European “Counterjihad Activists” Making Links with Christian Right

Hate groups solidifying their links:

European “Counterjihad Activists” Making Links with Christian Right

by Richard Bartholomew (Barth’s Notes)

The British Freedom Party reports:

On Friday March 9 a media team from the Christian Action Network came to London to conduct interviews with various Counterjihad activists about the spread of sharia and the Islamization of Europe. Below is their interview with Paul Weston, the Chairman of the British Freedom Party.

The CAN interview with Tommy Robinson was posted yesterday at Gates of ViennaElisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff will be up next.

CAN previously interviewed English Defence League members in 2009, during a visit to the UK with Robert Spencer. CAN used the opportunity to invite EDL activists to a private dinner with Spencer and Douglas Murray, to the embarrassment of the two men; Murray’s Centre for Social Cohesion sent me a message asking me to clarify that “CAN asked Douglas to do an interview with them – upon seeing the presence of the EDL at the CAN discussion he refused to deal with them and left the venue.”

CAN was primarily known for anti-gay activism prior to taking an interest in Islam; CAN’s president, Martin Mawyer, has a history of virulent statements on the subject (in particular, in 1997 he denounced Ellen DeGeneres’ “FILTHY LESBIAN LIFESTYLE”), which Spencer initially dismissed in 2009 as “not jihad-related”. However, in 2010 Mawyer’s views were reported in Dutch media, prompting Geert Wilders to withdraw from the Los Angeles premiere of a CAN documentary entitled Islam Rising: Geert Wilders’ Warning to the West. The premiere, which had been organised by Pamela Geller and Spencer, was quickly cancelled, and Spencer affected to be shocked at the discovery of Mawyer’s “ugly, vitriolic… hysterical, self-righteous, abusive rhetoric”.

The British Freedom Party and the EDL now have several links with Christian Right activists. Weston and Stephen Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) are regular guests on Michael Coren’s Arena TV show; Coren is a member of the more intellectual end of the Catholic right, and, like Mawyer, he is particularly known for his objections to homosexuality. Weston and Lennon are also friendly with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition’s Andy Miller (the TFC was in the news recently after arranging for local police to be trained in Islam at an evangelical church in Murfreesboro; the group alsohas links with the British organisation Christian Concern).

Sabaditsch-Wolff, meanwhile, was recently invested as a Dame of “the Knights of Malta — The Ecumenical Order”, by Nicholas Papanicolaou and none  other than Gen William “Jerry” Boykin; the two men are, respectively, the Order’s “Grand Master” and “Grand Chancellor”. Both men are close to the evangelist Rick Joyner, who is a “Deputy Member of the Supreme Council”. Joyner, who receives messages from God about how an earthquake will soon destroy the west coast of the USA, claims that he was introduced to the Order by an “Austrian baron”, and that his books were responsible for a “spiritual renewal” in the Order.

(Hat tip: EDL News)

Stop Islamisation of Norway Leader Claims Growth in Membership, Far Right Analyst Expresses Skepticism

The home of Anders Behring Breivik. (via. Islamophobia-Watch)

Stop Islamisation of Norway leader claims growth in membership, far right analyst expresses scepticism

A Norwegian group called “Stop Islamisation of Norway” (SIAN) has doubled membership levels in the last two years, its representatives claim.

The group, whose most active membership is located in Rogaland, has also been awarded a government concession to transmit on Radio Kos in Sandnes, western Norway. It alleges Internet radio capacity had to be increased from 25,000 to 200,000 listeners recently because of popularity.

Merete Hodne and Kjersti Margrethe Addehaid Gilje told NRK from Bryne, a small town in Rogaland County, “We have a duty to our country to preserve our Christian values, and not least to protect our children against the terrible, evil forces of Islam.”

According to SIAN’s leader, Arne Tumyr, membership has increased because of the 22nd July attacks. He would not reveal numbers, however, because of Extreme Left press exploitation fears, and being branded as racist by certain groups.

Last year, SIAN arranged a demonstration “Never Forget 9/11″ in front of the US embassy in Oslo ten years to the day. Arne Tumyr told NTB, “We are here to remember and honor those who lost their lives on 11th September ten years ago. We will commemorate the day from SIAN’s point of view, which is that we fear the growing influence of Islam and believe there is a direct connection between the religion of Islam and extremist actions.”

He and six others also participated at another anti-Islam protest in December in the centre of Stavanger. Approximately 10 times as many counter-demonstrators from SOS Racism and extreme Left Party Rødt (the Red Party) shouted him down during his speech, however, declaring, “no racists in our streets.”

Journalist, writer, and Right-Extremist environment researcher Øyvind Strømmen is sceptical about SIAN claims regarding increased membership. “They like to brag that they have a growing number of members, but there are not many people who stand and listen to them when they hold appeals,” he told NRK, “I think recruitment to this type of extremism has declined.”

The Foreigner, 11 March 2012

Extreme Right-Winger, Gianluca Casseri Kills Two Senegalese Men

Gianluca Casseri
Gianluca Casseri

Over 90% of Senegalese are Muslims, is it shocking that this fanatical right-winger from Florence targeted them? Don’t expect the likes of Robert Spencer to speak about some one such as Casseri who likely shares in his ideology, he’s too busy trying to link crimes committed by random Muslims to Islam.

