Islamophobia (not Islamism) behind Oslo terror

The blood was not even dry from the July 22 coordinated bomb blast and shooting rampage in Oslo that left at least 94 dead before Britain’s The Telegraph was asking in a headline, “Oslo explosion: Is al-Qaeda behind this?” Among their specious arguments was that jihadis are still miffed over the Danish cartoon affair and are too dumb to tell one Scandinavian country from another (perhaps in the same manner that Muslim-hating thugs in America beat up Sikhs). The screed remains live on The Telegraph’s website despite the fact that the accused perpetrator, one Anders Behring Breivik, appears to be a homegrown right-wing extremist in the style of Timothy McVeigh—except, this being Europe in 2011, with a special Islamophobic twist…

AlJazeera informs us:

The blond-haired Behring Breivik described himself on his Facebook page as “conservative”, “Christian”, and interested in hunting and computer games like World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2, reports say…

The suspect was reportedly also a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi internet forum, a group monitoring far-right activity said on Saturday.

Nordisk, a 22,000-member web forum founded in 2007, describes itself as a portal on the theme of “the Nordic identity, culture and traditions.”

In comments from 2009-2010 to other people’s articles on another website, Document, which calls itself critical of Islam, Breivik criticised European policies of trying to accommodate the cultures of different ethnic groups.

“When did multi-culturalism cease to be an ideology designed to deconstruct European culture, traditions, identity and nation-states?” said one his entries, posted on February 2, 2010.

Breivik wrote he was a backer of the “Vienna School of Thought”, which was against multi-culturalism and the spread of Islam.

Breivik also expressed his support for Geert Wilders, but the Dutch xenophobic politician of course disavowed him. The seemingly enigmatic reference to the “Vienna School of Thought” (huh?) may be particularly instructive. A blogger on Democratic Underground astutely notes that this could be a reference to the Gates of Vienna blog, “named after the time when Turkish forces got as far as the Gates of Vienna before being defeated.” We have noted before that right-wing Islamphobes have a special fixation on this historical circumstance, because the Austrian breaking of the Ottoman siege came on… Sept. 11, 1683!

The Gates of Vienna blog has run a rather disingenuous piece entitled “What Do We Know?,” bashing the “MSM” for having identified Breivik as “one of us.” They are still harping on the jihadist thesis, even linking to a New York Times story which they say “quotes the Islamist group taking responsibility.” But if you go to the actual New York Times story, it names a “lone political extremist… later identified as Anders Behring Breivik and characterized by officials as a right-wing extremist…” The only reference to jihadists comes toward the end:

Initial reports focused on the possibility of Islamic militants, in particular Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or Helpers of the Global Jihad, cited by some analysts as claiming responsibility for the attacks. American officials said the group was previously unknown and might not even exist.

And these Gates of Vienna jerks accuse the “MSM” of distortions? The Financial Times adds:

Police said the suspect was of Norwegian origin and appeared to have a history of far-right and “Christian fundamentalist” views, as officials all but ruled out involvement by Islamic extremists.

Now why would somebody supposedly concerned with the integrity and survival of European “nation-states” blow up administrative buildings of his own government and shoot up a summer camp run by the ruling (center-left) Labor Party? That has to do with the muddled pseudo-revolutionary posture of early-stage fascism, a phenomenon we have explored at length.

See our last posts on Norway, Europe’s Islamophobic backlash and the global rise of the radical right.

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  1. Breivik’s Carolingian nostalgia
    Electronic Intifada has a report on Anders Behring Breivik’s (why do assassins always get three names?) self-penned manifesto which is online at NRK, Norway’s public broadcaster, and has been put through a Google translator. In it, he portrays himself as a “martyr” and “resistance fighter” against a “Marxist-Islamist alliance” that would take over Europe if not stopped. He hoped his actions would inspire “thousands” to follow in his path and unleash “terror” attacks on mosques, especially during Muslim holy days. He called followers of the Labor Party “traitors” for their alleged support of “multiculturalism and Islamization.” He also produced a charming little accompanying video, entitled “A European Declaration of Independence”:
    We especially love that Charles Martel is cited among his heroes—the founder of the Carolingian dynasty who famously defeated the Moors at the 732 Battle of Tours. We have noted before the unseemly Charles Martel fetish among Europe’s contemporary Islamophobes. Nostalgia for the Dark Ages, just what we need. He also favorably invokes the Knights Templars—the Muslim-massacring extremist Crusader order that notoriously turned al-Aqsa mosque into their military headquarters during their occupation of Jerusalem. Even better.

  2. Oslo bomber’s pro-Zionism, anti-Semitism
    A not-so-paradoxical unity of opposites. Like the Unabomber, Anders Behring Breivik really seems to have put a lot of effort into his lengthy manifesto, which is now online, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.” Here is a telling quote:

    Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists.

    But this obsession with “Cultural Marxism” indicates that Breivik buys into a conspiracy theory with (at least) anti-Semitic roots. Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, a watchdog on the far right, told Crooks and Liars blog:

    Based on online posts apparently by Anders Behring Breivik circulated in Norway, the alleged terrorist opposed multiculturalism and Muslim immigrants in Norway. Breivik championed opposition to “Cultural Marxism,” a right-wing antisemitic concept developed primarily by William Lind of the US-based Free Congress Foundation, but also the Lyndon LaRouche network.

