Hate Group Leader Cited By Terrorist to Headline Catholic Homeschool Conference

During the last weekend in July, The Kolbe Academy, a Catholic homeschool program located in Napa, California will host a conference in Sacramento where educators and home school instructors will gather to discuss how they can “engage the culture in a year of faith.”

Ordinarily, such a program would come and go unnoticed. But this year, featured amongst a lineup of distinguished speakers, is Robert Spencer, a controversial anti-Muslim blogger who civil rights organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League label a “hate group leader.” This places him in close proximity to KKK leaders, the Black Panther Party, and neo-Nazi groups.

His scheduled appearance casts a negative light on what should be a positive event. It also raises questions about why a man whose writing was cited thirteen dozen times by the Norway terrorist Anders Breivik, who slaughtered 77 youth campers in Oslo in 2010, was ever invited to speak about youth education in the first place.

Spencer, a Catholic deacon from New Hampshire and director of the blacklist blog Jihad Watch, is set to appear as part of a speaking lineup that includes prominent clergy and educators from all across the United States. Once the director of Kolbe Academy, where he also served as a history and classics teacher, his publications include “Classical Education in the Contemporary World” and “How to Introduce Your Child to Classical Music in 52 Easy Lessons.”

If any religious group in the United States understands the harmful effects of prejudice, it is Catholics. Throughout the 1900s, they were on the receiving end of the same stereotypes and associations that Spencer aims at Muslims today.

The Santa Rosa Diocese, which governs the Kolbe Academy, should follow the actions of the Worcester Diocese in Massachusetts, which rescinded Spencer’s invitation to speak at a men’s conference in Massachusetts in March. The Sacramento Diocese, which governs St. Stephen The First Martyr Parish, the parish where the event will be held, should do the same.

 

29-year-old Muslim woman named culture minister of Norway

The first ever Muslim minister in the Norwegian Cabinet is Hadia Tajik of Pakistani origin, who was handed the culture portfolio

On Sunday, with no precedent in Norwegian history, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appointed Hadia Tajik, a 29-year-old Muslim woman, as minister of culture, making Tajik the youngest minister in the Norwegian Cabinet and the first ever Muslim in the Norwegian government.

Tajik, of Pakistani origin, anounced that her programme will focus on cultural diversity as part of the Norwegian people’s daily lives and how this reflects on Norweigan society as a whole. The programme will delve into the protection of minority rights, whether cultural or racial, including the right of Muslims to wear the veil in public places, among other issues.

The new focus, however, will not be unopposed. Most right wing groups are against these policy changes, considering the increase in diversity in society a challenge to European culture.

Last year Anders Breivik randomly shot 69 people at a summer camp organised by the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party after blowing up a Norweigan state building. During his trial, Breivik reasoned that multi-cultural policies are harming Norway, adding that he considers Islam his enemy.

Born in Strand, Norway, on 18 July 1983, Tajik studied human rights at the University of Kingston in the UK and holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Master’s in law, the latter awarded by the University of Oslo this year.

An activist from a young age, Tajik led the Young Workers Movement between 1999 and 2002. She also worked as a political advisor to Norway’s minister of justice, 2008-2009. During this time Norweigan women members of the police were afforded the right to wear the veil at work. The decision was, however, rescinded due to harsh criticism from conservative parties.

In 2009, Tajik was elected to parliament as a member of the Labour Party in the Oslo constitutency. She was placed on a list of six seats generally considered safe for the party.

The Alarm went off when the 33-year old did not return home

July 15, 2012

 

The suspected Norwegian al-Qaida 33 years old affiliate is seemingly an ordinary man holding some unusual political ideas. According to the Norwegian Intelligence Services (PET) his most likely present location is somewhere between the Yemen’s Abyan och Shabwah provinces. Other speculations suggest that he has been trained as an operative for the Al-Qaida network. Having Scandinavian appearance it is thought that he would play a major role in future attacks. However, (un)probable this sounds the man is not charged for any crimes. All he seems to be “guilty” of is perhaps holding extreme political opinions. This is the reason no arrest warrant has been issues by the Norwegian authorities.

