Media outlets in Europe and the United States are accusing Western critics of Islam and multiculturalism of complicity in the mass killing of more than 70 people in Norway. The attempt to exploit this crime for political gain is not just a case of malicious opportunism. It also represents the latest and most unsavoury salvo in the long-running war on free speech in Europe.
Anders Behring Breivik, a deranged Norwegian accused of bombing government buildings in Oslo and then killing scores of young people during a 90-minute shooting rampage on a nearby camping island called Utoya, published a 1,500-page manifesto in which he vents his anger at the direction in which mostly leftwing elites in Norway and elsewhere in Europe are leading his country and the continent as a whole.
As it turns out, parts of the manifesto include cut-and-pasted blog posts from European and American analysts and writers who for years have been educating the general public about the destructive effects of multiculturalism and runaway Muslim immigration. By dint of duplicitous logic, these analysts and writers are now the victims of a smear campaign: multiculturalists are accusing them of inciting Breivik to murder.
These same analysts have, of course, been a constant bane on an unaccountable European elite determined to foist its post-modern, post-nationalist and post-Christian multicultural agenda on a sceptical European citizenry.
Unwilling to countenance opposition, these self-appointed guardians of European political correctness have laboured to silence public discussion about issues such as the rise of Islam in Europe and/or the failure of millions of Muslim immigrants to integrate into European society.
The primary weapon in this war on free speech has been lawfare: the malicious use of European courts to criminalize criticism of Islam.
Prosecutions of so-called anti-Islam hate speech are now commonplace in Europe. Some of the more well-known efforts to silence debate about Islam in Europe have involved high-profile individuals like Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, and Brigitte Bardot, a French animal rights activist.
Other recent assaults on free speech in Europe include the show trials of: Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a housewife in Austria, Susanne Winter, a politician in Austria, Lars Hedegaard, a journalist in Denmark, Jesper Langballe, a politician in Denmark, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, a politician in Finland, Michel Houellebecq, a novelist in France, Gregorius Nekschot, the pseudonym of a cartoonist in the Netherlands, and the late Oriana Fallaci, a journalist and author in Italy.
In other cases, physical violence has been the preferred method of silencing contrary views of Islam in Europe. In 2002, for example, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated for his views on Muslim immigration, and in 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death for producing a movie that criticized Islam. In 2010, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard narrowly escaped being assassinated by an axe-wielding Muslim extremist in Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city.
Many theories attempt to explain the rise of multiculturalism in Europe. Among these is the idea that European elites, determined to prevent a repeat of the carnage of the Second World War, embraced multiculturalism as a tool to try to dilute or even eliminate the national ethnic, religious and or/cultural identities that contributed to centuries of violence in Europe.
But in recent years, the secular purveyors of European multiculturalism have moved far beyond their initial objective of creating an American-style "melting pot." European socialists now view multiculturalism as a means to eliminate the entire Judeo-Christian worldview. This is certainly the case in Spain, where socialists have joined arms with Islam in a "Red-Green Alliance" to confront a common enemy, Christianity, as represented, in this case, by the Roman Catholic Church.
To be sure, decades of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration have already transformed Europe in ways unimaginable only a few decades ago. In Britain, for example, Muslims currently are campaigning to turn twelve British cities -- including what they call "Londonistan" -- into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence. More than 80 Sharia courts are already operating in the country. At the same time, Mohammed is now the most common name for baby boys.
In France, large swaths of Muslim neighbourhoods are now considered "no-go" zones by French police. At last count, there are 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS), as they are euphemistically called. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the ZUS, parts of France over which the French state has lost control.
In Germany, anti-Semitism (which is often disguised as anti-Zionism), has reached levels not seen since the Second World War. An April 2011 report, for example, found that 47.7% of Germans believe "Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians," and nearly 50% of Germans believe "Jews try to take advantage of having been victims of the Nazi era."
In Norway, large sections of Oslo are being turned into Muslim enclaves subject to Sharia law and to the dictates of local imams. The citizens of Oslo are also struggling to cope with an epidemic of rapes. According to recent statistics, 100% of aggravated sexual assaults which resulted in rapes over the past three years were carried out by Muslim immigrants. Norwegians are now trying to deal with the large-scale torching of automobiles, which, as in France, is being attributed to Muslim youth.
In a Wall Street Journal essay titled "Inside the Mind of the Oslo Murderer," Bruce Bawer, an American analyst who lives in Oslo, writes: "Norway, like the rest of Europe, is in serious trouble. Millions of European Muslims live in rigidly patriarchal families in rapidly growing enclaves where women are second-class citizens, and where non-Muslims dare not venture. Surveys show that an unsettling percentage of Muslims in Europe reject Western values, despise the countries they live in, support the execution of homosexuals, and want to replace democracy with Sharia law. (According to a poll conducted by the Telegraph, 40% of British Muslims want Sharia implemented in predominantly Muslim parts of the United Kingdom.)"
Bawer describes Norway as a country that stands out for its refusal to confront any of the real dangers posed by Islamic radicalism. He also says the failure of mainstream political leaders to responsibly address the challenges posed by Muslim immigration has contributed to the emergence of extremists like Breivik. Pressure cookers without a safety valve eventually will explode.
Bawer writes: "In bombing those government buildings and hunting down those campers, Breivik was not taking out people randomly. He considered the Labour Party, Norway's dominant party since World War II, responsible for policies that are leading to the Islamization of Europe -- and thus guilty of treason. The Oslo bombing was intended to be an execution of the party's current leaders. The massacre at the camp -- where young would-be politicians gathered to hear speeches by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland -- was meant to destroy its next generation of leaders."
The question remains: in the aftermath of the attack, will the Norwegian left rethink its non-interventionist approach to Islam and Muslim immigration? In a number of other European countries, governments on the center-right have been doing an about-face on multiculturalism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have all declared in recent months that multiculturalism has failed. In June, the Dutch government announced it would abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands. In Spain, the conservative Popular Party, which is widely expected to win the next general election, has promised to enact new measures that will require all immigrants to learn the Spanish language to obtain residency permits.
Some analysts say these measures are too little too late. But one thing seems clear: European multiculturalists are feeling some unfamiliar political heat. After decades of high-handed stifling of debate, the gradual unravelling of multiculturalism in Europe explains the obsessive zeal with which many are exploiting the Norwegian tragedy.
By falsely accusing conservatives of complicity in a crime in which they had no part, multiculturalists are seeking to delegitimize and silence criticism of their social re-engineering scheme. But they are unlikely to succeed as the consequences of their worldview are becoming clear for all to see.