    …The idea is that a small group of Marxist Jews who formed the Frankfurt School set out to destroy Western Culture through a conspiracy to promote multiculturalism and collectivist economic theories. A key “Cultural Marxist” guru William Lind spoke at a Holocaust Denial conference, and worked at Free Congress Fdn. which sponsored a former Nazi collaborator, the late Laszlo Pasztor. See Bill Berkowitz article on Cultural Marxism for Intelligence Report at SPLC website.

    Berlet is not off-base here because (amazingly) Breivik’s manifesto actually mentions the Frankfurt School by name, as well some of its leading lights such as Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. And here’s some of what Berkowitz wrote for the Southern Poverty Law Center:

    At the core of the far right’s concept of cultural Marxism are the Jews. Lind made this plain in June 2002, when he gave a speech on the subject to a Washington Holocaust denial conference hosted by the anti-Semitic journal, Barnes Review.

    Although he told his audience that his Free Congress Foundation was “not among those who question whether the Holocaust occurred,” he went on to lay out just who the cultural conspirators were: “These guys,” he explained, “were all Jewish.”


    Not everyone who uses the cultural Marxism construct sees Jews in general at the center of the plot. But a 1998 book by California State University-Long Beach evolutionary biologist Kevin MacDonald — one of just two witnesses to testify on behalf of Holocaust denier David Irving in a famous 2000 libel trial — makes plain that Jews in general are implicated in what is seen as an attack on the West.

    In The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Social Movements, MacDonald says that while all Jews are not guilty, the movements he attacks are indeed “Jewishly motivated.”

    In a chapter devoted to the Frankfurt School, MacDonald suggests that Jews criticize non-Jews’ desire to form “cohesive, nationalistic, corporate gentile groups based on conformity to group norms” — with Frankfurt School principals painting this desire as a psychopathology — while they hypocritically pursue cohesiveness in their own group.

    To which Berlet adds:

    The trope of Cultural Marxism combines this view of political economy with a narrow view of Christian superiority and an ethnocentric White Nationalism. In both sectors–Christian superiority and ethnocentric White Nationalism–there is a great fear of Muslim immigration.

    Further evidence that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are genetically linked phenomena. If only more Jews (and Muslims) would realize this.

    See our last post on the paradoxical politics of anti-Semitism.

    1. Chip Berlet, conspiracist
      Chip Berlet is the biggest conspiracy-monger, in addition to being an all-around charlatan. Using the “six degrees of separation” technique, he makes anyone who has ever criticized the Frankfurt School (including Lyndon LaRouche, who has never mentioned such a thing as “cultural Marxism,”) into a “right-wing anti-Semite.” Hogwash!

      1. “Mac,” name-caller
        No he didn’t. He merely pointed out the anti-Semitic roots of the “Cultural Marxism” theory. That was a bogus pot-shot. Try again.

      2. LaRouche and Political Correctness / Frankfurt School Phobias
        >>>The task of the Frankfurt School, then, was first, to undermine the Judeo-Christian legacy through an “abolition of culture” (Aufhebung der Kultur in Lukacs’ German); and, second, to determine new cultural forms which would increase the alienation of the population, thus creating a “new barbarism.” To this task, there gathered in and around the Frankfurt School an incredible assortment of not only Communists, but also non-party socialists, radical phenomenologists, Zionists, renegade Freudians, and at least a few members of a self-identified “cult of Astarte.”

        –‘The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness,’ Michael J. Minnicino, FIDELIO (A LaRouchite publication)

        Online here:

        The LaRouchite fixation on the Frankfurt School, The New Dark Age, and the idea of “political correctness” being a creation of cultural marxists is so interwined that even the Norway terrorist could figure it out. Why can’t you?

        1. More shoddy Berlet sophistry
          That the LaRouche organization has criticized the Frankfurt School is a matter of record. However, the “cultural Marxism” bit is your own invention, which you insert dishonestly into the mix. And you do so, of course, in hopes that the casual reader will overlook the deception, and buy into your wretchedly fraudulent claim that there is some sort of connection between LaRouche and the Norway atrocity.

    2. Although I only scanned
      Although I only scanned Breivik’s manifesto, the only mention of Walter Benjamin I saw was in the title of S. Buck-Morss’s book on Adorno and Benjamin. Breivik was much more attracted to and repelled by Herbert Marcus, singling out Eros and Civilization. Breivik’s familiarity with the Frankfurt School is probably mostly from secondary sources as he expresses incomprehension in trying to read them. He cites Martin Jay’s book with somewhat ambivalent admiration.

      I must say I detect symptoms of Girard’s “mimetic desire” in Breivik’s manifesto and violence. His discussion of the Frankfurt School displays an element of admiration mixed with jealousy and rivalry.

      1. I only scanned Breivik’s manifesto too
        But I’m sure you are right. Who can wade through that hateful, self-important crap? Please note correct spelling of Marcuse.