Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Friday’s Attacks and Islam-phobia

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Friday’s Attacks  and Islam-phobia

Norwegians are still in sulfurous shock days after terroristic bombing and shootings, which left 93 dead and numerous injured. First, a strong explosion shook the office of Prime Minister, Mr. Stoltenberg, and surrounding buildings, and, Later on, followed by almost an hour-long rampage shooting at youth camp which took the lives of 85 people on the small country's island, Utoya. The attacks caused many Norwegian families shed tears frantically for losses for the first time, perhaps, since the calamitous Second World War.

It was of course a national tragedy for a refugee friendly country. In 2001, when a boy of Norwegian mother and Ghanaian father was killed by people linked to Christian far-right groups, around forty thousand riled-up people took part in candlelit procession in Oslo streets and strongly condemned the incident. Even after ten years, the anniversary was celebrated by 5 thousand people this year.

The murderer of Friday is a 32-year Norwegian citizen with a far-right mentality. According to previous reports released, police claimed that he might had partner or even partners, but later on it was revealed that he was alone. He alleged having spent nine years planning the attacks and shifted into his mother's apartment in order to save money for buying necessary materials for bomb making.

And finally, he leased a farmland and distanced himself from friends in order to avoid suspicion. His 1,500 pages manifesto released online on the internet shows his patient, obsessive, and meticulous preparations for the attacks. The only motivation he had likely was his staggering hatred against Muslims. He has confessed and said that the attacks were "gruesome but necessary". It means he is not sorry for deaths he caused and still thinks he had done the right thing.

It is important to note that he is not psycho or suffering from any particular mental diseases. He has not any kind of personal thing to revenge and grew up under one of world's top democratic country with multi and plural culture. His confession and manifesto all denote on his deep hatred of Muslims and refugees in his country, the phenomenon which have made many worried in Europe as well as in North America.

The level of hatred and grudge against refugees stunned Norwegians, because violent activities and incidents are completely alien and unfamiliar to Norwegian culture as well as society. After the incident, people poured into streets and frantically asking themselves about the reasons behind, and why their peace-loving society has turned violent against increasing number of refugees.

Perhaps, there is a huge number of Norwegians inconvenient with increasing number of refugees who resistant against dominant culture and maintaining their own traditions, but none support violent actions as held by Mr. Anders Behring Breivik. He would be hated indiscriminately by all and, in short-term; those who have far-right mentality would be more careful and cautious expressing anti-Islamic statements.

Islam-phobia is somehow a new phenomenon in Europe as well as North America, and intensified after nine eleventh and several other terroristic attacks linked to terror networks like that of Al-Qaeda. In western Media, the activities of Islamic fundamentalists have been always zoomed and people have drawn a grim picture from Islam while seeing terroristic incidents which are linked to Islamic fundamentalist. Obviously, when people watch violent operations, assassinations, murders and executions of women, which are committed by groups like Taliban, Al-Qaeda or any other groups bearing the name of Islam, can effectively give a bad impression to people.

Of course, Europe is not a democratic Muslim country where people can be touched with true Islamic teachings and understand that fundamentalism and extremism hardly has any link with true teachings of Prophet Mohammad. Instead, there are far-right groups and Christian fundamentalists who are trying to exploit those incidents and start an anti-Islam propaganda. Therefore, people have the right to be afraid of burqa-clad women or long beard man walking on streets of Oslo, Brussels, Paris, London and etc.

During decades, what has made Europe a prime target of refugees of Asia and Africa, along with hope for economic prosperity and welfare, is definitely democracy and multi-culturalism under which people are free to state, wear and worship whatever and whomever they want. Unfortunately, unless due measure held those ideals would increasingly erode and societies in the future wouldn't be as tolerant as they are. Such tolerant culture is indubitably the result of decades of struggle of multi-culturalists and pluralists.

What we see as cultural intolerance is a new phenomenon that originates from terrorist activities across the world linked to Islamic fundamentalists. Previously, no body cared much in Europe about Muslims because their number was ignorable and they used to easily dissolve in ruling or dominant secular culture of Europe. Now it is different. The number of Muslims rapidly moving upward and they maintain their own Islamic culture and tradition - building mosque, wearing hijab, participating in Islamic rituals, and etc.

In addition, the graph of people turning into Islam is also increasing. Therefore, the process caused a reactionary move of the society, and people are increasingly becoming less tolerant against cultures other than European. There are creditable reports showing that it is hard to find a job for refugee than an original citizen in many European countries.

Now, it is the question whether Friday's incident can befriend Norwegians with their guests. Seemingly, the answer is positive, at least, in short term. Far-right wings would be more cautious in expressing their notions as the feelings of people are terribly hurt. And it also will fuel alarming about Christian fundamentalists who previously were ignored, and Media were focusing much on Islamic fundamentalists. But it is too early to estimate about its long term consequences.

Jawad Rahmani is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at jawad_rahmani2001@yahoo.com

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