Florence street vendors shot dead by lone gunman

Police said the gunman, Gianluca Casseri, 50, was known to have sympathies with Italy’s extreme Right.

He first opened fire on a group of Senegalese street traders at a market in Piazza Dalmazia, on the northern outskirts of the Tuscan city, killing two, seriously wounding a third and causing panic among shoppers and pedestrians.

He then jumped into a white car and drove off. Witnesses said the owner of a newspaper stall tried to block him but the gunman told him that unless he got out of the way he would be the next victim.

Casseri appeared a short time later at San Lorenzo market, in the centre of Florence, where he opened fire again with a .357 Magnum hand gun, wounding two more Senegalese hawkers.

He then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the chest.

“I heard the shots but I thought they were fireworks. Then I turned around and I saw three men on the ground surrounded by blood,” a vendor at the scene of the first shooting told the Italian news agency Ansa.

Senegalese traders were quoted as saying that they had worked in the city for years, had never had any trouble, and could not understand the motive for the attacks.

Florence and other large Italian cities host a shifting population of African street vendors who sell traditional handicrafts and fake designer handbags to tourists.

After the shootings, a group of West African traders staged a peaceful demonstration at the scene of the first shooting, shouting “Shame, shame”, before marching on the city centre.

Threat to America’s Freedom? It’s Not Islamic Law

Imagine, for a minute, that Muslims in America were openly advocating at meetings and conferences to take control of major sectors of public life, such as the government, media, and the law.

Imagine further that Muslims had built law schools, accredited no less, with the agenda to teach its students that America should be governed by Islamic law.

And imagine a little further that the leaders of this Muslim movement to Islamicize America were openly calling for America to become a Muslim nation.

And just imagine that all of the above was being absorbed into a major American political party and that some members of this Muslim mission were in Congress and were also looking to become the next President of the United States.

Of course, there would be mass hysteria and panic at such a notion. But none of the above is actually happening. Instead, replace Muslim with Christian and that is precisely what is currently occurring in America.

But of course, certain Islamophobes would have us worry about an imagined threat from Muslim-Americans–who make up a measly 2% of the U.S. population–rather than the Christian groups out there who are actively working to Christianize America, and who have been working at this for over three decades with the aid of one of the two main political parties.

Many of these evangelical Christian groups are actively looking to restrict the rights of women, members of the LGBT community, and to force their religious viewpoint on to the rest of the country.  Worse yet, advocates of Christian dominionism call for world conquest, to subjugate the infidel nations of the world to Christian domination.

Here is an excellent article from Sarah Posner on dominionism (emphasis added)–just imagine how utterly insane Islamophobes would go if Muslim were substituted for Christian here:

The Christian right’s “dominionist” strategy

by Sarah Posner

An article in the Texas Observer last month about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s relationship with followers of a little-known neo-Pentecostal movement sparked a frenzied reaction from many commentators: Dominionism! Spiritual warfare! Strange prophecies!

All the attention came in the weeks before and after “The Response,” Perry’s highly publicized prayer rally modeled on what organizers believe is the “solemn assembly” described in Joel 2, in which “end-times warriors” prepare the nation for God’s judgment and, ultimately, Christ’s return. This “new” movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, is one strand of neo-Pentecostalism that draws on the ideas of dominionism and spiritual warfare. Its adherents display gifts of the spirit, the religious expression of Pentecostal and charismatic believers that includes speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing and a belief in signs, wonders and miracles. These evangelists also preach the “Seven Mountains” theory of dominionism: that Christians need to take control of different sectors of public life, such as government, the media and the law.

The NAR is not new, but rather derivative of charismatic movements that came before it. Its founder, C. Peter Wagner, set out in the 1990s to create more churches, and more believers. Wagner’s movement involves new jargon, notably demanding that believers take control of the “Seven Mountains” of society (government, law, media and so forth), but that’s no different from other iterations of dominionism that call on Christians to enter these fields so that they are controlled by Christians.

After Perry’s prayer rally, Rachel Maddow featured a segment on her MSNBC show in which she warned,

“The main idea of the New Apostolic Reformation theology is that they are modern day prophets and apostles. They believe they have a direct line to God … the way that they’re going to clear the way for it [the end of the world] is by infiltrating and taking over politics and government.”

Maddow’s ahistorical treatment of the NAR, however, overlooked several important realities. For anyone who has followed the growth of neo-Pentecostal movements, and in particular the coalition-building between the political operatives of the religious right and these lesser-known but still influential religious leaders, the NAR is just another development in the competitive, controversial, outrageous, authoritarian and often corrupt tapestry of the world of charismatic evangelists.

Before the NAR came along, plenty of charismatic leaders believed themselves to be prophets and apostles with a direct line to God. They wrote books about spiritual warfare, undergirded by conspiracy theories about liberals and Satan and homosexuality and feminism and more (my own bookshelves are filled with them). They preached this on television. They preached it at conferences. They made money from it. They all learned from each other.

Before the NAR, Christian right figures promoted dominionism, too, and the GOP courted these religious leaders for the votes of their followers. Despite a recent argument by the Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg that “we have not seen this sort of thing at the highest levels of the Republican Party before,” it’s been there since at least 1980. Michele Bachmann is a product of it; so was Mike Huckabee. Ronald Reagan pandered to it; so did both Bushes; so does Perry.

