Sunday, July 24, 2011

Norway's Tragedy: Hatred of Muslims Turns into Violence

A day and a half ago (July 22), a young, photogenic citizen of Norway carried out two gruesome attacks against his fellow Norwegians.  Roughly ninety-three people were killed, a great many of them teenagers.  The suspect police arrested is Anders Behring Breivik.

It could turn out that Breivik's massacre is the product of untreated mental illness, not so different from the case of Jared Loughner, who went on the attack in Tuscon in January, killing several people and severely wounding Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.  At the moment, however, it appears that Breivik had very warped political motives--a terrorist more like Timothy McVeigh than Loughner.

What were Breivik's motives?  Evidently, he hates Muslims.  He lumps Muslims together as a danger.  All Muslims.  Breivik was hoping to start a cultural revolution and turn Norweignans against Muslims.  He wanted to call his fellow citizens to arms against Muslims.  The people he killed were not Muslims (not as far as I know), but he evidently fed himself a diet of anti-Muslim propaganda, and then he went out to murder lots and lots of folks.  Bigotry that is shared openly is an attempt, in effect, to teach one's listeners to hate those who are deemed the dangerous "other."  Hatred often boils over and leads to violence.  No big surprise there.

Those who try to gin up hatred of Muslims in various corners of the world -- including, of course, even the occasional Catholic bishop -- should join the rest of us in saying prayers for the victims of the violence in Norway.  And then they should pray some more and repent of the hatred they are helping to spread.  For hatred always has tragic consequences, and Anders Behring Breivik would seem to be one of those consequences.

1 comment:

RAnn said...

Welcome to the Catholic Blogs directory. I'd also like to invite you to participate in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival, which is a weekly opportunity for Catholic bloggers to share posts with each other. This week's host post is at