Anders Behring Breivik is seen in a screenshot from a 1,500 page web document which apparently shows his political views on Islam and Marxism. The document is entitled "2083 - A European Declaration of Independence." Source: 2083 - A European Declaration / Screenshot. Courtesy of International Business Times.I blogged yesterday about the discovery that the Oslo and Utøya island attacks in Norway was the work of a single domestic terrorist, and not of a cadre of Middle Eastern Islamofascists. I also noted that early reports indicated the attacker, Anders Behring Breivik, may be a Christian fundamentalist.

For the record, I still am not sure to what extent his religion per se inspired him to do what he did. It’s clear, however, that he despised Muslims, feared they would take over his native country and all of Europe within decades, and wanted them out before they destroyed western civilization.

In other words, he is a Neocrusader.

The New York Times offers a profile that explains his thinking on the subject (WebCite cached article):

The Norwegian man charged Saturday with a pair of attacks in Oslo that killed at least 92 people left behind a detailed manifesto outlining his preparations and calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination, according to Norwegian and American officials familiar with the investigation. …

In the 1,500-page manifesto, posted on the Web hours before the attacks, Mr. Breivik recorded a day-by-day diary of months of planning for the attacks, and claimed to be part of a small group that intended to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.”

He predicted a conflagration that would kill or injure more than a million people, adding, “The time for dialogue is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come.”

Breivik claims, in his manifesto, to be part of a small group, although he names no one else and is strangely vague about his supposed cohorts:

The document also describes a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader military order. It says the meeting was attended by nine representatives of eight European countries, evidently including Mr. Breivik, with an additional three members unable to attend, including a “European-American.”

There are rumors he may have had an accomplice in the attacks, but so far, authorities haven’t been able to confirm this. The existence of any of his claimed cohorts has yet to be confirmed.

Breivik’s fear of Islam undermining and destroying Europe and the west is shared by many Neocrusaders here in the US, and by European pundits and politicians such Mark Steyn and Geert Wilders. However, this fear is not couched in reality. According to the research of the Pew Forum (cached), the proportion of Muslims worldwide will only grow from 23.4% in 2010 to 26.4% in 2030 — incredibly modest by comparison with extreme claims that the world will become majority-Muslim in only a slightly longer time frame.

At this point it sure looks as though Breivik was motivated more by his own apparent mental illness than anything else. However, his illness seems to have latched onto this anti-Muslim fervor, and he bought into it so completely that he was willing to kill innocents over it, and — if his manifesto is to be believed — to martyr himself for it.

Allow me to be very, very clear here: At this point I am not willing to claim Breivik’s religiosity drove him to this. Nor am I blaming what he did on people like Steyn, Wilders, or any other Neocrusader. What I am saying is no more nor less than what I said in the previous paragraph: He seems to have latched onto this raging anti-Muslim fervor, and coupled with his apparent mental illness, this became an impulse to kill and possibly be killed. At the very least, it’s time we all take a serious look at these anti-Muslim Neocrusading scare campaigns. Is it really worthwhile to keep up them up?

Photo credit: 2083- A European Declaration (Screenshot) via International Business Times.

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  • Chuck

    He certainly wasn't a Christian. From his manifesto, he was a pragmatic secular Darwinian Euro-centric anti-Muslim person.

    • We'll see how much of a "Christian" Breivik is. As I stated in my post, the jury is out on that. In the meantime it's worth considering the extent that Christians' vilification of Islam, and the current rage against the very existence of that religion felt by many occidental Christians, contributed to this. Even if Breivik is non-religious (and I'm not saying he is or isn't), would he have done what he did, if not for centuries of Christians hating Muslims and the current Neocrusade against them? The same principle applies in people's attitudes toward Jews: It's possible for a non-religious person to be an anti-Semite, but would there be any anti-Semitism at all, if not for centuries of Christian persecution of Jews?

      It's something to consider, and I hope folks will honestly do so, instead of reflexively defending their religions and refusing to accept any critique. That's usually what happens in these cases … a massive circling of the wagons … and it accomplishes nothing useful except to stir up yet more sanctimonious outrage, which we don't need.