Just a note to acknowledge that to some extent this post is now partially redundant in this narrative. However it would seem duplicitous to remove it and I also think it has an important argument within it which remains relevant.
It is important to begin a post like this one by noting that people have died, and that I feel great sorrow over this. I also feel it is important that we seek to protect lives in the future and the following is posted with that intent.
I have felt for some time, that the so called Islamic terrorists strategic objective in the west, has been to ensure that Muslim minority populations are regarded with suspicion. That where public policy seeks to value and integrate minorities and diversity, that these societies become targets for the Terrorists. The overall objective being for Islam to be seen as the problem, and for efforts to integrate Muslims into mainstream society to be hampered by the creation of fear and anxiety about the nature of Islam itself. Subsequently isolating Muslims from everyone else and giving them only one way to turn for support, to the terrorists themselves. In this regard of course the anti-Islamists play right into the terrorists hands.
If the incident in Norway is the work of so called ‘Islamic’ Terrorists then, it seems clear to me that, the Oslo bombing and the shootings at a political youth camp, suggest the terrorists have concluded that Norway was making too much headway in avoiding radicalising its Muslim population, and that Islam was not being demonised enough by the population of Norway. I believe that limiting the opportunity for Muslim minorities to be integrated into the societies they now live among, is the main strategic objective of the terrorists. It is this reason that I believe is behind the attacks in Norway, rather than any particular excuse about cartoons, or Norway’s minimal involvement in Afghanistan or Libya.
It often seems to be, where Muslim minorities are tolerated, and where efforts are made to support integration of minorities into mainstream society, that this is where the Terrorists target their attacks. I would argue that Norway has done more than most to show tolerance and to provide opportunities for Muslims to integrate into Norwegian society, and it is this which has made them a target for the Terrorists.
I do know and have contact with Muslims in my day to day life, and have no more nor less difficulty with them than I have with most others. I have no personal experience which says to me that Muslims or Islam are a problem in society, to any greater or lesser extent than any other religion. In this light attacks such as the one in Oslo, I see very much as attacks on Muslims as well as on everyone else, the intent is to sow conflict, to breed distrust and foster suspicion.
I am also painfully aware, that as yet an organisation responsible for this attack has not been identified. It is just as possible that another organisation might be responsible. However the ease with which the assumption that, ‘it must be Al Qaeda’, comes even to my mind demonstrates how well the Terrorists have done their job to date.
It is hugely important that we ‘keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs,’ to quote Kipling. It is not Islam or Muslims that are the Enemy, it is the Terrorists, they seek to drive a wedge between those who are tolerant of each other, and seek to understand each others points of view. They seek to strengthen their own power base and divide their enemies, their greatest fear is that in the Arab spring that Muslims might become seduced by the democracy they are demanding across the Arab world. Should the revolutionary movements embrace democracy then the terrorists fear their cause is lost.
We should recognise our enemy for what they are, power hungry terrorists, led by elites who fear the erosion of their own position, who are as much the enemy of Muslims and of Islam, as they are enemies of democracy and everyone else.
With grief and sorrow for the loss of life on a tragic day.