Rush To Judgment

The atrocity in Norway has shocked many people. Apparently a single man managed to plant several bombs in and around a major government building, then — dressed as a police officer — infiltrated a youth camp run by the Liberal Party and started shooting children and camp personnel. The current death toll on this rampage is currently 91, and very well could rise.

 

As horrific as the incident is, what I find even more fascinating is the reactions to the attacks.

 

The first thought many people had was “OK, what has Norway done to piss off Muslims?” Several possibilities came to mind. Norway is a member of NATO, which is currently waging an UnWar against Libya and has troops in Afghanistan. Recently, it’s been noted that the outbreak of rapes (especially gang rapes) in Norway and Sweden can pretty much be laid at the feet of Muslim immigrants. Norway is attempting to deport a radical Iraqi cleric who founded the terrorist group Ansar Al-Islam because he threatened to kill Norwegian politicians. In brief, there are a whole lot of reasons why radical Muslims might take as provocation to hit back.

 

It didn’t help matters when a radical Islamist group first took credit, then later backed off and simply praised it.

 

Then the police started releasing information about the lead suspect. And quite prominent was the physical description: male, very tall, very “Nordic-looking.” Further details included blond hair, six feet tall, and an Oslo accent. Then his name — Anders Behring Breivik — and that he was a Christian and, politically, a right-winger.

 

All this came out in less than 24 hours. And as I look at it all, it gets me wondering: what do all things say, and what do they mean?

When word of the attack first came out, the vast majority of people simply presumed that it was done by militant Muslims. And this isn’t some kind of bigotry or prejudice; it was a logical conclusion. But when details of the main suspect came out, they all seemed to revolve around a single point: this guy was’t a Muslim.

 

Look back over the details; they almost seem to accent the “un-Muslim” aspects. Blond, “Nordic-looking,” an Oslo accent, a Norwegian name.

 

But most telling to me? That he was “very tall.” According to Wikipedia, the average Norwegian man is 5 feet, 11 1/2 inches. The suspect is only half an inch taller than that. But looking at the average height in several Muslim nations listed there, six feet is well above the average listed.

 

I am reminded of the failed Times Square bombing, where commentators in the media openly expressed relief that the initial reports indicated that it wasn’t a Muslim. I don’t recall how they handled it when it turned out it was.

 

This is pretty much what I’ve feared for some time. With so many incidents of Islamist terrorism being downplayed and minimized and often openly excused, I have been predicting that sooner or later, other groups would see that terrorism actually works — that threats of violence and open acts of violence do get the results they want. Witness, for example, the self-censorship imposed over the Mohammed cartoons, wher the threats of violence were enough to convince many media outlets to refuse to run them, even when they were absolutely germane to the story.

 

Now, we have a guy who is an established foe of radical Islam taking up their tactics in furtherance of his own political ends.

 

We should be horrified. What we have no business being is surprised.

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