Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ravi Shankar: Are Muslims the ‘new Jews’ of Europe? English

It’s not always the chickens that come home to roost. Vultures do it too. Europe has always hated the American eagle, and is a reluctant partner in the current “War on Terror.”

On Friday, a new kind of terror wounded Oslo with an incomprehensible nightmare – a blue eyed, blond haired terrorist massacring schoolboys and planting bombs. Liberalism was the killer’s enemy of the killer – a rightwing Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik.

What was on his mind when he pumped bullets into his own countrymen? Was he thinking his government is too soft on Islamists? Or that Norway has soft immigration rules? Was he a Scandinavian white supremacist?

Meanwhile, in macabre competition, an Islamic jihadist outfit plaintively claimed responsibility for the bombings, retaliation against the small contingent of Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan. Is Islamic terror in Europe becoming obsolete?

In the days to come, the truth will unravel. In that unknitting, old patterns of hatred will become visible.
Gentle, polite, charitable Norway with its pretty seaside towns like Bergen full of mountainside chalets and cafes that serve excellent lobster soup, and elegant cities like Oslo where painters and artists collect to debate the process of creativity has skeletons to hide. Like much of Europe.

In the 1940s, 15,000 Norwegian volunteers fought alongside the Nazis out of which nearly half was part of the dreaded SS. The Nazis maintained concentration camps in Norway. There were around 2,000 Jews living in Norway in 1940, and nearly 750 perished in the camps.

Current immigration problems have affected Norway as well – Africans and Pakistanis are not popular – in 2008, the good citizens of Oddpal town kicked and abused a black priest for presiding over funerals of Norwegians. Norwegians even have a term for xenophobia – “fremmed frykt” - fear of foreigners.

In 2008, the Vatican warned that the world’s Muslim population has achieved a growth rate that has outpaced Christians – 19 percent to 17 percent Catholic.

The report predicted that Europe’s Muslim population of 15 million will become 30 million by 2015, while Europeans will shrink by 4 per cent. Princeton academic and Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis famously said, “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century.”

If Friday’s bombings in Oslo is a dark harbinger of troubled times, soon, Muslims will be the new Jews of Europe. For all the old Jews are dead: murdered by fellow Europeans in Auschwitz, Riga, Buchenwald and so many other “anus mundis.” Anti-semitism has strong roots in Europe going back centuries; in the Dark Ages, Venetians preferred to trust Arabs as trade partners and equals while Jewish merchants were exiled to ghettos or deported at will.

Europeans today hate America for its Jewish gestalt, distrusts US Israel policy which they argue is driven by a powerful Jewish financial lobby in America; much like how the Rothschilds financed wars in 18th century Europe.

An interesting 1980s study about why Europe has been more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause until the late 1990s and hostile to Israel puts it down to simple neighborhood deprivation: the postwar generation of Europeans grew up without Jewish neighbors, Jewish classmates, Jewish friends. Hence, they had no natural empathy with Jews.

Now the reverse is happening in Europe. It is the presence of Muslims in Europe that is the source of social panic and anger. The fear of being overwhelmed and alienated in their own country by outsiders who they think will breed terrorists. All this makes a fertile breeding ground for anti-Islamic neo-Nazism; after all Norway had a Nazi prime minister Vidking Quisling -- the leader of the Norwegian Nazi party known as Nasjonal Samling -- as head of government. What happened in Oslo Friday may be the early beginning of a new civil war ‑ Europeans fighting each other, both Muslim and Christian.

In this scenario, the horrifying irony could be that Islamist terrorism may become redundant.

From 1940 to 1945, Norway was under Nazi rule. Thousands of children were fathered of Norwegian women by German soldiers: they became a sub society of outcasts after Germany was defeated. These children were shunned by Norwegians as tyskerunger (children of Germans) or naziyngel (German spawn).

For Anders Behring Breivik, the young boys he mowed down with gunfire was perhaps naziyngel in reverse -- a generation that is inspired by the liberal philosophy of a Europe that continues its introspection of the role it played in the Holocaust. And the enduring guilt that is the source of its tolerance. And its hatred and unforgiving contempt of America for rescuing Europe from itself.

Today, Europe has a good chance to return the favor: rescue America from itself as the US wanders into bizarre wars. Europe has to empower its ill-begotten liberalism to reconcile social engineering with sensible immigration policies. Or else, someday, like in the movie “The Book of Eli” -- in which Denzel Washington, a warrior of God journeys to find a safe haven for the last Bible through a world razed by war -- Oslo may become the new Kabul. However alarmist and far-fetched this may sound, its time for the cows to come home.

The roosting chickens may be franchised to KFC.

(Ravi Shankar is Executive Editor of New Indian Express. He can be reached at:

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