations of the Oslo terrorist have largely escaped recriminations

Topics: Glenn Greenwald,

The moral supporters of terrorismPamela Geller

By Murtaza Hussain

On July 22, 2011 a bombing and shooting massacre was carried out in Norway by an individual motived by fanatic anti-immigrant and Islamophobic beliefs; an atrocity which shocked the world and which could only honestly be described as terrorism. The perpetrator, himself an ethnic Norwegian, hoped to bring about political change through acts of wanton violence against civilians, many of them children and young adults. That this was indeed terrorism is important to note, given that at present Western civilization is purportedly at war with terrorism itself, as well as, crucially, those who provide inspiration and support to terrorists. In this battle those who are even tangentially related to acts of terrorism or purveyors of terror are liable to be incarcerated without due process, tortured, and even killed without public outcry. From the perspective of the state, such is the seriousness of terrorism and such are the extraordinary measures which must be taken to prevent terror from being carried out.

In his manifesto, Anders Breivik the perpetrator of the Oslo attacks cited among his inspirations many prominent intellectuals and media figures whose ideas he admired and whose views on topics such as Islam and immigration he strongly identified with. Although many of these individuals have strongly insinuated that perpetrating mass violence in the service of their anti-Muslim agenda is laudable and desirable, it can be reasonably argued that it is unfair to condemn them for actions which, though perpetrated in the name of their ideas, were carried out without their specific consent. Regardless of whether one puts forth odious and potentially dangerous ideologies it can be justifiably said that holding individuals accountable for how others may interpret and act upon their opinions goes against freedom of expression and is potentially deleterious to the marketplace of ideas which should exist in all free societies.



However, what is notable then about the case of Breivik is not so much whom he cited as potentially unwitting inspirations to his act of terrorism, but those who actually leapt to support and justify his actions after it had become undeniably clear that he was in fact a terrorist. While they may distance themselves from the individual, they go out of their way in the wake of his murderous terrorist attack to justify and validate the ideals he killed for.

Here are a few choice quotes regarding the Oslo attack:

  • “I shed no tears for these HAMASnik campers with a Scandinavian dialect. Perpetrators are not victims. Sorry. HAMAS collaborators don’t get my pity. They never will.”
  • “Karma is a bitch . . . especially for Jew-haters who were Fatah’s bitch. You hang out with snakes, you get bitten.”
  • “Victims” or Perpetrators?” — Debbie Schlussel, 7/28/11
  • “There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler youth..” — Glenn Beck, 7/25/11
  • “The more that is revealed about that youth indoctrination center, the more grotesque the whole story becomes”
  • “The jihad-loving media never told us what antisemitic war games they were playing on that island. Utoya Island is a Communist/Socialist campground, and they clearly had a pro-Islamic agenda.” — Pamela Geller, 7/31/11
  • “The youth camp he attacked was engaged in what was essentially a pro-terrorist program.” — Barry Rubin, 7/31/2011

Try to imagine what the reaction to comments such as these would be in the wake of an attack by Islamic extremists. Aside from the vile slander against the victims of a horrifying crime, these words are a clear attempt to justify and legitimize the actions of Breivik. Claiming to oppose violence while simultaneously characterizing the victims of said violence as Nazis and terrorists sends the implicit message that such violence is in fact understandable and laudable. After all, who wouldn’t be inclined to view as permissible violence committed against Nazis and terrorists, and how could one who does commit violence against those parties be said to be unequivocally condemnable? The supreme twisted irony is that those who claim to be appalled by his act of violence while steadfastly defending his motivations very closely mimic the position of Breivik himself who described his actions as being “atrocious but necessary.” Violence against “Nazis and terrorists” may not be “nice,” but hey, they are “Nazis and terrorists.”

In the context of fighting a war against terrorism, and with all the dot-connecting, guilt by-association tactics which that entails, the individuals who inspired and then defended the bigoted motivations of the Oslo terrorist have largely escaped recrimination. Those so open about their sympathies with an ideology which had just given rise to such an atrocity would normally come under harsh, justified scrutiny, not just from the public but perhaps also from law enforcement agencies tasked with preventing the fomentation of further terrorism. By sole virtue of the race and religion of the terrorist in this case those who motivated him have been left unchecked and continue to openly expound the nihilistic ideals which may well inspire the next Anders Breivik.

On her website, Pamela Geller in 2007 shared approvingly an email she received from a source in Norway whom she has kept anonymous. The email reads as follows:

From Israel the hordes clawing at the walls of Jerusalem proclaim cheerfully that next year there will be no more Israel, and I know Israel shrugs this off as do I, and will mount a strike during the summer against all of its enemies in the middle east. This will make the muslims worldwide go into a frenzy, attacking everyone around them.

We are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast.

Before, I thought about emigrating to Britain, Israel, USA, South Africa, etc. for taxes and politics, but instead (although I believe we are the very last generation on earth before the return of God) I will stay and fight for the right to this country and indeed the entire peninsula, for the God-fearing people, just in case this isn’t the end of the world after all. Doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan.

Individuals engaged in racial and religious demagoguery have succeeded in giving rise to terrorism in the name of their ideals, and in the wake of what their actions have produced they’ve shown no remorse or reticence about continuing to fan the flames of hatred and violence. If those who enthusiastically promote ideologies which inspire terrorism are unwilling to even report or disclose details of planned violence by their followers, the question must be asked as to what level of darkness we must descend before their destructive actions are taken seriously.

Murtaza Hussain is a journalist with The Intercept.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>