 

He calls himself Muslim Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman and he converted to Islam in 2008. He has never been charged with a crime; however, several states’ intelligence services view him as a major operative within Al-Qaida. He grew up in a community just outside of Oslo, seemingly shy and loyal towards his friends. In his teenage years he was a fan of grunge music groups such as Nirvana etc. Was there anything which would lead him towards extremism? Nothing, one could argue. Multiple suggestions have also been developed in relation to the case of Breivik and the radicalization process that turned him into a mass-murderer. Such processes are obviously complex and often nonlinear regardless of our desire to understand such phenomena. For instance, the judge in the Breivik trial noted that he was not particularly interested in Islam or Muslims before discovering the counter-jihad ideology and rhetoric. In these circles Breivik found an “appropriate” place to express his latent hate. It is here that he could project his developing worldview where all things are either black or white.

 

For the 33 year-old Norwegian from Oslo politics was never a big issue, according to some of his old friends. His growing anti-American views and general suspicion towards his government were sparked around 2001 attacks on the U.S. buildings. This was the period when a massive number of conspiracy stories developed and this attracted him. At the same time, his spiritual quest seemed drawing him away from his everyday life. He sought to get away from the mainstream mode of life and after having fallen in love with a Muslim woman he converted in 2008.

 

Moved by a convert’s zealousness he dedicated himself to spiritual and physical purity where religion became central in all aspects of life. The few steps toward extreme interpretation of religious principles were not far away and he began to view reality in terms of black and white. His search for the ultimate truth played pivotal role after some time. One of his friends narrated Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman started to dislike his teachers, school, even Oslo and Norway. In the end he moved away to Yemen in 2009. All traces go cold after that. He did not contact his relatives or friends of his whereabouts, and that seemed to spark all kinds of speculations. The PET agent claimed that he studied Arabic and most likely had close relation to many radical Muslims. This in turn raised many questions among people back in Oslo. At the same time one needs to be aware that there are no evidences that he have been involved in any attack against Yemenite government or any other state for that matter.

 

Norwegian politician Mohammed Abulahoum argues that the whole thing has been blown out of proportions by the media. “Until now we have not seen any proper evidence that could confirm these stories about the Norwegian man (Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman). I have no reliable information from any source about the issue.”

Gardell: Breivik is not a mystery

June 4, 2012

 

Mass murderer Breivik is no mystery – are the words of History of Religion Professor Mattias Gardell (Uppsala University). Gardell was a witness called for by Breivik’s defense team on Monday (June 4). Breivik could also tell what formed him into a terrorist. The Swedish Professor (Gardell) analyzed Breivik’s over 1500-long manifesto. It mainly consists out of large chunks of text collected from various extreme right-wing and anti-Muslim forums and internet sites. Gardell was summoned as an expert witness who argued that Breivik’s ideas are shared by many people. “If they are to be incarcerated for (psychiatric) treatment, then you (the authorities) will have to build a very large care facility”, he said.

 

In the first psychiatric examination before the trial Breivik was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. These findings were primarily built on the assumption that he had delusionary images that the Islamic world is on the verge of taking over Europe. The psychiatrists also pointed out that Breivik had created new concepts, out of which national Darwinism  is prominent in his manifesto. These claims were dismissed by Gardell.

 

“It seems that they (psychiatrists) did not bother with making a web search of words such as cultural Marxism and national Darwinism. You would get a massive amount of hits,” Gardell said after the testimony. According to the Professor, Breivik is at his ideological core a fascist, who had built his ideology from ideas such as islamophobia, antifeminism, cultural conservative nationalism, and even white-power ideology. “Breivik is no mystery”, he said during the proceedings.

 

This analysis has been used by the defense team to demonstrate that Breivik is mentally sane, and therefore should be sentenced to prison and not psychiatric care. “If my expert opinion would contribute to sentencing (Breivik) to the hardest punishment mandated by the law, I would not lose any sleep over it”, Gardell comments.

 

The mass murderer himself was completely calm during Gardell’s presentation. One of the jurors even played a computer game during the proceedings, which was broadcasted by a TV-camera. Many of the defense’s witnesses have declined to appear in court. For that reason Breivik received extra time to present his personal experiences which had added to his hatred of Muslims. As a seven years old boy Breivik remembers getting his bicycle damaged by his friend’s father. Later his negative experiences were dominated by fights with Pakistani and Albanian gangs during the night life in downtown Oslo. Many of his accounts could not be verified.

 

Breivik had also mentioned that his political views were formed by the age of 15 when he had noticed that the media did not care much for the (social) problems he had seen. Breivik has a theory about why he had come to find himself in this situation of being accused of terrorism. He argued that his honor, as well the honor of the Norwegian people is vital to his worldview. “There are not many Norwegians who share this feeling.”

