Norway Bombing - Is this the End?

Written by Anees Jillani  •  July 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist has been arrested for bombing the central Einar Gerhardsen plaza on July 22 and murdering 7 people. But it is too early to say if Anders acted alone or was part of a larger conspiracy. The attacks are said to be the deadliest on Norwegian soil since the Second World War. 

His Internet postings suggest that his political traits are to the right, and that he harbors anti-Muslim views. His last posting on Twitter sounded quite jihadi though: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.” Hopefully and mercifully, this is where the jihadi link begins and ends with Anders. However, the sad but intriguing part to this sad episode is the way major television channels of the West immediately started linking it with Islam, Jihad, al Qaeda and even Pakistan. It is nothing short of shocking but this has not happened for the first time. The same thing happened when the Oklahoma city blasts took place. 

The irony is that these so-called counter-terrorism experts had a hard-time linking Norway with any problems with Islam or the jihadi groups. Norway enjoys genuinely cordial relations with almost all the Islamic countries; has a sizeable number of Muslim immigrants, mostly Pakistanis from Gujrat, and is well-respected for achieving Oslo accords that at least enabled the Palestinians to achieve a semblance of independence. Even otherwise it is known for its active diplomacy and peacekeeping missions. 

Nevertheless, typically, a section of media came up with a claim by an Islamic militant group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami within minutes of the attack. The American officials thankfully found the group to be previously unknown and stated that it might not even exist. However, the Muslims were simply lucky that Anders was arrested and that also alive. Otherwise, there was little stopping the media from holding Ansar responsible for the crime.  

The media also came up with a statement of Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahri that he is said to have issued in 2004 and again in 2008 in which he threatened Norway for supporting the American-led NATO military operation in Afghanistan. If the threat was real and the statement was actually made, one wonders as to what stopped Zawahri from carrying it out as the security in Norway has historically been weak. Norway has only 550 soldiers and three helicopters in northern Afghanistan. 

Others discovered an Iraqi cleric who is facing deportation proceedings. He is said to have threatened the Norwegian government with terrorism if he is deported. If the cleric actually made this statement it is indeed a novel way to thwart being kicked out from a country. 

A few talked about two al Qaeda militants arrested in Norway and the attacks were seen as a reprisal for the arrests. If al Qaeda was so interested in these two individuals it could simply have held the children hostage at the island summer camp, asking for the militants’ release in exchange for the children. 

The fact of the matter is that the crusade against the Muslim community continues all over the West, whether in Europe or North America. Actions of a few individuals are thrust upon the whole community and it has to pay for the abhorrent actions of the lunatic militants. However, the same independent and free media will never think about holding the whole Christian community responsible for the actions of Anders Behring Breivik. This is where the problem lies and this is what is leading to clash of civilizations. 

The West is stronger and mightier than the 55 Muslim countries. Those in power in the so-called Islamic world with the exception of a few like the Iranians soon acknowledge this disparity and toe the western line even if their public stance differs from the policies pursued by their governments; this is no where more crystallized than in Pakistan itself. However, the public fails to appreciate the might of the West and feels angry and frustrated. Some then decide to take law into their own hands and try to get even with the West. This is what leads to continued terrorist activities. 

If the policy-makers are serious in controlling this menace, the solution does not lie in crushing the Muslims by force and bombarding them even if a Muslim sneezes in Europe or North America but by trying to address their grievances. They can start with resolving the Palestinian issue as Norway tried to do in the nineties or by asking India to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir as it repeatedly promised to do in the United Nations till the late fifties or by stopping to support dictatorial regimes.  

The West cannot leave the Muslim world alone, particularly the Gulf, because of oil. This is understandable. However, it can simply leave these countries alone as far as politics are concerned and a miracle perhaps can be brought about by the masses themselves as we all saw in Tunisia and then in Egypt. The Americans however soon had a change of heart after that and acquiesced with a clamp down in Bahrain which virtually killed the movement for democracy as the new Shiite rulers had they come to power would never have accepted the American base on their soil or they way the West is ignoring the continuous massacre of the unarmed agitators in Yemen. If this isn’t doublestandards, I don’t know what is. And the pity is that the independent western media particularly the electronic one fails to see this dichotomy.

Anees Jillani is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a member of the Washington, DC Bar. He has been writing for various publications for more than 20 years and has authored several books.

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