In 2007, I saw Cindy Jacobs and other “apostles” lay hands on Shirley Forbes, wife of Rep. Randy Forbes, the founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which boasts some Democrats as members and many of the GOP’s leading lights. “You are going to be the mother of an army,” they told Forbes, prophesying that she would “speak the power of the word into politics and government. Hallelujah!”

The idea that Christians have a sacred duty to get involved in politics, the law and media, and otherwise bring their influence to bear in different public spheres is the animating principle behind the religious right. If you attend a Values Voters Summit, the annual Washington confab hosted by the Family Research Council, you’ll hear speakers urging young people to go into media, or view Hollywood as a “mission field.” That’s because they insistthese institutions have been taken over by secularists who are causing the downfall of America with their anti-Christian beliefs.

A few days ago, the Washington Post’s religion columnist, Lisa Miller, took Goldberg and Maddow to task for overhyping dominionism as a plot to take over the world. Miller, though, misses the boat, too, by neglecting to acknowledge and describe the infrastructure the religious right has built, driven by the idea of dominionism.

Oral Roberts University Law School, where Bachmann earned her law degree, was founded with this very notion in mind: to create an explicitly Christian law school. Herb Titus, the lawyer converted by Christian Reconstructionism who was instrumental in its launch, describes his mission in developing a Christian law school as a fulfillment of a “dominion mandate.” After ORU was absorbed into Regent University in the 1980s, Titus was the mentor to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who last week was elevated to chair of the Republican Governors Association and is widely speculated to be a possible vice-presidential pick.

Christian Reconstructionists, and their acolytes of the Constitution Party, believe America should be governed by biblical law. In her 1995 book, “Roads to Dominion: Right Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States,” Sara Diamond describes the most significant impact of Reconstructionism on dominionism:

“the diffuse influence of the ideas that America was ordained a Christian nation and that Christians, exclusively, were to rule and reign.” While most Christian right activists were “not well-versed in the arcane teachings” of Christian Reconstructionism, she wrote, “there was a wider following for softer forms of dominionism.”

For the Christian right, it’s more a political strategy than a secret “plot” to “overthrow” the government, even as some evangelists describe it in terms of “overthrowing” the powers of darkness (i.e., Satan), and even some more radical, militia-minded groups do suggest such a revolution. In general, though, the Christian right has been very open about its strategy and has spent a lot of money on it: in the law, as just one example, there are now two ABA-accredited Christian law schools, at Regent (which absorbed the ORU law school) and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. There are a number of Christian law firms, like the Alliance Defense Fund, formed as a Christian counterweight to the ACLU. Yet outsiders don’t notice that this is all an expression of dominionism, until someone from that world, like Bachmann, hits the national stage.

John Turner, University of South Alabama historian and author of “Bill Bright and the Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America,” said that the NAR’s “Seven Mountains” dominionism is “just a catchy phrase that encapsulates what Bright and many other evangelical leaders were already doing — trying to increase Christian influence (they would probably use more militant phrases like ‘capture’) in the spheres of education, business and government.”

Bright, like Perry’s prayer cohorts, believed America was in trouble (because of the secularists) and needed to repent. One of the most well-known evangelicals in the country, Bright had agreed to let Virginia Beach preacher John Gimenez, a charismatic, organize the rally, despite evangelical discomfort with charismatic religious expression. In his book, Turner describes the Washington for Jesus rally of 1980:

From the platform, Bright offered his interpretation of the source of the country’s problems, asserting that “[w]e’ve turned from God and God is chastening us.” “You go back to 1962 and [196]3 [when the Supreme Court banned school-sponsored prayer and Bible-reading],” Bright argued, “and you’ll discovered a series of plagues that came upon America.” Bright cited the Vietnam War, increased drug use, racial conflict, Watergate, and a rise in divorce, teenage pregnancy, and alcoholism as the result of those decisions. “God is saying to us,” he concluded, “‘Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!’” … “Unless we repent and turn from our sin,” warned Bright, “we can expect to be destroyed.”

Unlike Perry’s rally, Ronald Reagan the candidate wasn’t present at the Washington for Jesus rally. At a 2007 gathering at his church, Gimenez recounted how he and Bright later met with President Reagan, and Bright told him, “You were elected on April 29, 1980, when the church prayed that God’s will would be done.”

In August 1980, though, after Reagan had clinched the nomination, he did appear at a “National Affairs Briefing” in Texas, where televangelist James Robison (also instrumental in organizing Perry’s event) declared, “The stage is set. We’ll either have a Hitler-type takeover, or Soviet domination, or God is going to take over this country.” After Robison spoke, Reagan took the stage and declared to the 15,000 activists assembled by Moral Majority co-founder Ed McAteer, “You can’t endorse me, but I endorse you.”

That was also a big moment for Huckabee, who worked as Robison’s advance man. It was even imitated by then-candidate Barack Obama, who met with a group of evangelicals and charismatics in Chicago and repeated Reagan’s infamous line. Obama’s group included publisher Stephen Strang (an early endorser of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid) and his son Cameron, whose magazines Charisma and Relevant help promote the careers of the self-declared modern-day prophets and apostles. Huckabee appeared with Lou Engle at his 2008 The Call rally on the National Mall (like Perry’s, billed as a “solemn assembly”) in which Engle exhorted his prayer warriors to battlesatanic forces to defeat “Antichrist legislation.”

