Breivik’s Call to Arms

Anti-Muslim populists have denounced Anders Breivik's murderous rampage in Norway last month, but their words have been sufficiently hysterical to incite a mentally unbalanced person. Indeed, Breivik’s interpretation of their survivalist rhetoric is, in an odd way, more rational than the idea that an existential war can be fought with words alone.

NEW YORK – Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who is convinced that Europe is “in the final stages of Islamization,” is right: Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, is mad. Wilders tweeted: “That a psychopath has abused the battle against Islamization is disgusting and a slap in the face of the worldwide anti-Islam movement.”

This assumption is not so far-fetched. Murdering more than 60 innocent young people at a summer camp with an assault rifle, after bombing a chunk of central Oslo, is, to put it mildly, morally eccentric – something most sane people would never dream of doing.

The same is true, naturally, of a group of young men who decide to commit suicide and mass murder by flying commercial airliners into large public buildings in New York and Washington. But neither Breivik, nor the terrorists of September 11, 2001, killed without reason, in the way some nihilistic American shooters do. Islamists view their acts of random mass murder not as a personal publicity stunt, but as a tactic in a holy war against the decadent, sinful West.

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