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Tuesday May 30, 2023, Zul-qaadah 10, 1444 Hijri

The Butcher of Oslo

25 July, 2011

By Anwaar Hussain

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Condolences, Norway. Our hearts ache for you in this time of incredible sadness and shock. As more than 90 of your families bury their dead, we stand in solemn sorrow with you.

And welcome to the world of right wing zombies.

These are words written by the citizen of a country that continues to reel from the onslaught of these androids. We understand your grief and your disbelief. But please understand that these human low-lifes go by many different names i.e. fundamentalists, jihadists, radicals, extremists etc.–yet they all claim to get their instructions straight from their god. Afterward, they go out to slaughter some children in the name of that god. We are sorry that you had to taste firsthand what we’ve been living through for the past twenty years. We were taken there, we have seen it all, we are still there.

From the Oslo carnage, three facts emerge as usual.

Firstly, these cowards always turn on their own first, attacking the most defenseless of the society for starters. It may be called the terror stage.

Secondly, the victims always refuse to believe that killer/s could be one/s of their own. In Pakistan, for a long time people said, “these killers can’t be Muslims”. And in Norway now when the killer is even confirmed as a blond, blue-eyed, indigenous Norwegian white right-wing extremist, their very own Anders Behring Bin Laden, people are saying, “he can’t be a Christian”. Let us call it the denial stage which may linger on, as is in Pakistan, for decades before the victims can differentiate between their Messiahs and killers.

Thirdly, extremists come in every hue. What they have in common is extreme views and the conviction that they know what’s good for the rest of us.

Planet earth is lurching from the onslaught of these cave men. In the Muslim world, Islamic fundamentalists, i.e. Jihadists have hijacked this once great religion. In America, Christian Fundamentalists and Jewish Fundamentalists (Zionists) have almost taken over the government by way of the overwhelming sway that they now wield. This scribe has cried himself hoarse that any ideology that asks for killing in its name is to be shunned like plague. Far from being an opiate of the masses, such ideologies turn into poison when used as a justification for promoting insane agendas. Perhaps a time has come to ensure that all such ideologies come with a health warning—AN OVERDOSE CAN BE LIFE THREATENING.

The downtrodden, the innocent and the ignorant, conceivably, do find some wisdom in the rants of the madmen. No wonder that history is littered with the skeletons of phony god men/women and their victims, who have deceived the masses down through the ages. Not even Presidents are immune from this disease when it takes hold. The last President of United States, for example, has been on record for having admitted that God talks to him. Perhaps the blond, blue eyed killer too heard similar voices. His lawyer does, after all, say that, “he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary.” And that, “he wanted a change in society and, from his perspective, he needed to force through a revolution. He wished to attack society and the structure of society.”

Generally speaking, one does not have to look an inch past the religious right, anywhere in the world, to find the cores of senseless bloodshed. It is simple to spot the extremists really. Their most telltale sign is that they always claim that there is a god and that only they know what that god ‘wants’–for them and for the rest of the world. They busily preach brotherly love stopping only to kill some of these same brothers for the glory of their God and in the name of their Savior. From Bush to Bin Laden, and all shades in between, extremist views springing out of religious convictions are the inspiration for murder without remorse.

What the Oslo bloodbath also shows very clearly is that people of all faiths are capable of such acts. They have only to conclude that the theoretical beliefs of their religion are more important than individual human lives and real human suffering. History is replete with examples of how extremist beliefs can motivate horrors worse than those committed in the name of geopolitics.

Following are just two comments, out of hundreds of similar ones, posted by readers on the NY Times article on the hideous event.

1. My father, who died a year ago at 98, told me just before that to “watch out for the fundamentalists. They are going to destroy the world” These are people who are convinced they are ‘right’ and everybody else is wrong and must be destroyed. Their particular religious view is unimportant. This man hated the liberal government for allowing ‘wrong’ beliefs to be tolerated. The problem is that the tolerant people are in big trouble because they can never see this coming. It’s just not part of their worldview. It’s a worldwide problem. Most people come from the ‘live and let live side of things’ but by their very nature are not as passionate about it and are certainly not violent about it. So how do we protect ourselves from the fundamentalists without violating our own nature?

2. When I was 14, my uncle, an elder of the fundamentalist Christian church in which I was raised, drove up for a visit with a bumper sticker on his car that said “Kill a Commie for Christ.” That was when I abandoned organized religion.

We shall leave it to the reader to decide whether religion is just an expedient framework the extremists use to connect with what somehow satisfies their distorted and vile views or religion, in fact, inspires such beliefs. But what is sure is that religious fundamentalists are all cut from the same fanatical cloth. The small differences, if any, are explained by accidents of birth and personality variations. If the reader wavers to form an opinion, he may take help from this quote from the inimitable Anne Lamott, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

I don’t recall exactly where I read this bumper sticker but it explains it all, “DEAR GOD PLEASE SAVE ME FROM YOUR FOLLOWERS”. The butcher of Oslo is found everywhere.

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