According to AFP, “The gunman behind the Norway massacres said he was inspired by al-Qaida as he took the stand Tuesday [4/17] at his trial…. he described himself as a ‘militant nationalist’ and, using the pronoun ‘we’ to suggest he was part of a larger group, added: ‘We have drawn from al-Qaida and militant Islamists. You can see al-Qaida as the most successful militant group in the world.’”
Not only was he “inspired” by al-Qaeda, but his very tactics mirrored those of the jihadist organization. According to the AP, Breivik testified “that he had planned to capture and decapitate” the former Norwegian Prime Minister, with the plan “to film the beheading and post the video on the Internet,” adding that “he was inspired by al-Qaida’s use of decapitation,” which he described “as a very powerful psychological weapon.”
In a globalized world where Islam has the lion’s share of acts of terrorism—where nonstop images of jihadists killing and beheading people have metastasized in the media, and thus the mind of the average person—discovering that al-Qaeda is Breivik’s source of inspiration is, of course, not surprising.
But there is a more profound point here: Breivik is not the first non-Muslim to be “inspired” by Muslim notions; the Crusaders, for example, lived in an atmosphere thoroughly permeated and influenced by Islamic jihad. Indeed, the very idea of Christian “holy war”—the use of violence and conquest in the name of Christianity—finds its ideological origins in jihad.
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