Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The Jihadist Roots of the Norway Massacre

April 26, 2012 10:53 am 0 comments

Anders Breivik. Photo: http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com.

Anders Breivik, who went on a shooting spree in Norway last year, killing some 70 people, recently confessed his inspiration: al-Qaeda, the jihadists par excellence of the modern world.

According to AFP, “The gunman behind the Norway massacres said he was inspired by al-Qaida as he took the stand Tuesday [4/17] at his trial…. he described himself as a ‘militant nationalist’ and, using the pronoun ‘we’ to suggest he was part of a larger group, added: ‘We have drawn from al-Qaida and militant Islamists. You can see al-Qaida as the most successful militant group in the world.'”

Not only was he “inspired” by al-Qaeda, but his very tactics mirrored those of the jihadist organization. According to the AP, Breivik testified “that he had planned to capture and decapitate” the former Norwegian Prime Minister, with the plan “to film the beheading and post the video on the Internet,” adding that “he was inspired by al-Qaida’s use of decapitation,” which he described “as a very powerful psychological weapon.”

In a globalized world where Islam has the lion’s share of acts of terrorism—where nonstop images of jihadists killing and beheading people have metastasized in the media, and thus in the mind of the average person—discovering that al-Qaeda is Breivik’s source of inspiration is, of course, not surprising.

But there is a more profound point here: Breivik is not the first non-Muslim to be “inspired” by Muslim notions; the Crusaders, for example, lived in an atmosphere thoroughly permeated and influenced by Islamic jihad, so much so that the very idea of Christian “holy war”—the use of violence and conquest in the name of Christianity—finds its ideological origins in jihad.

Emmet Scott, for instance, author of the new book Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited writes:

In addition to some commentaries upon Aristotle, and a few scientific and technological concepts (which were not “Arab” inventions at all) Islam was to communicate to Europe a whole host of ideas and attitudes that were far from being enlightened. Most obviously, the concept of “holy war” [or jihad], which Europe adopted (admittedly somewhat reluctantly) in the eleventh century, was entirely an Islamic innovation (p. xx).

Earlier, historian Bernard Lewis wrote,

Even the Christian crusade, often compared with the Muslim jihad, was itself a delayed and limited response to the jihad and in part also an imitation…. Forgiveness for sins to those who fought in defence of the holy Church of God and the Christian religion and polity, and eternal life for those fighting the infidel: these ideas … clearly reflect the Muslim notion of jihad, and are precursors of the Western Christian Crusade.

For all that, Islamic ideologies did not pervert the foundations of Christianity. Lewis continues:

But unlike the jihad, it [the Crusade] was concerned primarily with the defense or reconquest of threatened or lost Christian territory…. The Muslim jihad, in contrast, was perceived as unlimited, as a religious obligation that would continue until all the world had either adopted the Muslim faith or submitted to Muslim rule…. The object of jihad is to bring the whole world under Islamic law.

The point here is that the earliest manifestations of the sort of terrorism initiated by Breivik are Islamic in origin. For instance, the medieval Hashashin—the archetypal terrorists who gave us the word “assassin”—were a Muslim sect that pioneered the use of fear, murder, and terror for political gain as early as the 11th century.

Even so, the media has inclined to focus on Breivik’s fascination with Christian historical groups like the Knights Templar—without bothering to explain exactly how a military order devoted to protecting Christian pilgrims inspired Breivik to murder innocent Norwegian children. As one historian put it, the original Knights Templar, a “very devout people,” would be “horrified” to be associated with Breivik.

Even more ironic, the Knights and Crusaders in general were frequently on the receiving end of the aforementioned Hashashin’s terror campaign; that is, far from being inspirations for terrorism, the Knights Templar bore the brunt of one of the earliest manifestations of Islamic terrorism. Even CNN’s Fareed Zakaria correctly opined that in Breivik’s distorted worldview, “the Knights Templar resembles nothing so much as al Qaeda.”

