Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

“A lone Wolf” andMulticulturalism

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“A lone Wolf” andMulticulturalism

Well, the tragic incident in Oslo, Norway can never and should never end with a conclusion that as there had not been evident connections of the culprit Breivik with the far right organizations in Europe, therefore it was a sole-effort and the threats of far right extremist views are meager. Even if it was a sole-effort, it must not be forgotten that it did not happen in space. And the wounds, both visible and invisible, left by the incident would be healed by terming Breivik 'a lone Wolf'.

This incident does have connections and even roots in existing social patterns, and may have been quiet greatly influenced by existing political ideologies or inclinations, if not backed by any political party. The phenomenon of immigration and the concerns attached to it have been dominating the socio-political setup of European countries to a large extent. There have been controversies among the political parties and authorities regarding the policies towards the immigrants who if welcomed warmly by some are neglected coldly by some others.

Definitely, immigration along with the developments in communication and transportation has made it possible for the people of different cultural backgrounds to get closer to each other, which has given rise to the concept of multiculturalism – different cultures co-existing in harmony at least theoretically. Multiculturalism definitely depicts and demands higher human values, but it is difficult to manage.

There are various challenges that a multicultural society has to face. Among them acceptability is one of the most important ones. Further, the society wherein multiculturalism has to exist always generates a sort of fear of loss of national identity. This loss of national identity sometimes takes the form of political struggle through political platforms, while at other times it may take the form of violent measures. And on certain occasions it is also possible that the political parties themselves turn violent in the pursuit of their motto.

Currently, connections of Breivik are being traced with the far right organizations and parties in Europe. These connections are based on the claims in manifesto published by Breivik on internet, where in he backed the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant supporter and called them as the European Patriots or something similar. The first such party is Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) – a Dutch political party. It was founded in 2005 and has been backing global anti-Islamic movement. Since, its establishment it has been able to grow largely and currently stands as the third largest party in Dutch Parliament.

It declares to have anti-Islamic inclination but claims to have it on peaceful grounds. Its chairman, Geert Wilders has been praised by Breivik in his manifesto, while Geert Wilders has vehemently rejected any sort of connection between him and Breivik and at the same time PVV. He has mentioned that actually he has been "disgusted" for having been praised by someone who has defamed the peaceful anti-Islamic movement. He has mentioned, "Neither the PVV nor I are responsible for a lone idiot who violently distorted the freedom-loving, anti-Islamization ideals, no matter how much some people would like that."

Another party, which is some how relevant in this regard, is English Defence League (EDL). It is also known as a far right party and tends to defend English tradition and shows discontent over immigration especially from Muslim countries. England has been one of the countries with a considerable population that have migrated from other parts of the world.

It, to the possible extent at the present scenario, is a multicultural society. EDL is one of the parties in the forefront of anti-migration and anti-Muslim movement in England. Breivik has claimed in his manifesto that he had joined Wilders in his controversial visit to London last year, wherein he was in contact with EDL. Though there are messages from EDL leadership that there is on connection between Breivik and EDL, there are reports that Breivik has exchanged messages with the members of EDL on the groups website wherein he signed himself as "Sigurd Jorsalfare" – the 12th century Norwegian King, famous for leading a crusade in Holy Land. Nevertheless, the EDL leader Stephen Lennon has told to BBC, "Breivik was a sick individual.

You can never use terror tactics like he has used. But do we want to learn from it?" The question that he has asked is important. It can not be said with certainty what he meant from that. But what other people in the world can gain from it is really important. What the authorities in Norway and other European countries can learn from it in order to avoid such ugly incidents in the days to come, and design their policies regarding immigration issues and the future of multiculturalism.

The Oslo incident can never be seen as a lunatic's individual and lone response to the socio-political scenario. It has to be seen in the perspective of the growing clashes among the cultures as the world strives to move towards multiculturalism. Definitely, multiculturalism is a phenomenon with more positives. Above all it demands from human beings higher moral values, making them judge human beings on the basis of humanity; not other smaller divisions. But at the same time it is hard to achieve. There are many who belittle this phenomenon and call it unachievable.

There are many who already claim, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel once expressed, "Multiculturalism has failed, utterly failed." If there have been difficulties in achieving multiculturalism, they have been because of normal social process. You can not simply put people of different cultures together and demand that they should start living in a harmony.

It is time consuming and yet there is a long way to go to achieve it. For the time being states marked with multiculturalism have to introduce hard and fast rules and vigilant check against any sort of attempt to strengthen violation of it. However, the developed nations of the world must never strive to go against it, not because the deprived nations benefit from it but because it is favorable for all the human beings. Further, this opportunity also lies in their hand.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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