David Cameron has been quite relieved this week that something has finally taken the focus off of the phone hacking scandal. In light of the recent massacre in Norway, he has taken the opportunity to speak out strongly against terrorism, and has ordered a review on homeland security and terrorists. Good thinking David! I doubt anyone has tried to come up with methods of combating extremism before. If only the government had considered this back when 9/11 happened. Or the 7/7 underground bombings. Or the 2004 Spanish train bombings for that matter. Regardless, the government needs to act now! They need to capitalise on this handy diversion from all the bad press they've been getting lately.
On the subject of the press, now that Anders Behring Breivik, a blue-eyed, blonde, white, conservative, Christian nutjob has been charged as the brains behind the recent violence in Norway, do you think we can stop blaming Islamic terrorists?
The news coverage of this tragedy has been almost as appalling as the atrocities themselves. The media expected this to be a revenge attack in for Bin Laden, but why would Muslim extremists want to target Norway of all places? Even BBC news has been stating categorically that "police have been unable to link him to Al Qaeda", which to me shows an ingrained Muslimophobia in the British media. Even after the shooting episode on Utoya, the news coverage still couldn't quite believe this wasn't the work of Jihadists. Despite the fact that suicide bombers tend to do just that, and blow themselves up rather than open fire in a crowded summer camp, didn't deter the newsrooms.
A great deal has been made out his white Christianness as if it is unheard of for a Christian to commit acts of violence. This is a great shift from the nail bombs and Sinn Feins of the 90's and earlier when it was impossible to think that anyone other than a Christian could commit genocide.
So what has caused this fundamental change in our perception of terrorism? You can point to 9/11, you can point to growing right-wing extremism such as the English Defence League, but the largest proponent would have to be anti-immigrant journalism, peddled by the likes of the Daily Mail. This kind of journalism promotes the nonsensical conclusion that all Muslims are coming over here to claim benefits, take advantage of our council housing, and then blow us up. If people believe that, there's no wonder they are prejudiced! But will an event like this cause some of these people to take stock of their own prejudices? It's doubtful, and I think that simply by belonging to a particular religious background will be the cause of friction for some time to come.
Religious background doesn't really have much to with what has happened here, as religion is just a mask used by these people to justify their actions. They aren't going on killing sprees because that is their religion, it's because they are predisposed to it. If religion never existed, they'd find some other cause to rally behind such as politics, gang violence, or the lack of decent gardening shows on TV. The point is that they'll always find a reason, no matter how ludicrous. What could possibly be more insane than being told to kill by a magic man in the sky?
This was obviously Mr Breivik's motivation. He wrote a 1,500-page dissertation before the attacks which detailed his hatred for multi-culturalism and Muslim immigration. If brown people caused him to flip out and nip off for a quick massacre, you can't imagine what would have happened if he had watched this.