30 July 2011

All terrorism is not opposed, nor feared the same

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—If deliberate targeting of civilians is the criteria, than the carnage created by Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo, Norway, on 22 July was an act of terrorism: dead and maimed bodies, similar to those produced by terrorists elsewhere, e.g. the coordinated strikes in Mumbia, India, on 26 November 2008, the pre-election bombings of the Madrid, Spain, train system on 11 March 2004, or the homegrown attacks on the London’s public transit system on 7 July 2005.

The perpetrators of the three attacks before Oslo were militant Islamists. By contrast, Breivik, 32 with a penchant for photogenic uniforms, is rabidly anti-Muslim, pro-Zionist and claims to be “100 percent Christian.” His ideology also is anti-Marxist, which is a requirement for any brand of violent extremism from the right, and he stridently opposes multiculturalism and feminism. These are perspectives embraced by many conservative Christians.

Police speculate that Breivik’s acts were those of a “lone wolf,” but his worldview was framed in dialogue with those of similar ideologies on both sides of the Atlantic, including German neo-nazis, other ultranationalists, white supremacists, and anti-Islamic hatemongers. He claims in his 1,500-page manifesto that he is part of "international Christian military order,” which has “cells” elsewhere in western Europe, according to published reports.

There are influential Christian equivalents of the Afghan in the United States, like the New Apostolic Formation, which counsels “strategic level spiritual warfare,” writes Paul Rosenberg.
The ultimate goal is to replace secular democracy, both in America and around the world, with a Christian theocracy, an ideology known as ‘dominionism.'
Yet it is doubtful the specter of a white supremacist Christian terrorist network could generate the fear in the west that Islamic terror does routinely. Breivik’s worldview, after all, is common is the west; it evoked daily by the U.S. chattering class, it has institutional support and political allies, so the relation is one of familiarity and sympathy. Islam, on the hand, is largely unknown in the west and widely portrayed as dangerous, with the consequence that empathy for the dead and maimed and opposition to any terrorist violence gets trumped by fear and hatred for the perpetrators.

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