New essay: On Bruce Bawer and Islam criticism after 22/7

I appreciate if discussing Islam criticism isn’t a priority right now, but after some of the shameful responses to the terror attacks by Bruce Bawer and others, I had to write this:

But reality has shifted sufficiently that you cannot mindlessly apply the same old models to the new situation.  And, this time, the pundits who reveal themselves to be most out of touch may well be precisely those right-wing critics of immigration and Islam who took the lead after 9/11.

Read the rest here: On Bruce Bawer and Islam criticism after 22/7.

Update: And here’s a shorter, Norwegian version in VG.

18 Responses to New essay: On Bruce Bawer and Islam criticism after 22/7

  1. norskgoy says:

    Synes kommentaren din er svært god. Ikke bare innhold, da det er lett å si “god kommentar” når man er enig. Men språkbruk og argumentering er godt skrivehåndtverk.

    Det ene jeg kanskje håper fremover angående islam/religion, og innvandring er en kompleksisering av debatten (variasjonene i alle farger kommer mer frem) og at uniformiteten sakte (sort/hvit) men sikkert forsvinner.

  2. Pingback: On Bruce Bawer and Islam criticism after 22/7 « Essays by Bjørn Stærk

  3. T.L. Winslow says:

    Anders Breivik didn’t get his ideas to massacre white non-Muslim children from any blogger, it was his own idea. Yes, it was smart bloggers like Robert Spencer who taught him the truth of the horrors of Islam’s history and woke him up to the horrors Europe will face if it continues to allow mass Muslim immigration, but it was him that put two and two together and got five.

    Of course, massacres of 60-100 happen almost weekly in the Muslim world and it isn’t front page news any more. Sadly, Breivik decided to lower himself to the level of what he hated and turn anti-Commie jihadist, going after the Commies who opened the gates and carefully leaving Muslims alone since he didn’t blame them for walking through the wide-open gates. By what he hated I mean Commies not Muslims, since their gigantic massacres rival all of the Muslim ones put together.

    But Breivik’s crimes shouldn’t change the truth that Europe must unite and stop Muslim immigration, and reverse it, not by massacres, but by passing laws. Meanwhile Breivik will likely end up the Charlie Manson of Norway, imagine the royalties from the book and film rights, especially after they might let him loose in a short 21 years while he’s still spry.

    Meanwhile don’t ostrich, fly with the eagles. http://tinyurl.com/islamwatch

    • “Anders Breivik didn’t get his ideas to massacre white non-Muslim children from any blogger, it was his own idea.”

      Yes. At the same time, he shared their worldview, a worldview where political opponents are labelled traitors, and there is an expectation of a coming civil war with the Muslims of Europe. I’m not blaming them, just pointing out a fact they should find deeply disturbing.

  4. Alan Cordwell says:

    A criticism not anywhere near it´s target.
    At 9/11 moslems in Gaza and other moslem areas of the world went extatic with joy.
    They praised the perpetrators.
    Later on they claimed that the US was behind the attacks themselves.

    If Stærk gets his way, the only honorable thing would be for islamisation-critics to go wild in joy, and later on claim that Stoltenberg was behind the attacks to win the election.

    We would be thrilled if moslems would claim that bin Laden and his cohorts were mad, but they did not.

    Stærk is dishonest, and his analysis is flawed.

    We should be pleased, indeed very pleased, to see that islamisation-critics abhors Breivik´s actions.

    • “We should be pleased, indeed very pleased, to see that islamisation-critics abhors Breivik´s actions.”

      Yes, but they are dishonest when they pretend that the potential for violence is not implicit in their worldview. Fjordman, for instance, has questioned the legitimacy of our democratic system, because the political elites (the targets for the attack) prevent any meaningful opposition to their beliefs. Well, what does a people do when they live under an illegitimate political system?

  5. Rolf Kakeboks says:

    “If you condemn critics of Islam for painting a picture of a world in crisis where violence appears the only solution, then you must condemn Islamists who do the same. ”

    So what you’re saying is: its not really the anti-islam rhetoric that has to stop, but rather the more conspiratory notions of “anti-cultural marxism”?

    My own anti-islamic point of view does not in any way make violence seem like a viable solution. In fact, even if i DID think we were in a war, i could never come to the conclusion that a youth camp could serve as a viable target of engaging war.

    The only plausible explanation of how such an act could seem legitimate, atleast maybe to a person with questionable mental health, would be if the act is performed by a person believing to be living under similar conditions to Ingsoc-rule in Oceania in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    Hes listed this book as a favourite, and named his manifest 2083 – perhaps we should ban talking negatively of Big Brother aswell?

