Monday, July 25, 2011

Al-Qaeda's Christian mirror

Al-Qaeda's Christian mirrorBy Pepe Escobar

Imagine if Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old pale, blond, blue-eyed, 100% Norwegian, gun-crazy ultra right-wing Christian fundamentalist responsible for the car bombing in Oslo and the meticulous targeted assassinations at the island of Utoya that killed 93 people, was a Muslim immigrant.

One does not even have to imagine it - as the concentric Western circles of the Islamophobia industry immediately attributed the massacre in Norway to "al-Qaeda", until facts got in the way.

Wait a minute. "Targeted assassinations?" It had to cross the killer's mind that if the Barack Obama administration could do it - in AfPak, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, all in the name of Western civilization - there's nothing to prevent a cool Scandinavian from exercising the same rights on his own soil.

The overlapping strands of al-Qaeda ideology can be examined in detail in volumes such as Al-Qaeda in Its Own Words, edited by Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli, and published in English by Harvard University Press. Lone Breivik also concocted his own hefty, 1,500-page hate manifesto [1], titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, where he equally thrashes liberalism, multiculturalism and "cultural Marxism", which are allegedly destroying European Christian civilization.

As much as al-Qaeda - under the ideological guidance of now leader Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri - embarked on defensive (and occasionally offensive) jihad against Christians and Jews, Breivik calls for no less than a Christian jihad to defend Europe from yet another Muslim invasion.

The return of the Christian crusaders
What reveals that Breivik is no lone freak is that the ideology behind the manifesto overwhelmingly condemns not only Islam per se, Muslim immigration in Europe, and multiculturalism, but also all the neo-Nazi, racial supremacist rants against these "evils".

Breivik, the mass bomber who loves crappy Eurovision songs and the US cop show The Shield, and owns legitimate licenses for a Glock pistol, an automatic rifle and a shotgun is a typical convert of the new, slightly more sophisticated pan-European ultra-right narrative - according to which the battle for the soul of Europe will be fought on cultural grounds.

After a brief visit to Denmark and southern Sweden in the autumn of 2010, I had already touched on these broader themes in Letter from Islamophobistan (Asia Times Online, October 22, 2010).

Breivik goes one step ahead by weaponizing the new thinking - according to which it's not a question of Muslims being biologically inferior to the Christian West; the problem is the tenets of Islam are absolutely incompatible with the West.

It's all about culture. "They" don't share "our values" and our way of life. As a shrewd public relations move, this culturalist explanation is bound to attract even moderate Europeans.

Breivik and his ilk blame Western parliamentary democracy as a whole - political correctness included - for allowing Muslims in Europe to establish themselves as Trojan horses. Everything and everyone is a threat - from al-Qaeda to the bureaucratic European Union (EU) and the multicultural United Nations (UN). Breivik and his kind are Huntingtonesque all the way - fearing a clash of civilizations right at home.

No wonder the next logical step was for Breivik to become a modern-day version of the Knights Templars extolled in his rambling manifesto - and thus set an example. The Knights' agenda; to "seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda".

"Al-Qaeda" - or the nebula of franchises and copycats commonly bundled as "al-Qaeda" - does not have the resources to attack Europe, and this is not the priority anyway; the priority is AfPak, Central Asia and India, as detailed by al-Qaeda's military commander Ilyas Kashmiri. But the priority of Christian fundamentalist terror is definitely Europe. And the attacks will come via loners such as Breivik as well as organized groups.

Western progressives must be on red alert. Taboos will have to be smashed - especially by identifying the contorted but most of the time crude strategies employed by ultra-right Christian fundamentalism and Zionists to foment Islamophobia in the West.
For instance, both Islamophobes and hardcore Zionists see the Israeli subjugation of Palestine as Israel defending itself in a clash of civilizations. Model disciple Breivik hails notorious American Islamophobes such as Pam Geller and Daniel Pipes as much as he abhors Norwegian support for an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.

Breivik wrote, "It's very hypocritical to treat Muslims, Nazis and Marxists different from each other. They are all supporters of hate-ideologies. Not all Muslims, Nazis and Marxists are conservative; most of them are moderate. But does it matter?"

It doesn't; fascism is an equal-opportunity seducer. There will be blood - a lot more blood, as Europe confronts its own heart of darkness. Beware the return - en masse - of the pale blue-eyed Christian crusader.

1. See key extracts here

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at