Norway Shootings: A Warning Sign ?
The bombings and killings in Norway are eerie reminders of fundamentalism and its close cousin, violence. The killer, a right wing religious extremist, first set a bomb in Oslo’s government district, then shot tens of mostly teenagers attending the labor party youth camp in a small wooded island of Utoeya in a lake northwest of Oslo. The violence took the life of 93 innocent human lives.
Norway: A Peaceful Country
Norway is a peaceful, beautiful and prosperous country. According to the UN human development index Norway tops the nations in quality of life. The average life expectancy in Norway is 81 years, average income $58, 810 and average schooling 12.6 years. These impressive achievements keep Norwegians ahead of other nations. Norway is also one of the top oil producing nations with many oil/gas platforms spread over the northern sea.
Whenever Norway is in the news, it is always for one or other good reason, perhaps this is the first time Norway experienced a painful and bad news coverage. The violence was the worst in Norway’s history after world war two.
Anders Behring Breivik, the Psychopath
According to the New York daily news, the Norway killer is a boyishly handsome, blond haired anti-islamic nationalist interested in politics and violent video games. Mr. Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian national, believes his actions were atrocious but necessary. According to the Telegraph, UK, Breivik seems to be influenced by the Unabomber. In fact the Norway killer has lifted chunks of text from Unabomber’s writings to make his own manifesto.
Mr. Anders Behring Breivik calls for a Christian war to save Europe against an impending Islamic colonization. His diary titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence" reveals he has been planning this operation for the last two years. He dismisses feminism, multi-culturalism and Marxism and alleges the present European establishment is pro Islam.
The Transition of Europe
Norway has long been accepting immigration, and Islamic immigrants flock to the country. The Labor party supports multi-culturalism, whereas the populist Progress party, to which Mr. Breivik once was a member, opposes it. As more and more Islamic followers enter European countries there is an uncomfortable feeling emanating from sections of society. This is not just in Norway, Europe as a whole is experiencing this transition of increased Islamic immigration and the uneasy feeling that comes along with it in that part of the world. Signs of distress are often visible in Europe: the French trying to ban the head scarf, the Swiss banning minarets (towers of mosques), and the German Chancellor recently openly rejecting multiculturalism.
Europe being close to Africa and Turkey, inflow of Islam is taking place at a higher rate than what is seen in America. Perhaps this is a warning sign to America. Ideological fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism is not unique to any part of the world. It can happen anywhere. Fundamentalism is like a seed, as long as proper ambience is provided the seed will grow and become a tree. Some religions assume they are better and violence will never hit them. That is an illusion. One must remember that Mr. Anders Behring Breivik is influenced by Christian religious fundamentalism.
Which way will America Go?
Today Islamic terrorism remains the biggest of all religious fundamentalism influenced violence. That doesn’t guarantee other religions will never go that way. To understand the present state of islamic terrorism one must look how Islamic religious fundamentalism originated. Most Islamic terrorists are born and raised in autocratic, mono culture-dominated societies. Islamic followers living in multi-cultural societies like India, Indonesia and other countries are far less influenced by fundamentalist ideologies compared to those raised in countries dominated by a single religion, like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The only way forward is tolerance and respect for each other.
When people from different cultures and religions come together in a country, a true melting pot may never happen. Perhaps this was a mistake, that some experts believed somehow there will be this melting pot where people from different cultures come together as a single culture and live peacefully forever. Multi-culturalism is not about abandoning a culture and adopting a different one, it is about understanding other cultures and coexistsing peacefully. Whether believe in God or not, we must learn to respect each and every culture on this planet. Getting carried away by “my religion the only way” approach is bound to have serious consequences for the future of our children, whether it is in Europe, US or Middle East. Hope better sense prevails.
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