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Are extreme ideologies to blame for violent acts? [Most commented]

July 26, 2011 |  2:55 pm

Norway terror attack

The Norwegian terror attacks allegedly carried out by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik present an opportunity for introspection for “Muslim-bashers,” the Times Editorial Board wrote Tuesday. It is unfair to blame ideological extremists for violent actions, just as ‘tea partiers’ were unfairly blamed for allegedly inspiring the shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, the board said.

What [Robert Spencer, operator of the anti-Muslim website Jihad Watch] failed to address is the fact that his site, and others cited by Breivik such as The Gates of Vienna, make a habit of blaming all Muslims for the actions of a minority of violent jihadists. As an example of Spencer's thinking, he wrote in November that the Transportation Security Administration should profile and give extra screening attention to Muslim males at airports, because this is the likeliest group to commit acts of terrorism. One could as easily argue that special attention should be paid to white males. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber's reign of terror, the Tucson shootings and, now, the mass murder in Norway, this population also appears prone to terrorist violence.

Conservative pundits are getting back some of what they've been dishing out for years, finding themselves being unfairly blamed for the actions of those who share their ideology but take it to violent extremes. Will this inspire them to treat Muslims more fairly? A defensive post from Pamela Geller, who writes the anti-Muslim Atlas Shrugs blog (also cited by Breivik), points to the answer. While failing to acknowledge an iota of responsibility for spreading distrust of even moderate Muslims, she instead blames the "Sharia-compliant media" for attacks on her and her site. Opportunity lost.

Readers overwhelmingly disagreed with the board’s opinion.

What about introspection on the 10th anniversary of 9/11?

"we do think the horrifying act of terrorism to which Norway's Anders Behring Breivik confessed Monday provides a welcome opportunity for introspection among Muslim-bashers..."

Had Breivik's manifesto been laced with quotes from Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, then the theology (or lack thereof) of this mad man would have been deemed a non-issue, I'm sure. 

I'll be impressed if and when the Times Editorial Board calls for a solemn day of "introspection" for Muslims 50 days hence, when the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is upon us (fat chance).

Oh, I'm sorry.  Are the September 11th attacks too controversial?  Too scary?  To judgmental?  Too real?  Too politically incorrect?  Too relevant to this discussion?  No problem.  There are many other dates to chose from:

  • July 7th, 2005 (London Train Bombings, 54 dead)
  • March 11th, 2004 (Madrid Train Bombings, 191 dead)
  • August 7th, 1998 (Kenya & Tanzania embassy bombings, 223 dead)
  • November 9th, 2009 (Ft. Hood shootings, 13 dead)
  • October 12th, 2000 (USS Cole bombing, 17 dead)

This is a partial list, of course.  And let's not forget the dates of the disasters that almost were, such as December 22nd, 2001 (Shoe Bomber) or December 25th, 2009 (Christmas bomber--also known as Operation "Great Balls of Fire").  Yes, they failed to bring down their planes, but it's the thought that counts.

--GregMaragos

This is the result of Europe’s failure to deal with its immigration problem

Whether the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times likes it or not, Europe faces a major problem with immigration - largely but not entirely from majority Muslim countries. In country after country from Italy in the south to Denmark in the north, European politics are being profoundly impacted by the rise of parties that basically want to end immigration and throw out all immigrants. These parties are not fringe parties but in many instances such as Holland have gained a good deal of power and are dictating policy in various areas. Simply put, the reality on the ground in Europe has gotten really really ugly and this is just one example of how the failure of society to deal with a problem can cause things to deteriorate. There is a lesson for this country in there somewhere, but all of this is beyond the editorial writers of this newspaper. 

--jeff1947

This editorial is illogical

This editorial is seriously lacking in fairness and logic.  First off, the Gates of Vienna, Jihad Watch and many other sites are not remotely responsible for the actions of a lunatic.  Secondly, the anti-Islam sentiments of these sites are grounded in irrefutable proof that Islam is a highly intolerant and violent religion, that mass Muslim immigration into the west is undesirable and dangerous and has many negatives and few (if any) positives.  These sites have nothing to apologize for.

Third, you mischaracterize their opposition, saying that they oppose all Muslims when only some Muslims are violent.  What they oppose is an ideology, namely, Islam itself, which does indeed preach violence and even murder as necessary to enter heaven.  Read the Koran and the Haddiths -- I did.  Since it is the religion itself that is violent, any Muslim could become violent at any time by deciding to get serious about his religion.

White males are decidedly not terrorism suspects in the same light as Muslims.  The former do not believe that martyrdom will buy them a ticket to heaven, whereas the latter do.  The L.A. Times writer's logic on this subject is decidedly shallow and specious.

--stogiechomper

Dispelling misunderstanding, in response to stogiechomper

Did you even read what you wrote stogiechomper?

1. The LA Times said that the websites were not responsible for the murders.

2. Basing your ignorance of Islam on the acts of a very small percentage of fanatics makes you a bigot.

3. I'll bet that IF you did read the Koran and Hadiths (and I actually don't think you ever did), you read one of the Saudi Arabian versions that adds many anti-Jew sentiments and more violent interpretations that are not included in the real Koran. If you had really read it, you'd know this.

4. So what that white males don't believe in having virgins wait for them in heaven. Most mass murders in the Western hemisphere are performed by white males. It's called statistics. Your entire understanding of this appears shallow and specious.

--DTurkin

Introspection now when there has been none in response to anti-Western terror?

If hundreds of anti-Western terror plots by immigrant Muslim jihadists haven't resulted in any introspection by the multiculturally-obsessed open-border advocates such as the LA Times, why should one anti-Islamic terror attack result in introspection by critics of Islam and immigration?

The fact is, the angry response to the  US and European immigration-free-for-all is increasingly not a response to the immigrants themselves, but to the Know-Nothing immigration fans (like the LA Times)  who refuse to acknowledge any problems or who blatantly don't care how big those problems are.   

--franknelet

*Spelling errors in the above comments were corrected.

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--Samantha Schaefer

Photo: People lay flowers following a vigil walk near Utoya Island on Tuesday in Sundvolden, Norway. Credit: Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images

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