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Massacre in Norway: Why did this right wing zealot kill 76 innocent people in Oslo


Surrey, Vancouver, Aug 02, 2011
Balwant Sanghera

The tragedy in Oslo has shaken the entire world community. Why did a native born citizen of a peaceful Scandanavian l nation of 4.8 million people commit such a heinous and abhorring crime? The so- called 1500-page on-line manifesto of 32-year-old confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik provides a closer look at his thinking. Why did this right wing zealot kill 76 innocent people in Oslo and neighboring tiny-forested holiday resort island of Utoeya.

                        Breivik is reported to be planning this massacre for almost ten years. His 1500 page tract released on the Internet lays out the justification for this insane action. What has happened in Oslo is deplorable and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Questions have been raised about the sanity of this individual as no sane person can even think of such a ghastly act. In his writings, Breivik gives three reasons for his killing spree- immigrants, Islamophobia and multiculturalism. He goes on to state that his actions will bring these issues into a sharper focus. Indeed, they have.

                        It is rather unfortunate that for the past few years, immigration into Europe has been a hot issue. This is more so in case of Muslim immigrants. This also brings into question multiculturalism, which has been under fierce attack especially in Europe. Countries like Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands and U.K.have raised serious concerns about both of these issues-immigration and multiculturalism. Leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have openly declared that multiculturalism in their countries has failed. Statements like these reinforce the views of those who are totally opposed to such concepts.

                        We live in a global village. The advancement in technology has brought everyone closer. If something happens in one corner of the world it is all over the globe instantly. Any negative comments about immigrants and/or multiculturalism are bound to influence people’s perceptions immensely. The cumulative effect can have devastating consequences as we have just seen in Norway. Though this senseless act was perpetrated by one misguided individual yet the justification for it has widespread implications. In a sense, it is a wake up call for countries like Canada. In this context, the issues of immigration, multiculturalism and Islam phobia need to be treated as global issues not just one country's or region’s. All of this requires a concerted effort by the world community and its leadership to address these issues head on at the global level.

                        It is rather ironic that the Muslim community was the major target of Breivik’s ranting. He is not alone in this. Muslims have become an easy target for a lot of people like him. One must recognize that like members of every other community, a vast majority of Muslims are peace- loving and law-abiding citizens. Islam, like every other religion, is a religion of peace and harmony. Fanatics and twisted minds who profess to commit heinous crimes in the name of religion can be found in every community. Certainly, Islam seems to have more than its fair share of zealots. That doesn’t mean that the entire Muslim community should be tarnished for the actions of a few fanatics.

 As members of the human race, it is incumbent upon us all to take a stand against any acts of terrorism and injustice. At the same time, we need to make every effort in promoting inter-cultural harmony, inclusiveness, mutual respect and understanding.

Balwant Sanghera (Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist)






Balwant Sanghera

Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.