by Jerry Higgins
Anders Behring Breivik committed “the worst atrocity [Norway] has seen since the Second World War”: those were the words of Norway’s Prime Minister, as he described Breivik’s methodical rampage last Friday, July 22.
So what has all this got to do with renowned US Islamophobe Robert Spencer, you may ask?
Well, it seems that Breivik had been planning his attack for nine years, working obsessively over the last three to produce what is reportedly his now-infamous manifesto. Spencer, rather brashly and bizarrely, was echoing Bono of U2, who when performing the Beatles song “Helter Skelter” once said, “This song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We’re stealing it back.”
Yet, in Breivik’s manifesto one Robert Spencer is mentioned by name fifty-five times. Hugh Fitzgerald, who like Spencer is also of Jihad Watch, is mentioned a further thirteen times. Jihadwatch.com, rather shockingly, is cited as a source in Breivik’s footnotes a grand total of 113 times.
Other renowned Islamophobes mentioned in his manifesto are Pamela Geller of Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) and the Atlas Shrugs blog, as well as Brigitte Gabriel of ACT! For America. Walid Shoebat, the self-proclaimed ex-terrorist who was recently exposed as a fraud by CNN, is also mentioned. Geller and Gabriel are mentioned once each but Shoebat is mentioned sixteen times.
Breivik killed 76 people because he believed that the entire Muslim community desires to destroy his homeland and all of Christendom. Breivik and the aforementioned bigots he sources are dedicated to convincing others that Islam is inherently evil, that all Muslims are invaders and terrorists. Geller has even gone so far as to say President Obama and the United Nations are merely Islamic pawns in this plan.
Geller and those like her, including Spencer, are bent on encouraging people to oppose the building of Mosques and Islamic Centres. They use scaremonger tactics. Sometimes they are even hired by state and federal law enforcement agencies to preach their hatemongering at “trainings” and seminars. For example, after one Walid Shoebat speaking engagement, a reporter asked an attendee what she gleaned from Shoebat’s speech.
“Kill them … including the children … you heard him,” she replied.
Spencer and Geller claim they don’t promote violence, and that nowhere on their respective blogs do they condone it. Despite this, numerous comments left on their articles promote and advocate for violence against Muslims. The pair was quick to lash out at those who linked them to Breivik, but not so quick to moderate their comment sections, it appears.
Nobody knows if Breivik would have committed this atrocity without the works of Spencer, Geller, et al. Yes, it is quite possible that he would have found his motivations elsewhere; this in mind, to abide by such logic is to also admit it’s just as likely that he wouldn’t have found any motivations ever.
Speculations aside, these Professional Islamophobes undeniably played their part—their relentless rhetoric has helped to craft a global pathos in the age of behavior when someone like Breivik feels proud and justified in killing and injuring and maiming.
The mainstream media has referred to them – Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Brigitte Gabriel, Walid Shoebat, and the others that Breivik quoted and sourced – as “fringe groups,” much to Geller’s disgust. This atrocity, though, has pushed these aforementioned haters into the public spotlight, opening them up to deluges of criticism that will strip at their veneer of legitimacy—which is more likely what they’re truly concerned with.
“There is nothing Breivik could conceivably have read here as a justification for killing anyone”: again, those are the words of Robert Spencer, quoted from the same piece in which he compares himself to The Beatles and echoes Bono.
Here, though, are the words of Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer and a consultant on terrorism: “This rhetoric is not cost-free.”