Ever since last year's Norway massacre, when Anders Breivik killed some 70 people, the relativists and Muslim apologists of the world felt exonerated: for here at last, thought they, was proof positive that terrorism had nothing to do with Islamic teachings per se. If Christianity cannot be blamed for Breivik, why blame Islam for al-Qaeda?
This question was restated in a recent email to me from Gehan D. Sabry, editor of Cross Cultures, a website dedicated to "Promoting Harmony Through Knowledge and Better Understanding." Regarding my recent article, "A Tale of Two American Martyrs," where I discussed the slayings of two American Christians in the Muslim world due to allegations of proselytizing, she wrote:
[…] I know enough fellow Christians who agree with me that the majority of Muslims and Christians, in fact the moderates of ALL religions ... get along just fine, and only the radicals of each are the ones who make the news, and cause turmoil and tragedy in this world ... when I read this article of yours, I immediately remembered the psycho from Norway who killed over 70 youth recently ... why don't you try to explain that away for me?
My explanation, which may be of general interest—this question of moral equivalency plagues the many who think on superficial terms—follows:
First, the two murdered American teachers were killed by Muslims under accusations of proselytism. As it happens, according to mainstream Islamic interpretations of Sharia, proselytizing Muslims is a capital offence. In fact, it is mentioned as far back as the so-called Pact of Omar, which Muslim doctrinaires still quote from, and which delineates what non-Muslims (it was first made with Christians in Syria) must—and must not—do to safeguard their blood.
One of the stipulations they had to agree to was, "We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it." At the very end of the pact, they had to agree that "If we in any way violate these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our covenant, and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and sedition," which is death.
Thus the Muslims who killed the American teachers accused of Christian proselytism had doctrinal backing from Islam—one that, by the way, has manifested itself regularly throughout the course of Muslim history.
On the other hand, Anders Breivik had absolutely no Christian support—doctrinal or scriptural—for his shooting spree. Nor did he articulate his terror in the name of religion, the way Koran-waving Islamic terrorists do daily. The importance of this contrast should be clear to objective thinkers.
Also, as earlier explained, the terror campaign of Breivik—who openly confessed that al-Qaeda was his "inspiration" to the point that he tried to emulate its tactics by beheading and videotaping his victims—was influenced, consciously or subconsciously, by Islamic-style jihad and terror.
Finally, let us not overlook the fact that the American teachers who were killed by Muslims, and the 70 Norwegians who were killed by Breivik, were all killed in response to Islam—the former directly, the latter indirectly.
Along with the countless non-Muslims daily persecuted under Islam, the Americans were slain in direct accordance with Islam's anti-infidel laws. Conversely, though only Breivik is directly responsible for his murderous spree, it was, nonetheless, indirectly prompted by his conviction (shared among many Europeans) that Islam—from mass and illegal immigration, to calls for Sharia and death for cartoon publishers—is making cataclysmic inroads in Europe.
Without removing the sole responsibility from Breivik, the question is: Would there have been a Norway massacre if there was no Islam in Europe—with all the troubles associated with it?
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.