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On July 22nd, 2011, I was brewing coffee in a b&b when I turned on the small television in my room and saw the city centre of Oslo filled with a cloud of blackish-silver smoke.

The BBC newsreader talking over the pictures was calm, if slightly disorientated. He – like everyone else – had no explanation for what was happening and so he mumbled some half-baked speculation instead.

“One has to remember that this isn’t perhaps as strange as it seems.” He said, “Norway has a small military contingent in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda are a global network. This could be a warning that they can strike anywhere.”

I suppose looking back there was some faint chance he was correct. Islamist terrorists had struck Stockholm not too long before the Oslo tragedy. But surely the method should have given reason to doubt this rather easy explanation.

The BBC was already aware of the type of attack that had occurred – a sophisticated truck-bomb, with reports of the truck being empty upon detonation. That meant it wasn’t a suicide bombing (Al-Qaeda’s method of choice) and that the bomb must have been either placed on a timer, or set off by remote-control.

Now, Al-Qaeda are not stupid. Too many people believe otherwise. But they are not James-Bond supervillains either. The greatest attack they ever pulled off – 9/11 – was brilliantly organised, but required no special training or technical expertise beyond the ability to steer a plane towards concrete.

The Oslo attack didn’t seem to fit the AQ profile, and sure enough the security ‘expert’ the presenter interviewed on the phone, sounded unsure of whether they were looking at anything connected with Islam at all. If they were, he stated, this was a very new, very worrying evolution of method.

I was reminded of the IRA. The blast looked remarkably similar to the car-bomb placed outside the BBC many years earlier. Was there a Norwegian separatist movement? An Environmental extremist movement?

It was only on the third time of guessing that the words ‘right-wing’ and ‘McVeigh’ appeared in my mind. After this I was certain.

I went out to meet a friend. After an hour passed, I checked back at the BBC news site on my phone. The pieces were slotting gruesomely together. A ‘second attacker’ was reported at an island youth-camp. He was apparently dressed as a police officer and was shooting anything that moved.

Still (pathetically) the BBC tried to link this to Norway’s involvement in ISAF.

By the evening, and after the single perpetrator had been ID’d, everything else quickly unraveled. A youtube video, a single ‘tweet’, and a 1500 page ‘manifesto’. It was the first ever anti-Jihad terrorist attack on Western soil.

For Leftists who always believed the Islamist threat to be a right-wing psychosis, this attack was almost too good to be true.

“You always say ‘we Islamophobes may be offensive but at least we don’t kill people’, well now we know you do!” One youtube uploader ranted.

“People on the right used to say ‘when was the last time you saw a Christian killing people for his faith’, well just a few hours ago we saw it!” said another.

Given the scale of the tragedy, it would have been immoral not to address these points seriously.

Perhaps the Islamist threat had been overstated…. Perhaps we’d used too much emotive language… Perhaps we’d exaggerated it….

A year and a half on from Anders Behring Breivik’s experiment, the Counter-Jihad movement is considerably weaker than before it.

The word ‘Norway’ is now enough to prevent many socially squeamish conservatives from talking of Cultural Marxism, the Muslim demographic threat to Europe, the rape-wave in Sweden or indeed anything mentioned by the killer.

Breivik’s youtube video – 2083 – uses photographic memes to illustrate important Counter-Jihad concepts like ‘Eurabia’, ‘Political correctness’, the influence of the Frankfurt school etc…

To mention these now is to remind people of a massacre.

What this what he was aiming for?

I am not a moderate on the Islam in Europe debate. I used to believe in integration as a solution, but now I am strongly in favour of a humane, organised repatriation of Muslim populations from Europe to whichever Muslim country will take them. Many European Muslims are educated above the standards of the Islamic world, and would be of benefit to whichever country they went to. Europe would also be obliged morally to give a generous financial sum to those that leave voluntarily, as well as to the countries which recieve them. This isn’t a million miles away from the measures proposed by Breivik in his manifesto. By his actions he has made such measures less, not more, likely.

The killer is now incarcerated in a cushy but secure prison in Norway. He has no internet access but regularly answers written correspondence from some disturbingly adoring fans (often skinheads, often Russian). None of the killer’s letters display any sign of remorse either for the teenagers he slaughtered or for the movement and set of values whose reputation he has tarnished.

If I could interview him, my question would be simple – “What good did you think this would do?”

The youtube video suggested some half-baked belief in a chain reaction. A drip that unleashes a downpour….

But did he really expect people to take that bloodbath as a positive inspiration? Did he think that the Counter-Jihad movement would be legitimised by it, or strengthened?

Well it hasn’t been.

The Norway killer, with his embrace of racist and totalitarian ideas, has made it much harder to speak up for such vital things as female emancipation, gay rights, animal rights, and secular democracy.

If Islam overtakes Europe, it will not be for a lack of popular opposition. More likely it will be because the resistance was unable to shake off a toxic connection with extreme views. The kind that divide unbelievers along arbitrary lines.

The kind that left dead teenagers on a heart-shaped island.

D, LDN.

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