Signed: Peter Wallberg/TT

Krekar approves the decision of being detained for another eight weeks

It was reported last Wednesday that Mulla Krekar’s detention had been extended for another eight weeks. He accepts the decision made by the District Court in Oslo, which also informed the public that his case will be decided in a minor court hearing. Krekar’s defendant Arvis Sjöding informed the Aftonposten (Evening Newspapers) that Krekar understood that chances of him being released in wait for the trial were minimal and for that reason he had accepted the Court’s decision without official meeting in the courthouse. The newspaper further presented the details of the case by disclosing that Krekar will most likely appeal the previous conviction given by the District Court in the Court of Appeals and that he will do so most likely in October. According to the prosecutor Marit Bakkevik this is the period that suits both parties in the case.

It was on March 26th (2012) that Krekar was sentenced to five years in jail for a death threat made to Erna Solberg, a leader of the Norwegian right-wing party (http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10064736). He had appealed the court decision just a day after, however his demand was declined. The Kurdish Imam was initially arrested by the PST (Norwegian Police Security Service) only to be detained for eight weeks (in wait for the prosecutor’s initial decision to prosecute him). Subsequently, the court decided that it would be highly dangerous to let Krekar free in wait for court hearings as the nature of his threat (to Bekkevik) was interpreted to be especially serious. Krekar’s defendant Sjödin points out the Krekar is involved in several projects, one of which is writing a book.

More about Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad (Mulla Krekar):

 A 56-year-old Muslim cleric of Kurdish origin from northern Iraq and a father of four. Since 1991 he has been living in Norway claiming asylum due to high risk of imprisonment and torture in Iraq due to his political activities. He has been controversial throughout his stay in Norway which has been one of the reasons the Norwegian government did not grant him citizenship despite residing in the country for the past 21 years. Some of the alleged controversies include public statements where he had supported insurgent attacks against the U.S. and ally occupation of Iraq. He has also been the leader of Ansar A-Islam until 2003, an armed group in northern Iraq conducting violent attack against the occupying forces after 2003 and thereafter event the regional Kurdish government forces. He had denounced his leadership, nevertheless, the threat of extrajudicial treatment and torture still remains according to the Norwegian authorities who have not been willing to deport him to Iraq. In March 2012 he has been convicted to a five-year prison sentence due to repeated death threats made both to a prominent politician and a Kurdish-Norwegian writer.

Norway massacre exposes Christians to ‘terrorist’ stereotype Muslims have faced since 9/11

When the “enemy” is different, an outsider, it’s easier to draw quick conclusions, to develop stereotypes. It’s simply human nature: There is “us,” and there is “them.” But what happens when the enemy looks like us — from the same tradition and belief system?

That is the conundrum in the case of Norway and Anders Behring Brevik, who is being called a “Christian extremist” or “Christian terrorist.”

As westerners wrestle with such characterizations of the Oslo mass murder suspect, the question arises: Nearly a decade after 9/11 created a widespread suspicion of Muslims based on the actions of a fanatical few, is this what it’s like to walk a mile in the shoes of stereotype?

Psychologists say stereotypes come from a deeply human impulse to categorize other people, usually into groups of “us” and “them.”

“Sadly, the last ten years, the term has been co-opted in public discourse and only applies to Muslims,” he said. “Now here we have a right-wing Christian extremist who has committed an act of terror, and many people don’t know how to react.”

Reactions on the Carnage in Norway

29 July

Much of this week’s news in Norway and Sweden has dealt with the Islamophobic discourse inspiring Anders Behring Breivik’s acts of terror and manifesto. The manifesto published online by Breivik just hours before the detonation in Oslo and the massacre at Utøya borrows extensively from, amongst others, the UNA bomber Theodore Kaczynski, and so called “Anti jihadists” such as Bat Ye’or (Gisèle Littman), Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Littman, Geller and Spencer have rejected all responsibility for inspiring the Norwegian terrorist and claim that these accusations are a strategy used by “the Leftists” to silence all critique of Islam.

 

Similar reactions have been seen and heard amongst right wing populists and Islam critics in Norway and Sweden. Apparently Breivik was a member of the right wing populist party Fremskrittspartiet (FrP), focusing most of its politics and rhetoric against multiculturalism and, especially Muslim, immigration. Two days after the detonation in Oslo and the shooting spree at Utøya, Siv Jensen, leader of FrP, announced that she thought the atrocities executed by Behring Breivik was horrible, but that “the fact that some media wants to find a connection between Anders Behring Breivik and FrP is just as horrible.” She later claimed that she had been misunderstood. The political attack on FrP cannot in any way be compared to the killing of innocents, she said.

