A tragic rebuttal of the West’s commonly held belief that acts of terrorism occurring anywhere in the world are the preserve of Muslims was given by a Christian fundamentalist who ruthlessly mowed down as many as 93 persons, most of them teenagers, in Norway on Friday.
The cruel incident is unquestionably condemnable by all the sane elements around the world. The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, first bombed the Prime Minister’s office and the Finance Ministry in Oslo, wrecking the buildings and killing at least eight persons.
Later, wearing a police sweater, he took a boat to the nearby resort island of Uteoly where around 650 young people had assembled at a summer camp organised by the ruling Labour Party, beckoned them towards him and calmly began randomly shooting at them at short range. And even those who jumped into the water in an attempt to swim to safety were not spared.
In just one sweep, the killer had shot down 85 on the island. That prompted the sad Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to say, “Never since the Second World War has our country been hit by a crime of this scale.” That also turns out to be the worst shooting spree by a single gunman in modern times.
It is unfortunate that starting from the massacre of 9/11, President Bush and his team fully supported by the US and Western media relentlessly spread the message that it were Muslims who resort to terrorism. Mr Bush even employed the word “crusade” in one of his remarks that served to recall the painful memories of the past in the Christians’ minds, reawakening and reinforcing their hatred of Muslims and Islam.
The Western powerful propaganda machinery simply swept under the rug the examples of American terrorism like that of Timothy McVeigh who, with a truck bomb, killed 169 people in Oklahoma City in 1995, the Irish terrorism and the history of Israelis terrorising poor Palestinians out of their villages and ancestral homes.
Even soon after this Norwegian case, a terrorism analyst at the American CNA, a research institute that studies terrorism, tried to misinform the world by maintaining that Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami had issued a statement claiming responsibility for the shooting. But the Norwegian police, interested instead in getting at the bottom of the problem, soon came out with its version that a Christian fundamentalist was suspected to have wrought the havoc. Confessing his crime, the gunman has termed the killings “atrocious” but “necessary”.
Like any other high level terrorist operative he had a clear motive behind his act. He wanted to bring about a revolution in society, punishing the European elite, “multiculturalists” and “enablers of Islamisation” for their “treasonous acts” and had posted anti-Muslim views on Christian fundamentalist website.
Would that the anti-Muslim forces discarded the petty prejudicial thoughts about any one particular faith sponsoring terrorism, tried to see the problem in its proper perspective and met the genuine grievances of the disaffected lot wherever it existed to usher in an era of peace. – Nation