When I interviewed former Bush family adviser Doug Wead for my 2008 book, “God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters,” he gave me a lengthy memo he compiled for George H.W. Bush in 1985, to prepare him for his 1988 presidential run. In the memo, he identified a thousand “targets,” religious leaders across the country whose followers, Wead believed, could be mobilized to the voting booth.

In my book, I examined the theology and politics of the Word of Faith movement (also known as the prosperity gospel) and how Republicans cultivated the leading lights of the movement. Primarily because of television, but also because of the robust (and profitable) speaking circuit these evangelists maintain, they have huge audiences. All that was in spite of — just as the scrutiny of NAR figures now is revealing — outlandish, strange and even heretical theology. What’s more, Word of Faith figures have endlessly been embroiled in disputes not just with their theological critics, but with watchdogs and former parishioners who charge they took their money for personal enrichment, promising that God would bring them great health and wealth if they would only “sow a seed.”

At Gimenez’s 2007 event, Engle and the other “apostles” were not the stars; rather, the biggest draw was Word of Faith televangelist Kenneth Copeland. In 1998, writing to Karl Rove, Wead called Copeland “arguably one of the most important religious leaders in the nation.” At Gimenez’s church, Copeland, who has boasted that his ministry has brought in more the $1 billion over his career, preached for two hours. The sanctuary was packed, with the audience hanging on every word. Gimenez introduced him as “God’s prophet,” and Copeland urged them to “get rid of the evening news and the newspaper,” study “the uncompromised word of the Holy Ghost,” and take “control over principalities.”

The commenters who have jumped on the NAR frequently overstate the size of its following. Engle’s events, for example, are often smaller than advertised, including a poorly attended revival at Liberty University in April 2010, where one would expect a ready-made audience. When I’ve covered these sorts of events, including smaller conferences by local groups inspired by figures they see on television, it’s often hard to see how the often meandering preachers are going to take over anything, even while it’s clear they cultivate an authoritarian hold on their followers. I meet a lot of sincere, frequently well-intentioned people who believe they must be “obedient” to God’s word as imparted by the “prophets.”

Most chilling, though, is the willingness to engage in what’s known in the Word of Faith world as “revelation knowledge,” or believing, as Copeland exhorted his audience to do, that you learn nothing from journalism or academia, but rather just from the Bible and its modern “prophets.” It is in this way that the self-styled prophets have had their greatest impact on our political culture: by producing a political class, and its foot soldiers, who believe that God has imparted them with divine knowledge that supersedes what all the evil secularists would have you believe.

Last week CNN’s Jack Cafferty asked, “How much does it worry you if both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have ties to dominionism?” That worry crops up every election cycle. If people really understood dominionism, they’d worry about it between election cycles.

However, it’s the Moozlums we’re supposed to worry about.

To clarify though, LoonWatch is not pressing the panic button: the threat from the religious right is very real, but we don’t think it’s a doomsday situation.  All we’re saying is that the threat from the Christian right is certainly greater than this imaginary threat from Muslims and all this Sharia-nonsense.

In Defense of Demonization: Frontpage’s lame defense of Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer

By now you probably have read all the details concerning the terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway. This attack has shined a spotlight on the demonization of Muslims at the hands of anti-Muslim bloggers we have profiled on this site. For example, the NY Times published a devastating expose of the shooter’s ideological ties to Robert Spencer. The evidence is so damning that Spencer is in a panicked state of damage control. So his friends at Frontpage Magazine have jumped to defend his Islamophobic enterprise, an apologia worthy of a detailed response from Loonwatch.

The article begins with some whining about how poor Spencer is the victim of the lamestream media:

No tragedy goes long without exploitation, and the atrocities in Norway are no exception to that rule.

Spencer spends his days exploiting bad news about Muslims, but when the news reflects poorly on him and he is criticized, it suddenly becomes exploitation?

Is silencing researchers who have put years of effort into exposing networks of radicals the right response to a terrorist attack? No reasonable person would think so. But that is exactly what media outlets like the New York Times and the Atlantic are trying to do.

Who is silencing Robert Spencer? Has his website been shut down? Is he prevented from publishing more books? Rest assured that Spencer’s first amendment rights are intact. The problem here is that Frontpage is cynically playing victim; they cannot distinguish between being fairly criticized and actually being denied rights.

Now let’s turn to the voluminous citations from Spencer found in the Shooter’s manifesto:

The “64 times” cited by the Times and its imitators reflects lazy research since the majority of those quotes actually come from a single document, where Spencer is quoted side by side with Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice.

See, Spencer was only cited 64 times making the argument (unlike Blair and Rice) that terrorism is an essential aspect of mainstream Islam.

Quite often, Robert Spencer is quoted providing historical background on Islam and quotes from the Koran and the Hadith. So, it’s actually Fjordman quoting Spencer quoting the Koran. If the media insists that Fjordman is an extremist and Spencer is an extremist — then isn’t the Koran also extremist? And if the Koran isn’t extremist, then how could quoting it be extremist?

Actually, it’s Fjordman quoting Spencer quoting the Quran (out of context) and explaining that good Muslims are terrorist killers. Why shouldn’t he defend Western civilization from Muslims?

