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Undoubtedly, there will be those – particularly on the Left – who will extrapolate out from Breivik’s horrific act that the real danger facing contemporary Europe is rightwing extremism and that criticism of multiculturalism is nothing more than so much Islamophobia.
While it is still too early to determine definitively Breivik’s precise motives, it could very well be that the attack was more pernicious – and more widespread – than the isolated act of a lunatic. Perhaps Brievik’s inexcusable act of vicious terror should serve not only as a warning that there may be more elements on the extreme Right willing to use violence to further their goals, but also as an opportunity to seriously reevaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway and elsewhere. While there is absolutely no justification for the sort of heinous act perpetrated this weekend in Norway, discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimatized or mistakenly portrayed as an opinion held by only the most extremist elements of the Right.
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel have both recently lamented the “failure of multiculturalism” in their respective countries.
Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize laureate for welfare economics from India, has noted how terribly impractical it is to believe that the coexistence of an array of cultures in close proximity will lead to peace. Without a shared cultural foundation, no meaningful communication among diverse groups is possible, Sen has argued.
Norway, a country so oriented toward promoting peace, where the Muslim population is forecast to increase from 3 percent to 6.5% of the population by 2030, should heed Sen’s incisive analysis.
The challenge for Norway in particular and for Europe as a whole, where the Muslim population is expected to account for 8% of the population by 2030 according to a Pew Research Center, is to strike the right balance. Fostering an open society untainted by xenophobia or racism should go hand in hand with protection of unique European culture and values.
Europe’s fringe right-wing extremists present a real danger to society. But Oslo’s devastating tragedy should not be allowed to be manipulated by those who would cover up the abject failure of multiculturalism.
Norway shooting: Glenn Beck compares dead teenagers to Hitler youth
Glenn Beck, the leading Right-wing American broadcaster, has prompted outrage after comparing the teenage victims of the Utoya Island massacre to the Hitler Youth.
Beck said that the Labour party youth camp on the island, where 68 people were murdered, bore "disturbing" similarities to the Nazi party's notorious juvenile wing.
Beck, a multimillionaire darling of the Tea Party movement, said on his nationally-syndicated radio show: "There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing."
Torbjørn Eriksen, a former press secretary to Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's prime minister, described the comment as "a new low" for the broadcaster, who has frequently been forced to apologise for offensive remarks.
"Young political activists have gathered at Utoya for over 60 years to learn about and be part of democracy, the very opposite of what the Hitler Youth was about," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Glenn Beck's comments are ignorant, incorrect and extremely hurtful."
Originally posted by varikonniemi
Originally posted by varikonniemi
Just one thing i noticed a minute ago, which i find esoterically curious...
9/11 and 7/22 both sum up to 11 (9+1+1 and 7+2+2)
What's up with this 11
The other was on day 11 and other on year -11edit on 23-7-2011 by varikonniemi because: (no reason given)
Well well, the plot gets deeper...
The shooting happened on 7/22, 7+2+2 = 11
The shooting started at 3:26PM, 3+2+6 = 11
The number of people on the island 560, 5+6+0 = 11
The number of people killed by the suspect 92, 9+2 = 11
Usually i find these numerology things just to be curious details, but how far are you willing to go with chance before you start rising your eyebrows and ask yourself in a more serious tone whats up with this?edit on 23-7-2011 by varikonniemi because: (no reason given)
The tragic events in Norway should be a wake up call to the authorities, not to the dangers of so-called “Right-Wing Extremism”, but to the very real dangers of marginalizing a political opposition and a point of view to the extent that they have nowhere to go but underground.
The response to the attacks by the Norwegian press and the incitement against the right of center dooms the repetition of this same cycle of violence in which views are driven underground, where they simmer into real extremism and then explode. The easy and simple way to diffuse this cycle of violence is to reach out and create safe spaces for freedom of speech even for the most disagreeable views.
European liberals often boast of keeping a tighter lid on extremism than America, with tighter curbs on free speech, but the current tragedy is yet another reminder that this lid is counterproductive. Suppressing a legitimate opposition only leads to the rise of an illegitimate opposition. Shutting down ideas you don’t like brings back those same ideas, only heavily armed.
Political violence emerges from tensions created by making political engagement a high stakes game. Lowering the stakes and the barriers to political engagement has been shown over and over again to also lower the level of violence.
The answer to political violence cannot be more violence or incitement, it must be engagement. And it is ironic that in Oslo, a city where international engagement has been developed into a fine art, the authorities treat engagement with the right as a foreign notion. But what goes for the world, goes for Norway also.
The reams of ignorant commentary that scapegoat entire political movements for the actions of one man are not only dangerous, they are a more insidious form of political extremism that no free society can afford. They send a message that criminalizes ideas, rather than actions, and by criminalizing ideas, they create a slippery slope into violence.
Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States, outside of obscenity, defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words. The United States federal government and state governments are broadly forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.
The "reason why ﬁghting words are categorically excluded from the protection of the First Amendment is not that their content communicates any particular idea, but that their content embodies a particularly intolerable (and socially unnecessary) mode of expressing whatever idea the speaker wishes to convey." Even in cases where speech encourages illegal violence, instances of incitement qualify as criminal only if the threat of violence is imminent. This strict standard prevents prosecution of many cases of incitement, including prosecution of those advocating violent opposition to the government, and those exhorting violence against racial, ethnic, or gender minorities.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers may sometimes be prosecuted for tolerating "hate speech" by their employees, if that speech contributes to a broader pattern of harassment resulting in a "hostile or offensive working environment" for other employees.
In the 1980s and 1990s, more than 350 public universities adopted "speech codes" regulating discriminatory speech by faculty and students. These codes have not fared well in the courts, where they are frequently overturned as violations of the First Amendment. Debate over restriction of "hate speech" in public universities has resurfaced with the adoption of anti-harassment codes covering discriminatory speech.