The massacre in Norway reveals just how wrong critics of Islam have been: it wasn’t a Muslim who went to war against the West – it was one of their own, someone who shared many of their views. That has made it clear: the true enemies of the anti-Islam movement are not the Muslims, but its own supporters. By Stefan Weidner
If it weren’t linked to such a terrible event, one could see it as an irony of history: the critics of Islam are suddenly being forced to justify themselves just as they have been trying to force Muslims. After the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivig referred so unambiguously to their view of the world as the justification for his actions, critics of Islam are having to demand that others make the same distinction between radical and moderate – between those who espouse violence and those who engage in intellectual discussion – which they have always refused to allow in the case of their enemy, the allegedly monolithic Islam.
But those who have so far justifiably attacked the Islam critics for their failure to differentiate in their approach to the religion and its adherents would now be well advised not to refuse them the same right – even if they are engaged in loud denials of responsibility and even if they refuse to rethink their own position and their own relationship to radical tendencies.
In other words, it doesn’t matter what critics of Islam themselves say on the matter, we have to admit it: they didn’t intend this – not even their most crackpot representatives. But then, what did they want? Perhaps Breivik’s actions can provide us with a clue.
Clear-headed observers have often noted that there are certain similarities between Islamist fundamentalists and their ideological opponents in the European anti-Islam movement.