The New York Times would have you believe that secondhand quotes like these from Spencer turned Breivik into a raging madman… The complete absence of quotes in which Robert Spencer calls for anyone to commit acts of terrorism reveals just how empty the media’s case against him is.

See, Spencer is just arguing that good Muslims are terrorists, that Islam is pure evil, and that Muslim immigration, aided by liberals, is destroying Western civilization. He supposedly never* actually calls for outright violence, but he has no problem with people who post violent comments on his website.

If we follow Spencer’s logic, it can be easy to conclude that violence is needed to stem the Hottentot Mongol tide of immigration. This argument ignores the fact that demonization leads to violence:

“When you push the demonization of populations, you often end up with violence,” said Heidi Beirich, research director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

But the shooter didn’t kill Muslims, so Islamophobia cannot be involved, right?

And even this is irrelevant because Breivik did not carry out violence against Muslims… If Breivik was motivated by Islamophobia, then why did he not attempt to kill Muslims? Why did he not open fire inside a mosque?

This point is refuted by Alex Pareene at Salon:

Opposition to Islam was the killer’s stated motivation. He targeted other white Scandinavians because he considered them race traitors. He wrote all of this down, too, so we don’t even have to make guesses about it! He blamed liberals for enabling jihad by supporting “multiculturalism.”

Just because he didn’t directly attack Muslims does not mean Islamophobia had nothing to do with this attack. In fact, it had everything to do with the attack. But there is one last straw for Spencerites to grasp at:

Not only did Breivik not target Muslims, but he considered collaborating with Muslim terrorists… “An alliance with the Jihadists might prove beneficial to both parties,” Breivik wrote. “We both share one common goal.”

Interesting, Breivik and the Islamophobic ideology he shares with Spencer do indeed share one common goal with jihadists. They both want a homogenous society that doesn’t tolerate the Other. They both want to incite religious/nationalist war. They both want to increase Islamophobia; Spencer because it is his source of income, and jihadists because it is good recruiting propaganda. So, it is not a surprise to us that extremists share common goals but for vastly different reasons. We’ve known for some time that Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists reinforce one another.

In sum, Spencer and Frontpage want free reign to demonize Muslims and peddle baseless sharia conspiracy theories, but they cry foul when they get criticized in public. They suddenly demand the nuance that they have so far happily denied to Muslims as a whole.

*Admin Note: Spencer has subtly and overtly endorsed violence or a violent posture against Muslim citizens and their “liberal enablers” in the West. Just in January, in a piece titled “Digging Graves for the Next World War,” Roland Shirk a contributor at JW wrote,

The strings that knit together peaceful coexistence among communities are straining under the pressure of millions of resident aliens who should never have been admitted, who can only be tolerated when they are as sure as we that compared to us they are helpless. Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat. We had better decide which posture we prefer. The time is short.

Those words are essentially the theme of Breivik’s manifesto, and Spencer approved it. This is on top of the knowledge that Spencer joined a Facebook group that sought as its objective a Reconquista of Anatolia, a holocaust of Turks and a forced conversion of any and all remaining Muslims. Spencer never denied joining the group, only claiming that he was the victim of a “trick.”

Norway attacks suspect admits responsibility

Oslo Terrorism BombingOslo Terrorism Bombing

via Loonwatch:

Norway attacks suspect admits responsibility

(AlJazeeraEnglish)

The man suspected of a gun and bomb attack in Norway has called his deeds atrocious yet necessary, his defence lawyer said.

“He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary,” defence lawyer Geir Lippestad told TV2 news on Saturday.

Lippestad said his client had said he was willing to explain himself in a court hearing on Monday. The court will decide at the hearing whether to keep the suspect in detention pending trial.

Earlier on Saturday, officials in Norway had charged a 32-year-old Norwegian man with killing at least 92 people in a gun and bomb attack described as the worst act of violence in the country since World War II.

Police confirmed to Al Jazeera on Saturday that the suspect had been named as Anders Behring Breivik.

Breivik, who confessed to firing weapons during questioning on Saturday, belonged to right-wing political groups. But officials said they are not jumping to conclusions about his motives.

Reports suggest he belonged to an anti-immigration party, wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and was a member of a neo-Nazi online forum.

But Norwegian authorities said Breivik, detained by police after 85 people were gunned down at a youth camp and another 7 killed in an Oslo bomb attack on Friday, was previously unknown to them and his internet activity traced so far included no calls to violence.

‘Beyond comprehension’

Breivik bought six tonnes of fertiliser before the massacre, a supplier said on Saturday, as police investigated witness accounts of a second shooter in the attack on Utoya.

If convicted on terrorism charges, Breivik would face a maximum of 21 years in jail, police said

If convicted on terrorism charges, he would face a maximum of 21 years in jail, police have said.

Norway’s royal family and prime minister led the nation in mourning, visiting grieving relatives of the scores of youth gunned down at an island retreat, as the shell-shocked Nordic nation was gripped by reports that the gunman may not have acted alone.

The shooting spree began just hours after a massive explosion that ripped through an Oslo high-rise building housing the prime minister’s office.

“This is beyond comprehension. It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for those who have been killed, for their mothers and fathers, family and friends,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Saturday.

Though the prime minister cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the gunman’s motives, both attacks were in areas connected to the left-leaning Labour Party, which leads a coalition government.

