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The New Quislings
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Millions of people around the world were shocked and horrified when a madman named Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb in downtown Oslo and then attacked a political summer camp on the island of Utoya, gunning down defenseless teenagers while calling out “Gotcha!” as though he were playing a video game. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, before the killer’s identity was known, some people leaped to the conclusion that this was yet another act of Islamic terrorism. When it turned out that the killer was a native Norwegian—the author of a rambling manifesto in which he described himself as a modern Knight Templar defending the values of Christian civilization—the left wing cultural elite in Europe and the US jumped to delegitimize critics of Islam by falsely and cynically linking them to Breivik.

One of those critics was American writer Bruce Bawer, author of numerous books about the threat of Islamic radicalism and one of those whose works were cited in Breivik’s manifesto. Bawer has lived in Oslo for many years and has written extensively on the challenges of immigration and the negative effects of radical Islam on liberal societies. He is also a vocal critic of the left wing cultural elite that seeks to minimize this threat and promotes instead a vision of a harmonious multicultural society based on tolerance and mutual respect. Unfortunately, such “tolerance” does not extend to critics of Islam or multiculturalism, who are routinely labeled nativists and fascists by members of the left wing elite.

The left typically denies or downplays the religious motives of Islamic terrorists while insisting that “right wing rhetoric” creates a “climate of hate” which necessarily leads to violence. Thus the multicultural left in Europe and the US strove to paint Breivik as a pro-Israel Christian terrorist whose insane actions were encouraged if not outright motivated by conservative authors who warn against the impending Islamization of Europe. Those who had criticized Islam, however legitimately concerned they might be with the denial of basic human rights and individual liberties within Muslim communities, were deemed officially anathema. They were Islamophobes—racists, bigots, extremists. They were the danger. They were the threat. They had fertilized the soil in which the mass murderer had grown. This campaign of vilification was waged not just in the European press but on American blogs and in the pages of the New York Times.

In The New Quislings, Bruce Bawer explores the world-wide response to Breivik’s rampage, from the Norwegian cultural elite to Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan and the New York Times’ Roger Cohen. He provides a fascinating portrait of the left-wing cultural elite in Norway—revealed to be the birthplace of political correctness—and shows how they have become apologists for radical Islam. Bawer further argues that they are the heirs of Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian fascist who administered Norway under the heel of the Nazi regime. And he explains how those who oppose open debate and seek to control the conversation about Islam pose the greatest threat to liberal society.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062188694
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THE NEW QUISLINGS

How the International Left Used the Oslo Massacre to Silence Debate About Islam

Bruce Bawer

Contents

The New Quislings

About the Author

Copyright

About the Publisher

The New Quislings

I

On the morning of Friday, July 22, 2011, I was in a friend’s house in the United States chatting on Skype with my partner in Norway. Oh my God, he suddenly said. There’s been an explosion in Oslo.

He had a newspaper website open. I went at once to the same site and saw a giant headline and a horrific picture. I immediately opened the website of Norwegian state television, NRK, and began to watch its live coverage online.

The images of devastation were staggering. A government building, one of the tallest structures in Oslo, had sustained major damage, and the streets around it were filled with debris. There were reports of casualties, though the numbers were, as yet, unknown. The explosion had been so powerful that windows had been blown out of stores and offices blocks away.

I was stunned. The government building that had been damaged was right down the street from where I had, until recently, lived. I had passed it almost every day for years, either on foot or on a bus. It was numbing to see Oslo, my longtime home, suffering a fate so similar to that which my native city, New York, had suffered in 2001.

The first thing I did was to contact my friends in Oslo, to ensure they were all okay. They were, although a couple of them had been very close to the explosion when it took place, and several of them had felt the power of the blast, even from some distance away.

Then I began to look at every Norwegian news website I could think of, and watched NRK, Norwegian TV2, CNN, and Al Jazeera online. (I didn’t have a TV at hand.) Within an hour, it was confirmed that the explosion had been the result of a bombing. Initial reports said that it bore all the earmarks of a jihadist attack. Nobody publicly disputed this conclusion.

