Last month, a few hours after a bomb exploded in downtown Oslo, I got a call from a journalist seeking comment. Why did Al Qaeda attack Norway? Why not a European country with a larger Muslim community, or a significant military presence in Muslim societies? I said I didn't know.
A second media inquiry soon followed: Given NATO's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the number of disaffected Muslims in Europe, why don't we see more attacks like the one in Norway? This question was more up my alley. I recently published a book asking why Islamic terrorism has been rarer than many of us feared after 9/11. Before answering, I checked the news. Norwegian officials were reporting that the attacker was not Muslim. I was no longer an authority on the incident.
A third reporter called the next morning: Has the focus on Islamic terrorism distracted us from the threat of non-Islamic extremism?
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