The youth camp, about 35km northwest of Oslo, is organised by the party’s youth wing, and the prime minister had been scheduled to speak there on Saturday.

‘Christian fundamentalist’ views

The blond-haired Behring Breivik described himself on his Facebook page as “conservative”, “Christian”, and interested in hunting and computer games like World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2, reports say.

On his Twitter account, he posted only one message, dated July 17, in English based on a quote from British philosopher John Stuart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 100,000 who have only interests”.

The suspect was reportedly also a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi internet forum, a group monitoring far-right activity said on Saturday.

Nordisk, a 22,000-member web forum founded in 2007, describes itself as a portal on the theme of “the Nordic identity, culture and traditions.”

In comments from 2009-2010 to other people’s articles on another website, Document, which calls itself critical of Islam, Breivik criticised European policies of trying to accommodate the cultures of different ethnic groups.

“When did multi-culturalism cease to be an ideology designed to deconstruct European culture, traditions, identity and nation-states?” said one his entries, posted on February 2, 2010.

Breivik wrote he was a backer of the “Vienna School of Thought”, which was against multi-culturalism and the spread of Islam.

He also wrote he admired Geert Wilders, the populist anti-Islam Dutch politician, for following that school. Wilders said in a statement on Saturday: “I despise everything he stands for and everything he did”.

Nina Hjerpset-Ostlie, a contributing journalist to the right-wing website, said she had met Breivik at a meeting in late 2009.

“The only thing we noticed about him is that he seemed like anyone else and that he had some very high-flying, unrealistic, ideas about marketing of our website,” she said.

Police searched an apartment in an Oslo suburb on Friday, which neighbours said belonged to Breivik’s mother.

“It is the mother who lives there. She is a very polite lady, pleasant and very friendly,” said Hemet Noaman, 27, an accounting consultant who lives in the same building in a wealthy part of town. “He often came to visit his mother but did not live here.”

Oslo Deputy Police Chief Roger Andresen would not speculate on the motives for what was believed to be the deadliest attack by a lone gunman anywhere in modern times.

“He has never been under surveillance and he has never been arrested,” Andresen told a news conference on Saturday.

Populist party member

Breivik, who attended a middle class high school called Handelsgym in central Oslo, had also been a member of the Progress Party, the second-largest in parliament, the party’s head of communications Fredrik Farber said.

He was a member from 2004 to 2006 and in its youth party from 1997 to 2007.

The Progress Party – conservative but within the political mainstream – wants far tighter restrictions on immigration, whereas the centre-left government backs multi-culturalism. The party leads some public opinion polls.

A politician who met Breivik in 2002-2003, when he was apparently interested in local Oslo politics, said he did not attract attention.

“I got the impression that he was a modest person … he was well dressed, it seemed like he was well educated,” Joeran Kallmyr, 33, an Oslo municipality politician representing the Progress Party, told the Reuters news agency.

Progress leader Siv Jensen stressed he had left the party.

Breivik was also a freemason, said a spokesman for the organisation.

Robert Spencer in Damage Control After Terror Attack in Norway

Spencer is working hard to disassociate himself from one of his fans

Spencer is working hard to disassociate himself from one of his fans

Robert Spencer in Damage Control After Terror Attack in Norway

The anti-Muslim loons of the world are in a major bind right now. Their intolerant anti-Muslim attitude and constant fear-mongering is responsible for the horrible terrorist attack that occurred in Norway at the hands of self-professed Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller supporter Anders Behring Breivik. Recent reports suggest that Breivik was inspired by the writings of anti-Muslim bigots like Spencer and Geller, as well as others in the anti-Muslim circle such as Bat Ye’or and Fjordman.

Spencer himself has come out and attempted to dismiss the connection between Breivik’s violence and his own anti-Muslim bigotry, saying “no one has explained or can explain how this guy’s supposed anti-jihad views have anything to do with his murdering children.” A fair question in light of the tragic violence that Breivik was responsible for.  Did the anti-Muslim hatred inspire the violence in Oslo?

Spencer lays out his version of the logic this way, saying:

1. Freedom fighters preach free speech, freedom of conscience and equality of rights for all people, against Sharia and Islamic supremacism that denies those rights, advocating only legal means of protest and dissent.

2. Some nutcase who allegedly expressed allegiance with the freedom fighters kills people, none of whom are preaching Sharia or Islamic supremacism.

3. Media assumes that #1 caused #2 and blames freedom fighters.

The obvious problem with Spencer’s logic is that it does not include his and other anti-Muslim loons’ consistent denunciations of “leftists” as jihad-enablers. This is a key tenant of the so-called anti-jihadist movement. They hate the left, or more specifically, anyone who treats Muslims with a smidgen of fairness and tolerance. Spencer and Geller consistently and constantly portray the left as those who would sell out the West to the scary Mooslems. Spencer’s hate site Jihad Watch is filled with posts denouncing the “Leftist/Jihadist alliance,” warning his readers of how the left will happily allow the Mooslem hordes to overthrow the West and “dhimmify” its population.

Breivik adopted this view of the left.  Paul Woodward notes that Breivik argued “that cultural conservatives should not identify their main opponents as Jihadists, but instead should focus their attention on those he regards as the ‘facilitators’ of Jihadists, namely, the proponents of multiculturalism.” It was these liberals and “multi-culturalists” that were the target of his rampage.

