'Breivik’s ideology part cut-and-paste’, extremist authority says / News / The Foreigner

'Breivik’s ideology part cut-and-paste’, extremist authority says. VIDEO: One of the most known voices from Norway when it comes to understanding the origins and existence of extremism speaks with The Foreigner about his views on terrorism, its ideological basis, and its impact on society. Journalist and writer Øyvind Strømmen, who has also made notable contributions to the 22 July Commission set up to investigate the attacks and its aftermath, is also to appear as one of the witnesses as a part of the Anders Behring Breivik trial.Adapted to suit Extremism is an issue that has, in a way, dominated both public and political discourse in the wake of the twin terror attacks on July 22, 2011.

andersbehringbreivik, breiviktrialoslo, oslodistrictcourt, utoeyashootings, utoya, extremerightnorway



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'Breivik’s ideology part cut-and-paste’, extremist authority says

Published on Thursday, 10th May, 2012 at 12:43 under the news category, by Geetika Nautiyal.
Last Updated on 10th May 2012 at 15:02.

VIDEO: One of the most known voices from Norway when it comes to understanding the origins and existence of extremism speaks with The Foreigner about his views on terrorism, its ideological basis, and its impact on society.

Oslo District Courthouse through fences
Oslo District Courthouse through fences
Photo: ©2012 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner


Journalist and writer Øyvind Strømmen, who has also made notable contributions to the 22 July Commission set up to investigate the attacks and its aftermath, is also to appear as one of the witnesses as a part of the Anders Behring Breivik trial.

Adapted to suit

Extremism is an issue that has, in a way, dominated both public and political discourse in the wake of the twin terror attacks on July 22, 2011.

What in your mind was the ideological basis behind the attacks that took place on July 22nd last year?

“Anders Behring Breivik’s is not a pure ideology, it can’t point to just one side. At the same time, there is little doubt that much of his thinking is derived from what is called counter-Jihadist blogosphere. The idea of Eurabia, that there is a conspiracy going on and Europe is being turned into a Muslim continent, is being done deliberately more or less by a hidden elite. Those are the essentials of his thinking,” says Øyvind Strømmen.

“At the same time, you see that he also gets ideas from older sources of Right-Wing extremism. He does have some commonalities with neo-Nazism, although he tries to distance himself from Nazism.”

“So, it is not a clear cut case of any ideology, I have described it partly as a cut- and-paste ideology. I have seen that the Danish security police have, for example, warned against exactly that kind of a mixture, a threat from people who are not necessarily a part of a group but they create their own mix and then, they conduct terrorism or violence on that basis,” he states.

Can you explain the concept of lone wolf, which is often spoken of when referring to terrorism?

“It is important to understand what a lone wolf means in the context of terrorism, it doesn’t mean a loner who acts completely on his own and without any reference outside,” Strømmen believes.

“A lone wolf comes with an ideological background and he has contact with other extremists, but he is not a part of a command structure, he is not a part of an organisation that conducts terrorism. So, you could have an Islamist lone wolf who is a part of an Islamist ideological framework, but he is not a member of Al-Qaeda for instance, or you could have a Right-Wing extremist who conducts terrorism but is not a part of an organisation, but he also draws his ideas from somewhere.”

Cohesion and separatists

Breivik, as you have said in your discourses earlier, is a product of Internet radicalization. How much of a threat that is in terms of spreading the word of terror and what can be done to prevent this?

“It is going to be a major factor in spreading extreme ideologies. It has been discussed quite a bit when it concerns Jihadist terrorism and I think that this discussion will only widen, as also the ones concerning Right-wing or Left-wing extremism and conspiracy theories,” answers Strømmen.

“There could be some measures like limiting freedom of speech, but that won’t be done. What can be done, however, is to educate people which makes them less likely to believe these kinds of ideologies.”

He continues, “It is also important to build a kind of community cohesion, a togetherness which goes around different kinds of people in such a way that the ideologies that try to sell hatred against a minority or a class won’t sell as good. But terrorism is not something that we can prevent entirely; we will have to face the sad fact that it is something that we will have to live with.”

How has terrorism affected Europe in the past 30 years ever since it began show its ugly face?

“It is rather difficult to say because we have seen different types of terrorism like the separatist terrorism ETA and the DRA”, Strømmen says, “We have seen Left-Wing terrorism, for example, the DRF in Germany, then we have seen radical Islamist terrorism as well as the Right-Wing terrorism.”

“I think they will affect society in different ways although the element is the same. The most worrying affect may be that we see the development of fear in the society, which leads to sometimes draconian measures being taken to try and prevent terrorism, measures that don’t necessarily work very well.”

He adds, “At the same time, I think that in the longer term, terrorism as such, is a tool of the people who have no hope at really influencing politics. It is a tool of desperation and it is not able to put an imprint on politics as such outside the field of security.”

Norwegian consequences

“So, if you have Left-Wing extremism, they won’t make governments go more to the Left by contacting terrorism more and the same goes for the Right- Wing. In that sense, I think that terrorism is a very weak tool for those who try to achieve things.”

How much of a threat are anti-Islamic groups posing in Norway?

“There are two kinds of threats, one is from violence and terror, which is not that big a threat. The problem there is that you have individuals who are inspired by this kind of a thinking and groups per se, who are capable of creating a rhetorical landscape, which can influence someone who takes it one step further,” declares Strømmen.

“But there is another kind of threat which is a democratic threat. This means that if these ideas reach many people and conspiracy thinking concerning Muslims, for example, reach many people, then that can affect how people vote and which political party comes to power.”

“That can change society for the worse. Even though after a terrorist attack, it is easy to think of terror as the biggest threat, but may be that the ideas themselves are being spread,” he concludes.

Click here for the second part of the interview.


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Published on Thursday, 10th May, 2012 at 12:43 under the news category, by Geetika Nautiyal.
Last updated on 10th May 2012 at 15:02.

This post has the following tags: andersbehringbreivik, breiviktrialoslo, oslodistrictcourt, utoeyashootings, utoya, extremerightnorway.





  
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