Anders Breivik: There is nothing to study in the mind of Norway’s mass killer

It is certainly true that on the face of it he has much in common with some recent Islamic suicide bombers. He is disturbed by female emancipation, and thinks women would be better off in the home. He seems to be pretty down on homosexuality. Above all – and in this he strongly resembles an Islamist – he believes that his own religious leaders are deeply decadent and have deviated from orthodoxy. He is repelled, like so many Muslim terrorists, by anything that resembles the mingling of cultures.

People will say that we are looking at the mirror image, in fact, of an Islamic terrorist – a man driven by an identical but opposite ideological mania. There is certainly a symmetry here, and yet in both cases, Breivik and the Muslim bomber, I don’t think that ideology is really at the heart of the problem. Yesterday the television reporters found an acquaintance of his from Norway, a fellow called Ulav Andersson, who said that he had known Breivik pretty well. He was surprised by all the Knights of Templar stuff, because he had never really been religious, and he wasn’t aware that he had been interested in politics.

“He didn’t seem opinionated at all,” he said. He just became chippy and irritable, said Ulav Andersson, when some girl he had a crush on jilted him in favour of a man of Pakistani origin.

It wasn’t about immigration, or Eurabia, or the hadith, or the Eurocrats’ plot against the people. It wasn’t really about ideology or religion. It was all about him, and his feeling of inadequacy in relation to the female sex. The same point can be made (and has been made) about so many of the young Muslim terrorists. The fundamental reasons for their callous behaviour lie deep in their own sense of rejection and alienation. It is the ideology that gives them the ostensible cause, that potentiates the poison in their bloodstream, that gives them an excuse to dramatise the resentment that they feel in the most powerful way – and to kill.

There is an important lesson, therefore, in the case of Anders Breivik. He killed in the name of Christianity – and yet of course we don’t blame Christians or “Christendom”. Nor, by the same token, should we blame “Islam” for all acts of terror committed by young Muslim males. Sometimes there come along pathetic young men who have a sense of powerlessness and rejection, and take a terrible revenge on the world. Sometimes there are people who feel so weak that they need to kill in order to feel strong. They don’t need an ideology to behave as they do.

Michael Ryan had no ideology in Hungerford; Thomas Hamilton had no ideology in Dunblane. To try to advance any other explanation for their actions – to try to advance complicated “social” factors, or to examine the impact of multiculturalism in Scandinavia – is simply to play their self-important game. Anders Breivik may have constructed a portentous 1,500 page manifesto, but like so many others of his type he was essentially a narcissist and egomaniac who could not cope with being snubbed. We should spend less time thinking about him, and much more on the victims and their families.

8 thoughts on “Anders Breivik: There is nothing to study in the mind of Norway’s mass killer”

  1. ok but absolutist ideologies of many kinds including Judaism and Christianity can trigger such narcissistic behaviour Baader meinhof Islam can easily metamorphose into Baader Meinhof neo-nazism. the Islamists have succeeded in provoking a violent reaction which will please them so now they can “justify” their next atrocity done in the name of their all-merciful invisible friend. Perhaps we must rely on the Methodist Liberation Front to save us all?

  2. According the website, Breivik expressed extremist Islamophobic views on forums and criticised immigration policies.There was anger among some of the 150,000 Muslims living in Norway when a newspaper reproduced the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad(peace be upon him). As I have been scanning the news for information on the brutal murders in Norway two things have struck me. The first were the “terrorism experts” who immediately jumped to the conclusion that Muslim extremist were behind this with no evidence at hand. But most startling is the fact that Anders Brehing Breivik apparently was a deeply influenced by Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Daniel Pipes. In fact he apparently posted a video of Pipes drawing supposed connections between “Leftists” and “Muslim Extremists” to his website. Who says that Europeans are civilised. They are the most savage people in the world. They are guilty of massacre during the time of Crusade in Jeruslem. They not only slaughtered Arab Muslims but also Arab Christians and Jews. They massacred American Indians in millions. They slaughtered Aboragenies who welcomed them in the first place. British massacred millions of Indian Muslims after the War of Independence in 1857. Millions of their children were converted to Christianity by the Chrisian Missionaries.

  3. Well Now, Mr Iftikhar Ahmad has spent the last 40 plus years living in the UK on state benefits provided by the gullible Brits and provokes the “natives” at every opportunity. now some insane Norwegian person has felt sufficiently alienated by his ilk that he has behaved just like a mad Muslim terrorist. In these sad circumstances Mr Ahmad would be better advised to keep silent.

  4. The Norwegian terrorist might like to parade as a jihadi, a holy warrior or a Knight Templar. No system of security can prevent such act of terrorism. The slaughter of innocent Norwegians is a blow against multiculturalism. After the blood shed he told his lawyer his actions were “atrocious but necessary”. He wanted war against minorities.

    The initial hastiness to blame islamist terrorists for the gruesome slaughter, examplifies the institutionalisation of Islamophobia in the West. It is wrong to call him a psychotic loner. He begain his “crusaid” against the spread of Islam after attending a secret meeting in London. His lawyer has branded him “insane”. Had he been a Muslim he was immediately branded as Islamic terrorist. Studies have shown that such individuals have rarely mental illness or psychiatric abnormalilies. No body called Bush and Blair having mental illness while bombing Iraq and Afghanistan, killing lot of civilians.

    The overwhelming majority of terror attacks in Europe in recent years have been carried out by non-Muslims.In Britain , a string of recent convictions of would-be anti-Muslim terrorists has underlined that Breivik is very far from being just a Norwegian phenomenon. Lower-level violence and intimidation is common in Britain. Recently a Masjid in Luton was vandalised and spray-painted with a swastika and EDL slogan.