Therefore, a more logical set-up would be as follows:

1. Anti-Muslim bigots vilify Muslims as a threat to Western culture and civilization, and argue that the left is most responsible for allowing Muslims to undermine Western civilization.  In fact, the left is more the enemy than the anti-jihadists themselves!

2. A right-wing self-proclaimed anti-jihadist chooses the capital of a famously liberal, leftist, and socialist country as the target for his attack.

3. Media is perfectly justified in establishing a link between #1 and #2.

When you preach bigotry and fear on a daily basis, don’t be surprised when one of your followers takes the next logical step.  But Robert Spencer has a reason to feign surprise and indignation over what his hatred has incited, as the link between his hate-writing and this act of terrorism becomes clear:  Richard Silverstein notes that the right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik cited Robert Spencer 46 times in his manifesto.  He was clearly quite the fan.  This certainly seems to be right-wing anti-Muslim terrorism inspired by the king of Islamophobia himself, Robert Spencer.

Robert Spencer and Co. Linked to Oslo Bomber Anders Behring Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik
Oslo Bombing Suspect Anders Behring Breivik

We’ve been screaming from the top of our lungs about how these crazed radical anti-Muslim Islamophobes are inciting violence through their hate-mongering. Anders Behring Breivak, arrested as a suspect in the attack has written glowingly of Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, SIOE, and the EDL. Charles Johnson of LGF reports that he had a link with Fjordman who was a guest writer on Geller’s blog.

What Just Happened in Oslo, Norway? (UPDATES)

This explainer is being updated as more news emerges. Click here for photos from the sceneand here for details about the man arrested in connection with the attacks. For the latest news updates, click here.

The basics: A massive explosion hit Norway’s government hub in central Oslo on Friday, killing at least seven people and injuring at least 15 others. The six-story building that was most heavily damaged included the oil ministry and is next to the building that houses the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The PM was unharmed in the blast and is now operating out of an undisclosed location. Witness testimony and damage at the scene are consistent with reports of a car bombing. The New York Times reports:

Stunned office staff and civil servants working in the vicinity of the bombed building said two explosions could be heard in close succession. The sound of the blasts echoed across the city just before 3:30 p.m. local time. Giant clouds of light-colored smoke continued to rise hundreds of feet into the air over the city…

Photos and television footage showed windows blown out in the 17-story office building across the street from the oil ministry, and the street and plaza areas on each side were strewn with glass and debris.

The first person on the scene “described it as ‘worse than a war zone,'” says Joe Sivilli, who’s talking to Mother Jones’ Tim McDonnell from on the ground in Oslo. Sivilli, who speaks Norwegian fluently, works at a home-brewed beer shop about 2 kilometers away from the site of the bombing. He says he felt a “rumble, like a small earthquake,” when the bomb went off, but assumed it was just “construction or something like that.” He’ll be monitoring the Norwegian-language media for us as this story develops.

Wasn’t there another attack? A gunman dressed as a policeman reportedly opened fire this afternoon at a Labour party youth camp on the island of Utoya, about 15 miles outside of Oslo, killing at least 80 people(police officials previously reported at least 10 casualties, but had expect that number to rise). Police have a suspect in custody. Prime Minister Stoltenberg was due to visit the camp tomorrow morning, according to NRK, Norway’s national public television broadcaster. (Stoltenberg has attended gatherings at the camp almost every year in recent memory.) On Friday evening, police found undetonated explosives on the island.

Close to 700 teenagers had gathered on Utoya, and initial reports suggested that some tried to flee by swimming. CBS News reports that Kurt Lier, Oslo’s assistant chief of police, “had little information about what had happened on the island, but said if people are leaving island swimming, it is a ‘long swim.'” Hans-Inge Langø, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), says the “timing and targets [of the attacks are] too similar for this not to be connected.” The AP reports that Norwegian police say the two events were definitely connected.

The Pamela Connection:

UPDATE 1, Saturday, July 23, 12:16 a.m. EDT: Blogger Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs is reporting that the Oslo bombing/shooting suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, posted often on a Norwegian anti-immigration site and recommended a post by the prominent anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller, who spearheaded the US drive against the planned “Ground Zero mosque.” (We’ve previously covered her activities herehereherehere, and here.) LGF also asserts a link between Breivik and one of Geller’s guest bloggers, Fjordman.

Geller responded on her own website: “This is just a sinister attempt to tar all anti-jihadists with responsibility for this man’s heinous actions…this is war. And the left is vicious, amoral and depraved. They mean to win, and that is the only way they know how.”

UPDATE 2, Saturday, July 23, 11:06 a.m. EDT: Oddmy Estenstad, an employee of agricultural retailer Felleskjøpet, tells CNN that Utoya shooting suspect Anders Behring Breivik bought six tons of fertilizer from the company in May:

She did not think the order was strange at the time because the suspect has a farm, but after Friday’s explosion in Norway’s capital, Oslo, she called police because she knew the material can be used to make bombs.

“We are very shocked that this man was connected to our company,” said Estenstad. “We are very sad about what happened.”

UPDATE 3, Saturday, July 23, 11:09 a.m. EDT: According to the UK’s Daily Mirror, Anders Behring Breivik has been “preliminarily charged with acts of terrorism.” Norwegian police say the 32-year-old Breivik appears to be an extreme right-wing, Christian fundamentalist, due to postings on his website. NRK reports that the suspect is a member of an Oslo gun club, and “was exempted from military service, and thus…has no special education [from the Norwegian] Armed Forces.”

