Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Norwegian Response to the Terror Attack and the
By Salim Nazzal
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 1, 2011
Norway has proven beyond doubt its integrity by responding to
the terror attack in an impressive manner. The voice of the Norwegian
politicians is unanimous: Norway will in the future remain the same
democratic country. Comparing the U.S. reaction and the Norwegian
reaction, one clearly observes the sharp differences between the two.
These differences go beyond the personal differences between the right wing
George Bush and the left wing Yens Stoltenberg. Bush found in the 9/11
terror attacks an opportunity to declare a larger state of terror, to create
more death and destruction in countries thousands of miles away from
America. J Stoltenberg grew up in the democratic humanist culture of the
Labour party which linked Norway with the peace keeping forces in various
parts of the world. It is this culture that might explain his responsible
manner in dealing with the terror attack.
In a deeper comparison,
note that Norway in its democratic humanist tradition is the number one
contributing nation in UN peacekeeping missions while the U.S.A. has a
record of invading and supporting dictatorships around the world.
Norway's character led it to convert the tragedy of 22 July, 2011, to a
day of love and solidarity. The U.S. made 911, a day of hate and revenge.
This led to occupations, and the murder of about one million in Iraq alone,
and the ongoing destruction of life, infrastructure, and morale in
Afghanistan and in Pakistan.
The culture of the Norwegian democracy
is highlighted by the 250,000 Roses demonstration in Oslo, held to show
support for Norway's democracy and to emphasize the solidarity values
of Norwegian society.
Comparing this with the American shouts of
aggression, to kill and invade, one would probably note here that the real
clash is between cultures of Revenge led by Amerika, and the culture
of solidarity and tolerance. The entire world was witnessing what
a nation of true democracy looks like as demonstrated in the Norwegian
It is not a stretch to say that despite the pain and despite the
brutality of the terror attacks, the Norwegian society succeeds in
converting the tragic occasion to one of solidarity and love.
Contrasting the reactions of Norway and of America is not without reason:
Notice that a tone of revenge and hysteria appeared in the U.S. media
immediately following 9/11 and continues to this day. These aggressive
politics have in the view of many, influenced the Populist Parties around
Europe and provided them with the ideological ammunition to run a campaign
of hate that has manifested as Islamophbia.
This has been seen in
the discourse of the various populist parties such as the National Front in
France, the Freedom Party of Holland, the Republican Party of Germany, and
the British National Party and so on. The literature of these parties
are creating a wave of hate and suspicion towards immigrants and Muslims
which undoubtedly has poisoned some of the political culture in Europe.
These parties claim that their goal is to keep the Christian culture of
Europe distinct from what they describe as the Islamization of Europe
despite the fact that Christianity emerged from, was born in and is native
to Palestine and not to Europe.
In Norway the Progress Populist Party holds 41 seats in the parliament
which makes it the second party in the parliament. It has been leading a
campaign against the immigrants and Muslims which in the view of many
analysts created the atmosphere for persons like Andres Breivik to commit
In a critical article by Petter Nome under the title
(who nourished the murderer), Nome lays some of the responsibility on the
Progress Party for providing an atmosphere conducive to ideologies such as
The same can be said about the various anti-Muslim sites
such as (honestdefintion) and (the jihad watch), sites which run a campaign
of hatred towards Muslims.
Scot Shane observed the influence of the American pro-Israel and
anti-Muslim sites (Brievik manifesto ) where the latter has
quoted 64 times from American anti-Muslims sites and other equivalent sites
which view Muslim immigrants as posing a danger to Europe. Naturally, even
if the American and pro-Israel sites role is obvious in this question,
the appearance of such phenomenon needs to be studied from all sides .
Not unexpectedly, Europe began to deal more seriously with the terror
coming from within but only after decades of focusing solely on what is
described as the Islamic terror phenomenon.
A meeting in this
regards was held this week in Brussels in which experts in ultra right wing
movements addressed the threat of those individuals 'left behind' in society
who they characterize as “lone wolves”.
However, no thinking person can expect that a few experts can offer
any miraculous medicine to treat a complicated phenomenon. But it is a
beginning, and one step towards addressing an issue which has gotten less
academic attention and publicity compared for instance, with extreme Islamic
So just as the terror attack in Norway has led to a huge
debate in Norwegian society, addressing many questions related the question
of immigrants, integration etc. European countries also need to open a wide
debate about the ideological roots which nourish Islamophoiba, and before it
becomes a political movement with potential to threaten the stability of
Dr. Salim Nazzal is a
Palestinian-Norwegian historian in the Middle East, who has written
extensively on social and political issues in the region.