Nightmare in Norway: at least 92 dead, and the question of religion

Posted by: Phineas on July 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

**Posted by Phineas

How awful for them:

Norwegian police said Saturday that the death toll from Friday’s attacks has risen to 92 and confirmed that they have arrested a suspect whom they described as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

In a news conference Saturday morning in Oslo, police confirmed that they had arrested Anders Behring Breivik, 32, on suspicion of orchestrating both the Oslo bombing and the youth-camp shooting rampage and had begun searching two apartments that he owns.

Breivik reportedly owns four properties including a farm on the outskirts of Oslo, allegedly to enable him to store legally a large amount of fertilizer.

Police would not comment on whether he acted alone but said no other arrests have been made. They said Breivik had no criminal record.

They would not speculate on his motives, but said, based own his own Twitter and Facebook accounts, he appeared to be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

Police say he was arrested by security forces at the Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya after the shootings. They said 84 people were killed on the island. At least seven were killed in the Oslo bombing.

Police Chief Oystein Maeland told reporters that they could not confirm the number of victims would stop at 92, adding that the attack had reached “catastrophic dimensions.”

He said officers were still “looking in the water around the island for more victims.”

It appears Breivik stalked the island for an hour-and-a-half, shooting the teens wherever he found them. The survivor accounts in the rest of the article are just horrifying. And there’s something dreadfully wrong with Norwegian law if the worst he can face is only 21 years in prison.

The issue of “why” remains unresolved and it likely won’t be settled for weeks, though it bears resemblances to both the attack on the Murragh Building in Oklahoma City for its anti-government angle and the massacre of children that occurred at Columbine and Dunblane.

The role of religion as motive is obviously going to play a role, however. Yesterday I hypothesized that this might have been an act of jihad — inspired by Islam. I wasn’t alone in my speculation, as the pattern of the attack fit previous jihadist operations: near-simultaneous attacks aimed at mass casualties (Bali, London, Madrid), the focus on children (Beslan), and a history of Islamic terror threats against Norway, including threats to kill government officials. Violent jihad is central to Islam. And lest anyone say that, even if this were an act of jihad, Islam wouldn’t permit the killing of innocent children, let me point out that Muhammad himself defined “innocent child” differently than we.

Now it appears that a narrative is building that this sociopath acted out of “Christian fundamentalism,” whatever that is. If that takes hold, and I say this as a thoroughly secular person, it would be grossly unfair and a slander against religious Christians because, unlike Islam, their faith forbids just this kind of action and makes it a mortal sin. The Fifth Commandment is, “You shall not murder.”

In other words, for Breivik to do what he did here or, more locally, for a Christian to gun down an abortionist, he necessarily acts against his religion. Not so with the jihadist, and I can see another false equivalence being created that needs to be pushed back against for the sake of moral and intellectual clarity and truth.

And the core truth at this time is that Breivik, regardless of whatever reason he did this, is an immensely evil human being, and that our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the Norwegian nation in this awful time.

LINKS: More from Power Line and Hot Air, and ST. Also The Anchoress.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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8 Responses to “Nightmare in Norway: at least 92 dead, and the question of religion”


  1. Carlos says:

    Oh, joy! I can hardly wait to be characterized as a mass murderer since I am a Christian fundamentalist. JanNap is going to have a field day with this one. It’s (pardon the expression) the “smoking gun” she (and every liberal I have ever known) has been hoping for for so long.

    Now they won’t have to twist logic into a pretzel to make Timmy McVeigh into a Christian, they apparently have a real live one to hold up as a shining example of what evil people Christians really are.

    Also, since his bombing was at a government building, and the camp attacked was at an indoctrination camp for socialists, we Christians will see just how much libs/moonbats/socialists believe their moonbattery can trigger (again, pardon the expression) violent reaction to the suppression of the human spirit.

    Bottom line for me is that now the score since 2001 is something like 3 – 18,937, in favor of the jihadists/libs/nazis.

  2. foxmuldar says:

    The bible teaches Christians to love they neighbor. The Quran teaches Muslim to kill they neighbor if they don’t submit to Islam. Quite a difference I would think.

  3. Mimi says:

    Interesting articles at Seems there is much to learn about this Norwegian mass murderer and the scene of the shootings, a socialist youth movement camp.

    “It’s also important to note that the terms of American politics are not easily transferable to European politics. Often, the extremes in Europe are communists on the left and fascists on the right. In America, “extreme right wing” has been hijacked to label conservatives who adhere strictly to the Constitution, or who fight for legal immigration. (Some on the American left have even succeeded in making “extreme right wing” synonymous with the Tea Party.) In Europe, however, the term could mean zealous nationalists and militant fascists.”

  4. bob jones says:

    A news helicopter was filming the attack but no helicopter or boats were available for police so they could stop the attack. Something is very wrong with this story, 90 minutes for a police response! This needs a much better explanation, if there is one.

  5. Julia says:

    Well really, what would stop one of the Islamic faithful from joining a Christian religious group as an act of al-taqiyya, then carrying out their jihadist phlosophy? This is just too bizarre, and it has awfully convenient timing. Smells like a political ploy to me.

  6. David says:

    This is a great post. IT speaks to what I have posted in other posts about this incident on this site elsewhere.

    The only quibble I have is that I do not agree that the jihadist is not acting against his religion.

    I believe that jihadists are heretics.

    LOL…I see that this view is not shared by many of those who post here.

  7. Phineas says:


    I believe that jihadists are heretics.

    Fair enough. So let me ask: based on what? I assume you’ve read the Qur’an and so have seen that it contains both verses of peace and tolerance and war and intolerance. The former are found mostly in the verses written in Mecca, when the Muslims were weak and needed to avoid trouble, while the latter were written in Medina, from where Muhammad began his wars of conquest.

    The latter are generally regarded to supersede the former via the doctrine of abrogation: a later revelation invalidates a prior. Thus the 9th chapter of the Qur’an, containing the infamous “verse of the sword”, supplants all prior peaceful verses. Or take Qur’an 2:193, again a Medinan verse that commands Muslims to fight until “all religion is for Allah.”

    There are also the hadiths (collected sayings and deeds of Muhammad and his companions), the biography by ibn Ishaq (the earliest known biography, and regarded as canonical), and the tafsirs, the learned commentaries by Islamic scholars from medieval days to the present. All agree on jihad as a central requirement of Islam and that it means war, including terror.

    There are also the writings of bin Laden and Zawahiri, the latter no slouch as a scholar, though he really had to stretch to justify suicide bombing. (Collected in “The al-Qaeda Reader,” by Raymond Ibrahim.)

    It’s possible to argue that some of the actions of modern-day jihadists are heretical (the Taliban who hanged the 8-year old this weekend probably are), though overall I believe they’re right in line with orthodox, mainstream Islam. They’re simply acting on imperatives in the religion that had lain quiet for several centuries, since the Turkish decline.

    So, let me ask you again: In what way are modern jihadists heretical?

    Oh, and LOL.

  8. Carlos says:

    It’s interesting that, almost without exception, muslims use terror only when they don’t have numbers, but when numbers justify a frontal assault they are willing to demand obeisance, the alternative being death and destruction.

    Muhammad was no slouch, for he knew that under a proposed system as he proposed fear was the strongest and nearly only motivator, and nothing strikes terror in the heart of an opponent like the unknown.