In short, whereas Breivik’s goals may have been anti-Islamic in nature, his actions, those things which we are rightly judged by—in this case, from ruthless terrorism to planned beheadings—were jihadist in essence.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

The Algemeiner newspaper delivers breaking news and insightful commentary from Israel, the Middle East and Jewish communities around the world | Host to an international Jewish interest blogger community covering Zionism, Israeli politics, Middle East security, terrorism, Jewish tradition, Jewish art, Jewish culture, Jewish music, Jewish activism, Jewish family and spirituality, interviews, profiles, features, video and much more. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    The writer of a popular children’s television series will premiere an off-Broadway solo show called “Not That Jewish,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written and performed by Monica Piper — the Emmy Award-winning showrunner of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” — the show is described as “the autobiographical telling of a Jew…’ish’ girl’s life.” “Not That Jewish” explores Piper’s Bronx upbringing in a show-business family, her comedy-club debut and her “almost” night with former Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. “Audiences can expect to leave laughed-out, a little teary-eyed and […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scotland’s Celtic soccer club will fly to Israel with the same private jet Madonna used while on tour, The Scotsman reported on Monday. According to the report, the team is heading for the Jewish state to compete against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night, and will be transported in the customized, luxurious Boeing 757-200 that the pop icon used in New Zealand for her six-month Rebel Heart tour, which wrapped up in March. The plane is on loan from Greece-based GainJet Aviation and can accommodate 62 passengers. The […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Jewish actor Jonah Hill revealed on Wednesday morning that he had officiated the wedding of good friend and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. The “War Dogs” actor, 32, was a guest on Sirius XM’s The Howard Stern Show when the conversation turned to Levine’s July 2014 wedding to Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo. Hill said that after he was asked to officiate the nuptials, he started getting worried about the type of speech he was going to deliver. “I’m writing all these things, and then I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Music Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish indie singer Ezra Furman released a song on Wednesday that he said was dedicated to his grandfather, who escaped Nazi persecution. Furman told the website Consequence of Sound that the new track, called “The Refugee,” is his “first song entirely concerned with my Jewish background and present, a song dedicated to my grandfather who fled the Nazis, as well as to all of the refugees desperate for a home today.” He added, “May all the wanderers find the homes they seek, and […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Uncanny Toy Replica of Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Auctioning on eBay for Over $1,600

    Uncanny Toy Replica of Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Auctioning on eBay for Over $1,600

    An artist is auctioning on eBay a Wonder Woman doll he purchased and repainted to create an uncanny replica of Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who will play the superhero in an upcoming 2017 spin-off film. Noel Cruz purchased a 19-inch action figure of the Batman v Superman star and replaced its plastic hair with a new wig, and added a material belt and Princess Diana’s lasso, according to the blog Io9, which first reported on Cruz’s work. He then painted the doll to make it look like the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture British Jewish Star Daniel Radcliffe Hopes New Movie About Neo-Nazis Will Spark Dialogue to Defeat Antisemitic Rhetoric

    British Jewish Star Daniel Radcliffe Hopes New Movie About Neo-Nazis Will Spark Dialogue to Defeat Antisemitic Rhetoric

    Racist and antisemitic rhetoric supported by white supremacists can be defeated by opening channels for meaningful dialogue, British-Jewish actor Daniel Radcliffe said, ahead of the release of his new film, in which he plays an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a neo-Nazi group. “[White supremacist ideologies] have more power the less we talk about them. So hopefully this does start a kind of conversation, which would be a tiny part of a much larger conversation that needs to happen,” the actor, 27, told The […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas Reveals She Can Read, Speak Hebrew

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas Reveals She Can Read, Speak Hebrew

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas knows how to read and speak “a little” Hebrew, she revealed in the Aug. 15 issue of Us Weekly. The 20-year-old gymnast, who told the magazine that her favorite book is the Bible, was featured in a spread about the USA gymnastics team — which was awarded the gold medal in the women’s all-around finals at the Olympics in Rio on Aug. 9. In her 2012 memoir, In Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith, Douglas wrote that her […]

    Read more →
  • Features Ben-Gurion University Institute Tackles Water Shortages, Hygiene in Developing Countries

    Ben-Gurion University Institute Tackles Water Shortages, Hygiene in Developing Countries

    JNS.org – Israeli water experts believe that by 2050, almost half of the world’s population will live in countries with a chronic water shortage. What’s causing the shortfall is population growth, which leads to a greater demand for food, increased pollution and climate instability, according to Prof. Noam Weisbrod, director of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR) in the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In Israel’s Negev Desert, which has long been plagued […]

    Read more →