    • “Hes listed this book as a favourite, and named his manifest 2083 – perhaps we should ban talking negatively of Big Brother aswell?”

      I’m not talking about bans. As far as I know, _nobody_ in Norway at the moment is talking about banning speech.

  6. Frank says:

    I just discovered your blog.

    This is a great piece of writing Björn – I learned a lot. These counterjihadist ideas are tricky for a sane person to follow, and this was a great help. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  7. Even says:

    I might be mistaken, but the way I read you is that no (word-based) criticism could or should be uttered (be it right wing or left wing), because criticism ultimately can lead to violence. You probably don’t mean it, but that’s the way one can interpret what you’re saying.

    But then – is that how one define a democracy?

    In the words of Brians believers in the film “life of Brian”, after Brian says “Fuck off”: “Oh Lord, How shall we fuck off?”

    • “I might be mistaken, but the way I read you is that no (word-based) criticism could or should be uttered (be it right wing or left wing), because criticism ultimately can lead to violence. ”

      Yes, you’re mistaken. 😉

      I’m talking about the difference between saying “all Muslim immigration should stop because we’re unable to integrate them into our culture” and “our politicians are traitors who secretly conspire with Arab leaders to turn Europe in Eurabia, and the result will be a civil war with the Muslims”.

  8. Fnurkel says:

    I’m politically to the left of the Norwegian labour party and certain of my friends would readily be stigmatised as “anarchist commie hippies” by right wing conservatives (whom I, at best, usually consider as “xenophobic misantropes”..sometimes worse…).

    I, not suprisingly, completely agree with you call for a more moderate and nuanced debate within the anti-islamic bloggosphere (and other fora). You need only to read some of the comments on this page. But my consent runs deeper. To the point that I have to admit that your critisism is just as valid towards the political left I often consider myself to be a part of.

    Too many preach for their own “congretations” and find, through them, justification for dualism (or merely comfort in their own ignorance).

    Nuanced rethorics and respectfull attention to political opponents is a healthy reaction to Breiviks actions. No matter the politicial conviction, he attacked us all!

    I’m touched by your essay and, although I probably would have to fight urges to shout at you, I would happily sit down and listen to your points of view.

    Yours,

    Fnurkel

    • We agree with you. We belong to the center of the Norwegian politics. We are touched by the essay and agree with Fnurkel. We think people with a moderate and a nuanced view should debate more and “scream louder” both within the anti-islamic bloggosphere and within the pro-islamic blogghosphere. We think a lack of knowledge at both sides makes it easy to play on the feelings of fear and use this to get power and to manipulate the politics in the way they want to. Fear is a bad adviser!

    • “But my consent runs deeper. To the point that I have to admit that your critisism is just as valid towards the political left I often consider myself to be a part of.”

      Yes, for instance in the way many find excuses for Islamist movements and terrorism. And, a generation ago, there were the leftist terrorist groups and tyrant apologists of the 70s.

  9. Sandeep says:

    I think most of these right wing anti islamic bloggers are mirror image of Islamists. as for terror is concerned, i think using violence or non-violence is a tactical question. both of these groups are parnnoid patriarchal and strongly anti democratic although degrees of it may vary.

    • “I think most of these right wing anti islamic bloggers are mirror image of Islamists. as for terror is concerned,”

      Remember that Islamists have a tradition for violence, whereas all these bloggers are explicitly anti-violent. But when it comes to Breivik, I agree that he is a mirror image of Islamist terrorists. There’s the same conspiracy theories, the same fanaticism – even the same tendency to attack your “own” people instead of the supposed enemy.

      • If you would have erased bloggers from your original comment you would be spot on, Right-wing anti-islamics is often mirror images of Islamists. The same goes for almost all fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists work very much the same way as islamist do and so on and so forth.

        The thing that strikes me very often when discussing these kind of issues with Swedish Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) (I’m Swedish) is that many of them lack the skill of criticising their own sources, the have a very hard time to admit faults, even minor ones, in their own party or the leaders of that party. Which in my mind resembles fundamentalism a lot, I took a course about fundamentalism at University and the thing that my professor talked about as the most apparent sign of fundamentalism is that you believe in an absolute truth, your way is correct and everyone else is wrong. You can definitely see this kind of behavior in Breivik, but what scares me is that you can also see it in a lot of the comments and posts on these anti-islamic blogs.

        I enjoyed your article a lot, thank you for a good read.

  10. Does anyone else but me find it strange that Bruce Bawer ran away from the debate?

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