I will not name the person who committed the atrocities in Oslo, his name should be shunned and left to rot in the annals of history. In five, ten, twenty years time we should be remembering the victims and the families, not the man who tore them apart.
Nonetheless the connections and responses from the British right wing have provoked cause for concern. There are shades of Sarah Palin defending her rhetoric when Gabrielle Gifford was shot. Of course they are not to blame for the attacks, however there is a complete denial of any relation between the perpetuation of Islamaphobia.
I do not use this accusation lightly, the press is set on portraying the majority of terrorist attacks as being rooted in Islam. The Sun’s front page bore the words ‘Al-Qaeda Massacre’ despite this not being the case. In fact, in Europe in 2010, only 3 of 249 failed, foiled or completed terrorist attacks were associated with Islam. That is 1.205% of all attacks, and while the percentage of arrests is higher (29.3%), this is not the highest threat.
It transpires that the greatest terrorist threat to the citizens of Europe is through separatism. Of this 160 out of 249 (64.257%) attacks where stemmed from, similarly 57.119% of arrests fall into this category. Yet these statistics remained ignored in the press.
Melanie Phillips, was quoted in the Man from Oslo’s Manifesto. In her retort against criticism from the left she claimed that she was part of a “fight for life, liberty and western civilisation against those who would destroy it”. Here lies the problem, the rhetoric is antagonistic and dangerous. The implication is that anyone who disagrees with them does not merely have different beliefs but are also agents against life and liberty. It is an ‘us and them’ philosophy that counteracts the very foundation of multiculturalism and integration and further creates barriers.
It is of course unfair to single out Melanie Phillips as the sole inspiration behind the attacks. Her column was used once or twice in a 1500 page document and numerous other conservative commentators are quoted. But what rhetoric like the above does is create enemies in the mind. It is like having a voice in your ear whispering to you that the world is out to get you unless you stop it. There is in fact a condition like that, Paranoid Schizophrenia.
And while the majority of the population are able to see through the rhetoric as tools of speech and not instructions. There are always going to be those who use such writings to reinforce and exacerbate their own beliefs, and occasionally it ends in tragedy.
European Terrorism statistics
Melanie Phillips quote