 

The Norwegian journalist Øyvind Strømmen, specialized in right wing extremism, has collected some of the reactions from the far right on last week’s act of terror. He shows how a number of more or less well knows bloggers and writers say they support Breivik ideologically, but reject violence and the taking of lives. But some even seem to agree also to violent methods in what is conceived as a war between “the West” and Islam. Strømmen also shows that a common opinion is that what happened is a natural reaction on immigration and Muslim presence in Norway. In the end the Muslims and their leftist allies are, according to a number of voices, to blame for what happened in Oslo and Utøya.

 

Also in Sweden similar reactions have been noticed. A number of far right wing and nationalist bloggers and politicians have stated that they reject the killings in Norway, but can support the ideological stand of Breivik. Amongst the most noticed is former Sweden Democrat (SD) Isak Nygren, today spokesperson for the Swedish Defense League. Nygren was amongst a number of persons who received the manifesto in an email sent directly from Anders Behring Breivik himself, less than two hours before the detonation in Oslo. On his blog Nygren states that he to some extent does agree with Breivik ideologically, but does not support his methods:

 

Even though this terrorist is anti-Islam, anti-Multicultralism and so on, like me, I don’t really have something in common with this guy. I don’t support violence.

 

Another Sweden Democrat, Erik Hellsborn, received national attention writing on his blog that “Islamisation” and “multiculturalism” more than anything else lies behind the carnage in Norway. “In a Norwegian Norway this would never have happened.” The blog post was later removed after pressure from party members.

 

Yet another noticeable strategy amongst fellow right wing extremists is to claim that Breivik is to be regarded insane, and that the acts of terror are not ideologically informed. Some has also tried to find other discourses which, rather than the Islamophobic or nationalist, can explain the reasons why. Another member of the Sweden Democrats, Thomas Karlsén, claims Behring Breivik was used as a tool in the hands of the Freemasons, conspiring against the world. Asked to clarify his statement by EXPO, a Swedish magazine covering issues regarding racism, nationalist and right wing extremism, Karlsén says: “You are fucking retards. It is you that’s behind what has fucking happened!” Karlsén seems to think that the journalists at EXPO, as representatives of “the Left”, can somehow be held responsible because of them wanting to “put the lid on all critique against Islam”.

 

In an online article EXPO claims that the ideological stands of Anders Behring Breivik are reflected by the politics of the Sweden Democrats (SD). By comparing statements and blog posts on “the islamisation in Europe” by leading Sweden Democrats, to quotes from Breivik’s manifesto they want to show how it is all part of the same Islamophobic ideology.

 

Jimmie Åkesson, leader of SD, as well as Kent Ekeroth, the party’s international secretary, is enraged that media and “the Left,” by their understanding, are using the atrocities in Norway to silence “the discussion about the failed politics of immigration and integration.” Both are wound up by having their own ideological stands compared to those expressed in the manifesto of Behring Breivik, and claim there is no connection between the two. “It is a fact,” writes Ekeroth, “that Breivik does not have anything to do with the growing Islam- and immigration-critic movement what so ever.”

Voices have also been heard, as well in Norway as in Sweden, that the secret police has been focusing too much on possible threats from Muslim terrorism, neglecting the far right and nationalist extremism, and demands are put forward that these milieus are to be more carefully investigated and supervised.

Private Muslim Schools to be Opened in Oslo

November 12, 2010

Norwegian media reports about plans to open three private Muslim schools in Oslo. All three schools will have a stronger focus on Islam, and on Arabic or Turkish rather than German or French as optional third languages to learn. Other to that they will follow national curricula.
One of the schools, Fredsskolen (the Peace School) has already been approved and might open next fall. The to others have not had their applications tested yet.

Muslim protests against muslim free school in Oslo

A planned Muslim free school in Oslo meets with protests amongst Muslims. Tina Shagufta Kornmo from LIM (Equality, Integration and Multitude) says a Muslim free school will increase religious as well as ethnic segregation. Others believe a Muslim school will strengthen students’ Muslim identity and self confidence.

Imam education in Norway

The faculty of Theology at Oslo University have applied for funding to create an Imam education program.

Four years ago Oslo University delivered the same suggestion, and the Norwegian government was positive to such suggestions. Even so, the university did not follow through with their application.

Islamic Council and Norway’s Muslim Student Organization are encouraging of such an education in a Norwegian University.