“Insane” is what Anders Behring Breivik’s lawyer calls him. “Crazy” and “psychotic” is how many describe the man behind the deadliest attack in Norway since World War II. Hunting down teens like rabbits with a high- powered rifle to defeat a purported Muslim invasion of Europe seems definitively, absolutely irrational. But TheÂ New York Times, which unswervingly refers to Islamist atrocities as isolated incidents by crazed loners, will have none of that. The day after the tragedy, its headline ran: “Norway ChargesÂ ChristianÂ Extremist.” Breivik is nothing of the sort.
It was not only the Times that so much wanted Breivik to be an agent of the Cross and an exemplar of the hated right. Using classic defamatory technique, European and American media raced to blame the entire anti-jihadist movement for murder by association, with the goal of setting the legitimate concerns many ordinary people have with radical Islamists beyond the pale of civilized discourse.For US mainstream media, this was dÃ©jÃ vu all over again: Recall the media chorus that painted Jared Loughner, the man who shot Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a right winger inspired by TeaÂ PartyÂ rhetoric, even a Sarah Palin groupie. Loughner, it turned out, is an anti-war, Satan-worshipping, left-wing pothead. Recall that Timothy McVeigh, the first American terrorist cast by the media as a “Christianfundamentalist,” was another pot-smoking atheist who wrote, “Science is my religion.”Instinctively, incorrigibly America’s mainstream media seeks to punish the voices that undermine their false narrative of reality: In the current tragedy, it’s not the domestic right – focused on abortion, marriage and taxes – but the growing, international, populist – but also erudite – antijihad movement.
The hatred here is even more intense,Â drivingÂ Times men batty; columnist Roger Cohen, who has rarely met an Iranian mullah without some redeeming features, calls anti-jihadists “racists,” hurling modernity’s most damning epithet, despite knowing full well that the anti-jihad fight is about beliefs, not skin color. Knowing full well that blackÂ ChristiansÂ and Indian Hindus are in the forefront.
As they exultantly make Breivik the poster boy for anti-jihadism, the Times irresponsibly published a photo of the movement’s most learned, prolific and courageous leader, Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer. In doing so, it painted a target on his back. Spencer, already facing numerous death threats for his scholarly yet engaging works, is the true gentleman and indefatigable warrior who has consistently spoken out against any sort of violence and advocated for human rights for every person.
The media and all the machinery of the left now try to use Breivik’s crimes to shut down public discussion of the problems posed by radical Islamists in our midst. I doubt this will work in Scandinavia, where mass immigration from Muslim countries has led to attacks on Jews, gays and women. Swedish Jews, under assault from Muslim immigrants indoctrinated to hate them, are fleeing their homes in Malmo. European leaders and the media contrive toÂ silenceÂ the voices of average people who are upset with the reality they see daily, threatening to curse them as “racists.” The truth is that if anyone other than Breivik is to be blamed for the madness that drove him to barbarity, it is not the anti-jihadists who point out the problem; it is the failed leaders who – as truly mad men – insist there is no Islamist problem to point out.
What’s behind this muscular, hostile, blindness of Western leaders, and their media prevarication machines?
The first thing to see is that facts and logic not only fail to persuade; they are ruled out of the discussion. As one of Boston’s progressive rabbis told me (as he refused to look at hardÂ facts aboutÂ Boston’s Islamists bringing anti-Semitic speakers into our community) there can be no data in this discussion: If I even think Islamic leaders may be a problem, he opined, then I must be a racist. Is it not then the “progressive” rabbi – denying reality, mistakenly spooked by his imagined loss of virtue – who is off his rocker?
The issue, as such folks see it, is about us. …. “Islam” is only an indicator in the service of a core tenet of Western progressives: how we treat “the other” is the most telling measure of our humanity. (The “other,” by the progressive’s definition, is innocent!) Islam is seen, and must only be seen, in this context – so as to validate our virtue. This proposition has corollaries, equally foolish, equally dangerous:
Projection.Â If we treat “the other” nicely, we will be treated nicely.
Guilt.Â Since we have done evil (killed Native Americans, exploited black slaves), we lack moralÂ standingÂ to criticize others.
Consequences.Â Even if you are clearly criticizing only extremist Muslim leaders, you are tainting the entire community, so you can’t do it innocently.
To progressives, Islam – like all other religions (except Christianity) and cultures (except Western Civilization) – is by definition non-problematic. The most cherished set of American illusions – progress is inevitable, and moral and economic progress go hand in hand – imply that poverty, oppression, lack of education and opportunity – not culture or ideology or religion – cause crime and terrorism; and that reason can and will cure irrational hatreds.
To contest such notions – which is precisely what the anti-jihadists are doing – threatens the entire leftist narrative. If proved wrong on these rudimentary issues, who knows what else leftists can be wrong about? This is the reason any discussion about Islamism must be stifled, cursed as blasphemy. To the Times men, this fight is about much more than “protecting the Muslim community”; it is about defending theirÂ gods, Western secular faith, and the dominant narrative. And for that, they