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Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 1

Posted by Don McLenaghen on August 4, 2011

When is a terrorist not a terrorist?

As most of our listeners should know there was a horrific act of terrorism in Norway that has left over 70 dead and almost 100 injured. We have talked before about the growing sense of xenophobia that has gripped Europe. Those who thought this ‘traditionalism’ would lead mainly to increased racism and discrimination may feel shocked and the overt violence to which this line of thinking inevitably leads.

There has been a lot said about the incident and we will attempt to avoid repetition, ourselves. That said there are a few points that should be clarified and some interesting observations that can be made.

First, is he a ‘Christian fundamentalist terrorist’? To answer this we must look at the three claims made, is he a terrorist, is he a Christian and is he a fundamentalist.

According to the dictionary, terrorism is defined as

“Seriously intimidating a population; or unduly compelling a Government or international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act; or seriously destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation.”

It is important to note that it is not the number of deaths nor the method of execution that is important but the stated aim of the perpetrator.

According to the perpetrator the intent of his actions were to “bring down the Marxist order”, by that, he hoped that with this act he would garner enough press to both disseminate his manifesto as well as inspire others to join his war on Islam. The main purpose was to compel the government to expel all Muslims and return to a culturally pure Europe. In my books this definitely qualified him as a terrorist.

Was he a Christian? According to his blog, he posted”I wasn’t particularly religious. Then I sort of glommed onto Christianity, and I realized I had to have a Christian identity”. It is true in his blog he criticizes Protestantism, not as a criticism of Christianity but because he saw it as part of the ‘cultural Marxism’ that has allowed the ‘purity of Europe to be thinned’. That a return to a more catholic type church…he even states that he had high hopes for the current Pope with what he saw as an initial hardline against Islam but was later disappointed by the consolatory attitude the Pope later took. Again by his own words he claims to be Christian, has a personal relationship with god and wishes to reinstate the Christian crusade to drive back the ‘Muslims scourge’ from Europe.

Is he a fundamentalist? This one gets more complicated. We, in North America, tend to think of fundamentalist as evangelical bible-literalist. This is not what he appears to be, there is no mention of creationism, however he does qualify I think as a fundamentalist on two grounds. Firstly, he does seem to think the current churches have lost their way and need to return to a more authoritarian and traditional role. It is the creed of tolerance and multiculturalism that he blames on the new church…creeds that are on the precipice of ‘destroying Europe’ and turning it into a ‘fundamentalist Muslim caliphate’. A fundamentalist is technically defined as someone wishing to return to ideological fundamentals…in this case a return to a medieval crusader religion.

Secondly, we think of fundamentalist as someone who wishes to create a theological state. Again in his own words, this was one of his aims; in fact because of his obsession with the religious threat posed by the ‘other’ religion (Islam), it seems his primary aim.

Irrespective of the religious overtones, the term fundamentalist can also be applied because of his “racist” (or extreme xenophobic) views; we can interpret each term (Terrorist, Christian and Fundamentalist) as three dimensions of description. His complaints about the ‘cultural Marxism’, tolerance and multiculturalism…how they have ‘corrupted and polluted’ Europe…the racial or at least cultural purity that has been the hallmark of the xenophobic movement in Europe strikes me as fundamentalist. As such his views on race and Europe do seem to qualify as fundamentalist and extremist.

So despite the protestation of the Christians, fascists and right wing; the term “Christian fundamentalist terrorist” seems applicable. If that label applies, were does the term ‘terrorist’ lead us? What use or misuse has the modern interpretation of ‘terrorist’ come to be…that we shall discuss in chapter 2.

One Response to “Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 1”

  1. […] great series of posts by Don, this time on terrorism can be seen here: Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 1 and Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 2 and Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 3 […]

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