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confusion re Breivik's ideology

Reader comment on item: [Breivik and] Norway's Terrorism in Context

Submitted by Jeff (United States), Aug 21, 2011 at 16:22

In your essay you argue that Breivik has conservative views but used radical means (mass casualty terrorism) to promote them. You even went so far as to claim that he was "not under the sway of extremist ideologies." As a matter of fact, that is not true. He is a self-described "conservative revolutionary," not a conservative - that phrase hearkens back to the conservative revolutionaries who became intellectually influential in interwar Germany and who still exert an influence on circles of the European radical right today. See the study by Armin Mohler on this movement.

The main difference between Brievik and those conservative revolutionaries (who were often pagans or areligious) is that he emphasizes the importance of Christianity as a cultural marker of identity for a viable pan-European resistance movement. Hence his obsession with Templar imagery and iconography. However, you are quite right to emphasize that Breivik is an Islam basher, i.e., someone who conflates Islam in general with the intrinsically radical right-wing ideology of Islamism. This is the same egregious blunder that is commonly made by most people in the so-called "counter-jihad" movement, and in that sense it is no surprise that Breivik so frequently cited Spencer, Geller, and Fjordman in his treatise.

This is the real problem. All of us who are concerned about the threat posed by Islamism must openly challenge these Islam bashers, who are not only factually incorrect, but are discrediting the anti-Islamization cause by making it easier for Islamist apologists to portray them as bigots. They are also creating a climate that is bound to alienate genuinely moderate Muslims.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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