    The rise of Islamophobia in Europe, Australia and US has become the new aceptable form of racism. I do not agree that someone who”can see nothing wrong in shooting dead 69 innocent civilians in cold blood” is “insane”.

  5. who then Mr Ahmad is the most insane? a neo nazi with a political objective (albeit a vile one), or the 9/11, 7/7 etc. nutters who thought they were pleasing an invisible being who would send them to a paradise to be tended by 72 doe-eyed virgins (hopefully unveiled) after they had killed thousands of innocents

    if you do not like graffiti on masjids perhaps you and the likes of Choudhary would be wiser to stop being deliberately provocative rather than having a girly hissy fit. Since you are a minority of a little over 3% it would be prudent to behave,

    Islamophobia – means fear of Islam, there is no fear, just a sensible suspicion of a violent and intolerant cult which seeks to overthrow out way of life.

    Fortunately most people are no longer fooled by Islamists like Mr Ahmad – the cat is out of the Burka

  6. One significant difference between Breivik’s actions and those of most other terrorists, is that he has taken out his frustration on his fellow Norwegians. Islamic terrorists usually seem to target innocent westerners, whereas Breivik has not targeted innocent muslims.

    This aspect, i.e. targeting his own people, lends weight to the theory that alienation and ‘not fitting in’, were contributing factors in this case. However, in terms of the care and planning that went into the operation, he does seem to have taken a leaf from al-qaeda’s book.

  7. ”All Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims..” This comment , frequently heard after the Mumbai bomb blasts, implies that terrorism is a Muslim specialty, if not a monopoly. The facts are very different.


    First, there is nothing new about terrorism. In 1881, anarchists killed the Russian Tsar Alexander II and 21 bystanders.
    In 1901, anarchists killed US President McKinley as well as King Humbert I of Italy .
    World War I started in 1914 when anarchists killed Archduke Ferdinand of Austria .
    These terrorist attacks were not Muslim.

    Terrorism is generally defined as the killing of civilians for political reasons. Going by this definition, the British Raj referred to Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad and many other Indian freedom fighters as terrorists.
    These were Hindu and Sikh rather than Muslim.

    Guerrilla fighters from Mao Zedong to Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro killed civilians during their revolutionary campaigns. They too were called terrorists until they triumphed.
    Nothing Muslim about them.

    In Palestine , after World War II, Jewish groups (the Haganah, Irgun and Stern Gang) fought for the creation of a Jewish state, bombing hotels and installations and killing civilians. The British, who then governed Palestine, rightly called these Jewish groups terrorists. Many of these terrorists later became leaders of independent Israel – Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon. Ironically, these former terrorists then lambasted terrorism, applying this label only to Arabs fighting for the very same nationhood that the Jews had fought for earlier.

    In Germany in 1968-92, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang killed dozens, including the head of Treuhand, the German privatization agency.
    In Italy , the Red Brigades kidnapped and killed Aldo Moro, former prime minister.

    The Japanese Red Army was an Asian version of this. Japan was also the home of Aum Shinrikyo, a Buddhist cult that tried to kill thousands in the Tokyo metro system using nerve gas in 1995.

    In Europe , the Irish Republican Army has been a Catholic terrorist organization for almost a century.
    Spain and France face a terrorist challenge from ETA, the Basque terrorist organization.

    Africa is ravaged by so much civil war and internal strife that few people even bother to check which groups can be labeled terrorist. They stretch across the continent. Possibly the most notorious is the Lord’s Salvation Army in Uganda , a Christian outfit that uses children as warriors.

    In Sri Lanka , the Tamil Tigers have long constituted one of the most vicious and formidable terrorist groups in the world.
    They were the first to train children as terrorists. They happen to be Hindus. Suicide bombing is widely associated with Muslim Palestinians and Iraqis, but the Tamil Tigers were the first to use this tactic on a large scale. One such suicide bomber assassinated Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

    In India, the militants in Kashmir are Muslim. But they are only one of several militant groups. The Punjab militants, led by Bhindranwale, were Sikhs. The United Liberation Front of Assam is a Hindu terrorist group that targets Muslims rather than the other way round. Tripura has witnessed the rise and fall of several terrorist groups, and so have Bodo strongholds in Assam . Christian Mizos mounted an insurrection for decades, and Christian Nagas are still heading militant groups.

    But most important of all are the Maoist terrorist groups that now exist in no less than 150 out of India ‘s 600 districts. They have attacked police stations, and killed and razed entire villages that oppose them.
    These are secular terrorists (like the Baader Meinhof Gang or Red Brigades). In terms of membership and area controlled, secular terrorists are far ahead of Muslim terrorists.

    In sum, terrorism is certainly not a Muslim monopoly.
    There are or have been terrorist groups among Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists. Secular terrorist (anarchists, Maoists) have been the biggest killers.

    Why then is there such a widespread impression that most or all terrorist groups are Muslim?
    I see two reasons.
    First, the Indian elite keenly follows the western media, and the West feels under attack from Islamic groups.
    Catholic Irish terrorists have killed far more people in Britain than Muslims, yet the subway bombings in London and Madrid are what Europeans remember today.
    The Baader Meinhof Gang, IRA and Red Brigades no longer pose much of a threat, but after 9/11 Americans and Europeans fear that they could be hit anywhere anytime. So they focus attention on Islamic militancy. They pay little notice to other forms of terrorism in Africa, Sri Lanka or India : these pose no threat to the West.

    Within India , Maoists pose a far greater threat than Muslim militants in 150 districts, one-third of India ‘s area. But major cities feel threatened only by Muslim groups. So the national elite and media focus overwhelmingly on Muslim terrorism. The elite are hardly aware that this is an elite phenomenon.

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