As the terrorist attacks unfolded in Norway but before their origins were fully known, many assumed that the perpetrator was a Muslim. To everyone’s surprise, the terrorist wasn’t Muslim, but rather a blond, Christian, anti-Muslim extremist, Anders Behring Breivik.
Immediately after the attacks, American anti-Muslim activists (like those I mentioned in Wednesday’s post) frantically distanced themselves from Breivik. Pamela Geller, who was referenced positively in Breivik’s manifesto, dismissed Breivik as a crazy man without an ideology—all this despite Breivik’s planned and methodical killing inspired by his 1,500 page manifesto.
Stephen Colbert did a great segment about the shock of Breivik’s identity. “The point is, this monster may not be Muslim, but his heinous acts are indisputably Musl-ish. And we must not let his Islam-esque atrocity divert our attention from the terrible people he reminds us of.” See the video below.
Breivik strongly identified himself as a Christian, and the right-wing news media in America was disturbed by this fact. Jon Stewart did a great segment highlighting the hypocrisy of FOX News’ concerns. Here’s a few that Jon brings up in his piece:
Laura Ingram: “The idea that [Breivik] represents any mainstream or even fringe sentiment in the Christian community is ridiculous.”
Bill O’Reilly: “Breivik is not a Christian. That’s impossible. No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder. … They call him a Christian because he says he is?”
Stewart’s reaction: “Now obviously I would have a little more sympathy for the FOX rapid response team’s nuanced concerns if their plea to distinguish violence proclaimed in the name of a religion from the practitioners and tenets of said religion were applied to more than let’s say one religion.”
As Stewart points out, the FOX News Christians are trying to make the same argument about Breivik that Muslims have been trying to make about Muslim terrorist for the last ten years. Who knew that FOX would be so quick to cling to an argument they’ve been trying to break apart for a decade. Watch the clip below, and enjoy.
*In this series, and on my blog more generally, I’ve criticized the right-wing media and the Republican party. This is not because of my own partisan views. I do consider myself a liberal, but because of many conservatives’ choice to embrace Islamophobia and further spread it. Except for New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has been the lone conservative voice to call out the ridiculousness of anti-Muslim and anti-sharia rhetoric, no conservative has asked their fellow party members to embrace sanity in the midst of the fear mongering. Democrats haven’t been much better and have generally distanced themselves from the discussion. Though many have openly and strongly countered the Islamophobic rhetoric, they need to do a better job of making their opinions heard to the general public, not those who read op-eds in liberal websites and news outlets. The more liberal cable news programs have done a great job responding to the hysteria, but they tend to preach to the choir, leaving the often-misinformed Americans who only get their news from FOX to maintain their mistaken beliefs. Both parties must do better at fighting Islamophobia and encourage one another to stop making Muslims political pawns.