Nor can one find Christian clerics or scholars praising and justifying religious violence, whereas numerous respected Muslim religious leaders do so on a regular basis, for the obvious reason that it is doctrinally legitimate and traditional. The continuity of this 14-century-long tradition can be traced starting with Mohammed’s farewell address in 642, when he said, “I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah.’” This incitement to religious violence was repeated by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979: “Until the cry ‘There is no God but God’ resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle.” It was repeated by bin Laden in 2001: “I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammed.” And it was quoted by the Fort Hood murderer Nidal Malik Hassan, in a power-point presentation at Walter Reed Hospital. No such tradition exists in Christianity or Judaism, because theological violence is not part of those faiths.
This reliance on moral equivalence not only obscures the causes of Muslim violence. It also leads to misunderstanding the true significance of European extremism. Rather than the expression of Christian or conservative pathology, acts like the Oslo bombing expose the bankruptcy of the EU utopian dream and its notion that nationalist loyalty and Christian identity are at best passé, at worst an expression of xenophobia or racism. EUtopia has marginalized legitimate nationalist and religious identity and exalted in its place some mythic transnational cosmopolitanism and sentimentalized multiculturalism alien to the lives of most ordinary Europeans. As such it creates the conditions in which extremist, if not neo-fascist varieties of nationalism, can flourish, particularly given the growing problems of marginalized and unassimilated Muslim immigrants.
This is not to suggest that anything is responsible for the Oslo bombing other than the actions of the bomber. But it is important to understand the correct context of those actions. As EUtopia continues to unravel, both economically and as a politico-social ideal, we can expect to see extremist parties in Europe grow larger, and violence be increasingly regarded as a legitimate response to the EUtopian assaults against national identity and cultural traditions.
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