July 29, 2011


A Blogosphere of Bigots (JOSTEIN GAARDER and THOMAS HYLLAND ERIKSEN, 7/28/11, NY Times)

The Islamophobes of Norway have no manifesto, but they share three fundamental views: that Norway is in the hands of a treacherous, spineless, politically correct elite that has betrayed the pure spirit of Norwegian culture by permitting demographic contamination; that Muslims will never be truly integrated (even if they pretend to be); and that there is a Muslim conspiracy to gain political dominance across Europe.

Hatred of Muslims and resentment of the left -- one of us has repeatedly received resentful diatribes against the "multiculturalist elite," and was mentioned in Mr. Breivik's own writings -- is not confined to Norway. Mr. Breivik has praised Gates of Vienna, a Web site that compares contemporary Europe to long-ago wars with the Ottomans. He has praised writers like Bruce Bawer, the American author of "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within," and Bat Ye'Or, the pseudonym for the British author of the conspiratorial "Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis." He is an enthusiastic reader of the virulently anti-Islamic blog of Pamela Geller, an American who leads the group "Stop Islamization of America" and gained notoriety for her opposition to an Islamic center near ground zero in Manhattan.

Europe's new right is, in other words, not neo-Nazi; it has swapped anti-Semitism for Islamophobia. After a hiatus of several hundred years, fear of Islam reemerged around 1989, as the Cold War was ending and Iranian mullahs issued a fatwa against the British writer Salman Rushdie. It gained popularity as increasing numbers of Muslims entered Europe as immigrants in the 1990s, and became widespread in the aftermath of 9/11. Traditional racism may actually be waning in several European countries, but hostility toward Islam and animosity toward Muslim immigrants and their children is on the rise. [...]

Conceding that a culturally diverse society raises knotty and complex social and political questions is one thing. It is quite another to state that a multicultural society is impossible, or that Islam is incompatible with democracy. Yet the blogosphere to which Mr. Breivik belonged took these views as a basic premise.

The revealing thing is that assimilation does nothing to staunch such hatreds. The Inquisition targeted converts to Christianity and many German Jews were thoroughly assimilated. Heck, even the current bout of Islamophobia occurs against a backdrop of the Arab world revolting its way into conformity with Western standards.

Posted by at July 29, 2011 7:08 AM

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