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Pet Sins October 2009

Norway attacks: White people are terrorists too

My heart goes out to all the victims of Norway's recent terrorist attacks. They found that the man responsible. He was not an "Islamic extremist" or an "Al Qaeda affliate", as the media, especially the American media, had initially speculated. To the shock of many journalists, the terrorist responsible for the horrifying and gruesome attacks in Norway was a blond, blue eyed, Right Wing, anti-Muslim, Christian fundamentalist nationalist, a 32 year old Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik.

I have found myself screaming at the CNN and BBC reporters on the TV everytime they report updates on Norway terror attacks. Did you see how quickly the CNN, BBC and other media outlets, (let's not even mention Fox News) changed from calling the attacks terrorism to massacres once it was discovered that the terrorist was a white, Christian and right wing extremist and not a supporter of Al Qaeda?

Terrorism is terrorism even it is committed by White, Christian Europeans! The Western media sends a horrible message to the world by constantly associating Islam and Muslims by default with terrorism. Anytime a terrorist attack happens, automatically the religion of Islam and Muslims are all seen as guilty by association and held ine suspicion. The whole Muslim world is told to apologize by Presidents, Prime Ministers, journalists, victims and right wing extremists. The media conducts an impromptu trial on live television to criticize the "Islamists," or "Islamic fundamentalists," "backwardness" and "medieval attitudes" of Muslim societies who are just as modern as Western countries.

And the message this sends is often overlooked: The underlying assumption that white Americans or Europeans can never be terrorists or extremists. By default, white Europeans and Americans are always seen as innocent, normal everyday people trying to live their lives in peace. This double standard towards terrorism and crimes carried out by Europeans/Americans goes back to 1492.

Even when people like Breivik, Jared Loughner or Timothy McVeigh commits outright terrorism, it isn't called terrorism. Instead its called, "the act of a lone gunman or madman." You don't see all of Christianity, Norweign nationalists or even the right wing in Norway being ordered by the media or Prime Minsters to apologize for the actions of Breivik or being blamed for his actions.

Many commentaries on some news site are very telling in the way media has portrayed Islam + Muslims = Terrorism. Some commenators are trying to defend how Christian terrorism and Christian fundamentalism is defined. Other commentators are insisting that Islam is still the ultimate guilty party in the attacks and the fact that white people have have been / are terrorists and dismissed. Terrorist groups like the IRA in Northern Ireland for example are being ignored.

Chris White's commentary Fade to White: The Tender Treatment of Christian Terror addresses this media double standard.

The Western media and Western society thinks that only People of Color are terrorists and extremists deserving of discriminatory national security practices because of their religion or guilt by association.

Al Jazeera has several excellent articles on how ignoring domestic white nationalist terrorism poses more of a security threat than the likes of Al Qaeda. {See sidebar for links]

L.B.
July 2011