The horrific events of last week in Oslo were of course shocking: the raw facts of the carnage, particularly the targeting of children, sickening. But if we are honest, it’s shocking for a second reason: no-one expected it from a right-wing, self-proclaimed Christian conservative. A sad truth of modern life is that we expect these kinds of actions from militant Islam, but not from the radical right. And just as militant Islam has tried to hijack and distort a legitimate debate about how Islam and democracy inter-act, Anders Behring Breivik’s apparent act of mass murder has hijacked a legitimate discussion about how the West can balance its cherished freedoms with the diverse cultures of its multi-ethnic societies.
…Only a couple of months ago, Melanie Phillips was telling us that Western Elites were “dominated by the fellow-travellers of Islamo-fascism and genocidal Judeophobia“. Unsurprisingly she has condemned the massacre utterly. But isn’t a bit strange that someone who describes herself as “defending authentic liberal values against the attempt to destroy western culture from within” had nothing to say on this cataclysm, until goaded into it by a rival blogger? No matter, let’s see what The Spectator has to say, a magazine always ready to enter the debate on issues of terrorism, national security and cultural identity. It can’t be that they’re all on their summer holidays – the blogs are being updated with their usual regularity. No, it’s just that they’re focusing on more important things, such as measuring cuddles.
Whenever there is an act of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam, it promotes a legitimate discussion about the role of distorted Islamic ideology in radicalising the terrorists. It seems entirely appropriate that mainstream Muslim thinkers are encouraged to speak out against any ideology that might give succour to violent extremism. Difficult questions are sometimes asked about whether moderate Islam can be twisted to give justification for terrorist acts. So, should we not be expecting the same of mainstream conservative thinkers when someone has committed an act of terrorism in the name of Christian cultural conservatism? After all, we in the West cherish free speech and debate. So, come on guys, join in. Surely there’s nothing to hide?
The Spectator has been in contact with us in response to this blog and challenges the author based on the following articles: