Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly detonated two bombs in central Stockholm. Maybe so, but 22 July 2011 all the Nordic countries innocence were lost when Anders Behring Breivik killed more than 80 people in two attacks in Oslo and the small island Utøya, just outside of Oslo.
The last ten years a number of new political parties have evolved in all the Nordic countries. "Sverigedemokraterna" in Sweden, "Sannfinnländarna" in Finland, "Fremskrittspartiet" in Norway and "Dansk Folkeparti" in Denmark. The one thing in common is that they are all against immigrants moving to their countries. Well, maybe not all immigrants. They mostly focus on one category of immigrants, the Muslims.
One common mistake that these parties are doing is mixing up a number of different issues into one.
- Problems with the integration of immigrants in their respective country. This is a real problem, but not only in the Nordic countries. It is also common in many of the western countries. The immigrants does not speak the language properly, many of them are lacking proper education and their cultures differs from the one in the country they are living in. The lack of work leads to that may immigrants live in poor neighborhoods and the rate of criminal activities are higher than in the surrounding areas. But on the other hand even the well educated immigrants have a hard time finding a job. In Sweden public investigations has shown that if two people, one with a Swedish name and one immigrant with a non-Swedish name, with the same academic training apply for a job, then the immigrant will not even be called upon to be interviewed.
- Threat of Islamist terror actions. The global war on terror has had an impact on the Nordic countries. All countries have troops in Afghanistan and daily there are reports in the papers about suicide bombers n the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. What many do not understand is that most of the people who die by the hand of Islamist terrorist are other Muslims. The deeds also mostly take place in Muslim countries.
- Expansion of Islam. Since Islam is not one of the major religions in the Nordic countries, many people have no knowledge about the reality of this religion. Instead they read in the papers about honor killing of daughters, women being forced to wear Burka, public killings in the streets enforced by Sharia courts etc. The anti-immigrant parties add to this fear by quoting the Quran, "You shall kill thy enemy", "You shall spread the word of good by Holy War" etc. What they don´t mention is that the same writings exist in the Bible and the Torah. But since people can see what happens in the streets in some Muslim countries they connect this to the Quran in itself and not the local culture. One of the major Muslim countries is USA. As far as I know there are no Sharia courts and no public killings on the streets in USA?
The anti-immigrant parties in the Nordic countries are mixing these three categories into one with the clear message, "Islam and Muslims are evil and we don´t want them in our country". They can stay if they become native, shave their beards and act like "normal" people. The political propaganda mix the fear of the unknown Islamic threat, the threat of Islamist terror with the actual problem of immigrant integration.
In the Nordic countries there are very tolerant laws regarding the freedom of speech and the freedom of spreading information in writing. These tolerant laws has for many years been abused by different categories. Neo-Nazis has spread their propaganda about the Nazi activities during the second world war. Palestine groups have spread antisemitism in order to attack Israel (e.g. radio Islam in Sweden). Even different kind of pornographic material that is not legal in many countries has been tolerated in the Nordic countries. Today the freedom of speech is used by the anti-immigration parties and groups related to these parties. Many Nordic Internet sites are focused on Anti-Islam, Anti-Jihad, etc.
Anders Breivik wrote a manifest that has been spread on the Internet. He also e-mailed it to many people with whom he felt close relationship. As of now the Security Police in the Nordic countries is looking into this manifest to see if it holds any future threats to the Nordic countries. Who knew about Breiviks plans? Where there any people supporting the terror act? It will be very interesting if the mail-boxes of the politicians connected to the anti-immigrant parties were investigated by the police as part of the criminal investigation. Breivik has had meetings with the English Defence League (EDL), but what about the anti-immigrant parties in the Nordic countries?
When a hate message is allowed to be publicly spread it can results in three things:
1. It raises the lower threshold of what is allowed to say about other people and other religions. Sooner or later even the people on the streets will believe the message, since there is no one stopping it.
2. It can push immigrants out of the normal society and into the hands of Islamist terror groups. By not allowing people to become part of the society we therefore risk to increase the number of possible future terrorists. This is further increased by bullet no 1. Breivik clearly believes he is part of a "war". But, who started the war? The same rhetoric used by Breivik is also used by Nazis in Sweden.
3. A few of the followers of the anti-immigrant parties (as was the case with Anders Breivik who was for a number of years a member of Fremskrittspartiet in Norway) can feel the need of taking action themselves. Either against the immigrants or against the government who allow the immigrants to stay.
Bullet 2-3 clearly shows that the agenda used by the anti-immigrant parties do not decrease the threat to the society. On the contrary it will most likely increase it!
In Sweden some of the politicians with connection to the Swedish Democracy Party (Sverigedemokraterna) has gone public saying that Anders Breivik did the killing because a lot of people were against his political ideas and condemned his party. basically it is all the Muslims fault!? The message is "If you don´t feel the same way as me there is a risk that one of my followers will kill you"? Is this democracy? Now, Jimmmy Åkesson tries to clear this stain on his party by denying that this in fact is what the party believes. But why then can this message be read on anti-immigrant blogs that are linked to from SD politicians home-pages?
What is needed now is to stop the anti-immigrant rhetoric on Internet blogs with connection to political parties and in public political speeches. The anti-immigrant parties need to cut the links from them to the anti-immigrant blogs. The Nordic countries need to focus on the real problem and that is the lack of integration of the immigrants. Not Islam or not even Islamist terrorists. Otherwise this "war" risk to escalate. For too long, the message has been all hate. Now it is time to love. The people in Norway has sent this message to the rest of the world! "If one man can show so much hate, how much love couldn´t we all show together?"
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