Then, suddenly, came reports of another event. Shots had been fired a half hour or so west of Oslo, on an island called Utøya, where the annual summer camp for Workers Youth League—the Labor Party youth organization—was under way. The first details were sketchy. Young campers on the island, apparently, were telephoning their parents and begging them frantically to call the police. A gunman, they said, was shooting their friends down in cold blood. When he had first come ashore, wielding a huge gun, he had pretended to be a cop, come to safeguard them in the wake of the explosion in Oslo. Then he had started firing at unarmed teenagers. According to an article by Åsne Seierstad published weeks later in Newsweek, he shout[ed] ‘Hurray!’ ‘Bull’s-eye!’ or ‘Got you!’ as he slew his victims. Kids were running, hiding in the woods, hysterical, in shock. There was nobody there with a gun to protect them, and no easy means of getting off the island. One minute they had been living in a pastoral idyll: the next minute they had been plunged into a nightmare. And they had no idea why it was happening.

Since I had lived in Norway for many years and had written a great deal about Islam, my inbox soon began to fill with emails from editors asking me to write about this atrocity. I agreed to submit pieces both to the Pajamas Media (now PJMedia) website and to the Wall Street Journal opinion page. I began working on the Pajamas piece while listening to the Norwegian news and crying incessantly.

I had already finished a draft when the news came that the attacks were not, after all, the work of jihadists. Instead, the perpetrator was an ethnic Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik, who claimed that his actions were motivated by anti-jihadist sentiment.

In the piece I ended up sending to Pajamas Media I noted that one Norwegian newspaper had observed that the July 22 death toll was higher than at Columbine and Virginia Tech combined. The Norwegian media, I pointed out,

have always reported on mass murders by lone gunmen in the U.S. as if they were things that could never happen in Norway: rather, they were symptoms of a sick society that Norwegians could never possibly understand. In Norway, they use the term amerikanske tilstander—American conditions. It never means anything good. Yesterday’s nightmare, from a Norwegian perspective, was the most American of American conditions.

I also wrote that while virtually everybody had assumed at first that the attacks in Oslo were the work of jihadists, it would’ve been just plain dumb for Islamists to make an enemy of Norway, given that the Norwegian government and cultural elite had been making friendly gestures for years to even the most extreme elements of Islam: they’d treated their Jews shabbily, coddled resident terrorist Mullah Krekar, squelched domestic criticism of Islam, dropped Muslim riots down the memory hole, and openly supported terrorist groups. I concluded the piece as follows:

. . . it is deeply depressing to see this evil, twisted creature become the face of Islam criticism in Norway. Norwegian television journalists who in the first hours of the crisis were palpably uncomfortable about the prospect of having to talk about Islamic terrorism are now eagerly discussing the dangers of Islamophobia and conservative ideology and are drawing connections between the madness and fanaticism of Breivik and the platform of the Progress Party. Yesterday’s events, then, represent a double tragedy for Norway. Not only has it lost almost one hundred people, including dozens of young people, in a senseless rampage of violence. But I fear that legitimate criticism of Islam, which remains a very real threat to freedom in Norway and the West, has been profoundly discredited, in the eyes of many Norwegians, by association with this murderous lunatic.

As the day wore on, it quickly emerged that Breivik had been an avid reader of a website called document.no, where he had posted a number of comments.

There are a couple of major websites that regularly address Norway’s immigration and integration policy and its attendant problems. One of them is rights.no, the site of Human Rights Service, a small Oslo-based think tank for which I have worked on and off for several years as a writer, editor, translator, and consultant. Their focus is on the rights of women and girls in Norway and Europe, especially in Muslim communities, and their mission is to develop proposals for new laws and government programs. HRS’s information director, Hege Storhaug, has appeared countless times on Norwegian TV debate programs, and has become a very familiar—and polarizing—figure; while many ordinary citizens have relished her bluntness about the failures of Norwegian immigration and integration policies, members of the cultural elite have tended to balk at her blithe violation of long-standing boundaries as to what can and cannot be said. For years, multiculturalists who frown on any mention of Muslim community problems have savaged HRS as racist and Islamophobic and have battled to remove its government funding. HRS’s website features regular news commentaries in Norwegian and English by Hege and managing director Rita Karlsen; it has also published original articles about Islam, immigration, and integration by contributors from around the world, such as Robert Redeker in France and Henryk Broder in Germany.

Another website that addresses immigration and related issues is document.no, edited by my friend Hans Rustad. Unlike HRS’s website, document.no is not connected to any larger organization, and its focus is not on the rights of Muslim women and girls (although this is certainly among its concerns) but on the threat that unreconstructed Islam and failed immigration and integration policies pose to the West. Like rights.no, it is a serious, intelligent, and respectable site that respects the facts and has never dealt in vulgar Muslim-bashing. Unlike HRS’s website, it allows readers to post comments on its articles.

When I looked at document.no, I found that Hans, in reaction to the atrocities, had already compiled all of the comments Breivik had ever posted on the site, forming a useful package for the edification of journalists and anyone else who was interested. The first thing I did was to search Breivik’s comments, which had been posted between 2007 and 2009, for my name. It came up three times.

On September 14, 2009, apropos of the need to form an alliance between anti-jihadists and cultural conservatives, Breivik had written: Bawer is probably not the right person to work as a bridge-builder. He is a liberal anti-jihadist and not a cultural conservative in many areas. I have my suspicions that he is TOO paranoid (I am thinking of his homosexual orientation). It can seem that he fears that ‘cultural conservatives’ will become a threat to homosexuals in the future. He refuses therefore to take the opportunity to influence this in a positive direction. This seems entirely irrational.

On October 31, 2009, Breivik wrote that several things needed to be done in the next twenty years to prevent the Islamization of Norway, among them: Initiate a collaboration with the conservative forces in the Norwegian church. I know that the libertarian forces in the European anti-jihad movement (Bruce Bawer among others, and some other libertarians) will have a problem with this, but conservative forces in the church are in fact one of our best allies. Our main opponents must not be jihadists but the jihadists’ facilitators—namely the multiculturalists. And on November 6, 2009, he wrote: It is tragicomic that an important NGO like Human-Etisk Forbund [the Norwegian Humanist Association] has been taken over by a cultural Marxist when it should be run by a liberal anti-jihadist like Bruce Bawer.

To discover that this murderer knew who I was and had read my work filled me with a feeling that is hard to describe. As a professional writer for almost three decades, I have met or received communications from hundreds if not thousands of my readers, and while most of them have been very nice, there has always been a sprinkling of nuts. When you’re a writer you never know who may be reading you. You get used to the idea. But this was new territory for me. I was chilled—sickened.

It was interesting to note that, while Breivik preferred me to a cultural Marxist, he still found me too liberal for his tastes.

As many people on the left don’t realize, there is a very broad range of views among the critics of Islam.

Still, until Breivik came along, it had all been about debate. The violence had all been on the side of the jihadists—the major right-wing extremists of our time—and guilt had stained their apologists on the left. Now the tables were turned. Someone who claimed to be, broadly speaking, on my side—the anti-jihadist side—had committed a massive atrocity.

Then it emerged that Breivik had written a 1,500-page manifesto which he had e-mailed to hundreds of recipients only moments before setting out on his murder spree. It was online. I found it easily. At the outset, Breivik summed up his argument:

. . . the root of Europe’s problems is the lack of cultural self-confidence (nationalism). Most people are still terrified of nationalistic political doctrines thinking that if we ever embrace these principles again, new Hitler’s will suddenly pop up and initiate global Armageddon. . . . Needless to say; the growing numbers of nationalists in W. Europe are systematically being ridiculed, silenced and persecuted by the current cultural Marxist/multiculturalist political establishments. This has been a continuous ongoing process which started in 1945. This irrational fear of nationalistic doctrines is preventing us from stopping our own national/cultural suicide as the Islamic colonization is increasing annually. This book presents the only solutions to our current problems.

The book made for exceedingly creepy reading. Well, not the first half—the first half was, in large part, a surprisingly sane-sounding take on