By Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Norway is a liberal democracy. It is ruled by Labor Party. It has liberal policies on on a number of social issues. On July 22, it was hit with the worst terrorist attack on its territory by a right wing Christian conservative. Even though the so-called terrorist experts claim that he acted alone, the hand of other right wing Christian conservative individuals and groups should not be ruled out. With what is being taught in several conservative churches against liberalism, socialism, non-Christian religions (especially Islam and Judaism), the action of the Norwegian terrorist is not out of line of the dominant thinking. The 32-year-old Norwegian man who allegedly went on a shooting spree on the island of Utoya has been identified as Anders Behring Breivik, according to multiple reports.The gunman was dressed as a police officer and gunned down young people as they ran for their lives at a youth camp, which means that he might have some Christian conservative sympathizers in the police force.The possibility of receiving support from some Christian conservative individuals or groups from the US should also not be ruled out. After all, Christian conservatism emerged as a major force in the US.
Breivik belongs to â€œring-wing circlesâ€ in Oslo. He has been known to write to right-wing forums in Norway and is a self-described nationalist who has also written a number of posts attacking Islam On July 17 he posted a quote from philosopher John Stuart Mill on his twitter account saying: â€œOne person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.â€ On a Facebook account Breivik describes himself as having Christian conservative views.
Obviously, not all Christians subscribe to the theology of Christian conservatives who regard everyone who does not believe in their doctrine as pagan and destined for hell. They regard liberalism as the major threat to their way of life. Christian conservative talk show hosts in the United States fill the airwaves with hatred against all those who have liberal attitudes.
The initial reaction of the media was to point fingers at Muslim extremists. Initially, several experts concluded that either Libyan backed terrorist groups or pro- Afghan Taliban groups might be the culprits. However, as details emerged, those experts went into hiding. When it became known that the gunman was a Norwegian ultra right wing extremist, few spoke about the theology of Conservative Christianity or the danger it poses to democracies or free societies all over the world. Not one recalled Timothy Mcveigh, responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. It is not a coincidence that this terrorist attack came at a time when the champion of right wing ideas, the media empire of Rupert Murdoch is in terrible shape facing challenges for its survival.
Terrorism in all its forms and shapes is wrong and must be condemned. One cannot blame an entire religion for the terrorist act of a few. Had it been a Muslim perpetrator, the experts might have already concluded that Islam is a religion that cannot find itself at peace with the West and Democracy and Muslims living in Europe and America cannot be trusted.
What Breivik did in Norway is the natural outcome of the theology of arrogance and hatred that is taught in several churches around the world in the name of Christianity. We must realize that terrorism is not related with one religion or race or ethnic group. It is a threat every religious community and country faces. Instead of pointing fingers at religions, we must all come together to stand all those who believe that violence is the only method to ensure that point of view is heard. Violence must be rejected by all who believe in the sanctity of human life and with a clear understanding that the Divine will is not seek the destruction of the human race but to help people find common ground–to create a world where people can live the faith of their choice without any coercion.