UPDATE 4, Saturday, July 23, 11:19 a.m. EDT: Norwegian media report on eyewitness accounts of the Utoya massacre. The Los Angeles Times also has the story:

Media reports say the gunman apparently used a handgun and a machine gun, and that police arrived at the island possibly 90 minutes after the shooting started. At midmorning Saturday, police were still searching the island for more bodies.  One wounded survivor, Adrian Pracon, described the gunman as “calm and controlled,” shooting people who tried to escape the island by swimming to the mainland…Pracon described his attempt to escape. “We started running down to the water and people had already undressed and started swimming.”

Pracon said he began swimming, but “after 150 meters … I realized I wouldn’t make it so I went back and saw him standing 10 meters from me shooting at the people who tried to swim over.”

Spencer’s Friend Joel Richardson on Glenn Beck Pushing Myths about Islam

Glenn Beck is promoting the idea that Muslims are trying to hasten the End Times. On his show he had Joel Richardson whose book, “Anti-Christ: Islam’s Awaited Messiah,” he enthusiastically endorsed saying,

“A fascinating and provocative work. Joel has definitely expanded the frontiers in the ongoing exploration of the relationship between Islam and the rest of the world. A must read for priests and pastors, students and lay readers everywhere. Bravo!”

In Spencer’s debate with his mentor Peter Kreeft he directly mentioned his belief that Islam encourages the murder of Jews as a laudable action that will hasten the End Times:

There is a hadith, it isn’t in the Qur’an that says the Muslim must kill the Jews, and the Jews hide behind trees and the trees cry out and say, O’ Muslim there is a Jew behind me come and kill him, that is an authenticated hadith, and so it is considered to be a laudable practice for a Muslim to kill a Jew because it is something that hastens the coming of the end times in which all things will be consummated, but its not specifically in the Quran like that.

In this post at Loonwatch we counter these absurdities that Spencer and his colleagues propagate:

Glenn Beck recently has been harping on and on about the impending doom of Armageddon, and he has figured out who the Anti-Christ is, an “Islamic figure” known as the “12th Imam” or “Mahdi.” To help promote his pseudo-religio-apocalyptic propaganda he had Joel Richardson(fundamentalist Christian) and Zuhdi Jasser, token Muslim beloved by Neo-Cons and wacko Islamophobes.

Beck claims he has been studying this “issue” for nearly five or six years, which is hard to believe when he can’t distinguish between Shi’as and Sunnis:

This hysteria is quite revealing. The Christian right-wing has always scapegoated or somehow cast America’s perceived “enemies” at one time or another as the Anti-Christ. During the Cold War the Soviet Union and its Premieres were the Anti-Christ, during the Gulf War it was Saddam Hussein, at various points throughout history it has been the Pope, and Jerry Falwell thought it obvious that the Anti-Christ was a “male Jew.”

It would almost be an exercise in futility (since they are so obvious) to rebut the horrendous, blatant factual inaccuracies regarding Islamic Eschatology here, but a brief response is necessary.

In the first instance it must be noted that Islamic Eschatology is a debated topic with various theological opinions amongst scholars, and both Sunni Islam and Shia’ Islam have different views of the events and also place different levels of importance on these End Times characters/scenarios. For Shia’ Twelver Islam the Mahdi is a central figure of their Faith whereas amongst Sunnis he is not central to the Faith.

Before we approach this subject it must be made abundantly clear that Muslims believe that no one, not the Prophets, Saints nor the Angels know when the Last Day/End Times will begin. This knowledge belongs only to God because he is the one who has decided it:

“They ask you about the Hour (Day of Resurrection): ‘When will be its appointed time?’ Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (Alone). None can reveal its time but He. Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden.’ They ask you as if you have a good knowledge of it. Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with God (Alone), but most of mankind know not.’”

[al-‘Araf 7:187]

2 – God says:

“People ask you concerning the Hour, say: ‘The knowledge of it is with God only. What do you know? It may be that the Hour is near!’”

[al-Ahzaab 33:63]

Ibn Katheer (3/527) said:

God tells His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that he has no knowledge of the Hour and that when the people ask him about that, he should refer the matter to God.

Al-Shanqeeti said (6/604):

It is known that the word innama (translated here as “only”) has the effect of limiting or restricting the meaning, so what the verse means is: No one knows when the Hour will come except God alone.

3 – God says:

“They ask you (O Muhammad) about the Hour — when will be its appointed time?

You have no knowledge to say anything about it.

To your Lord belongs (the knowledge of) the term thereof

You (O Muhammad) are only a warner for those who fear it”

[al-Naaz’iaat 79:42-45]

al-Sa’di said:

Because knowing the time of the Hour serves no spiritual or worldly purpose for people, rather their interests lie in it being concealed from them, the knowledge of that has been kept from all of creation and God has kept it to Himself. “To your Lord belongs (the knowledge of) the term thereof.” (via. IslamQA)

It also must be made abundantly clear that according to Islamic doctrine no one, I repeat no one has the ability to hasten the Last Day/End Times. The logic goes: How can one hasten something God has already decided? Nothing any Muslim or non-Muslim does or doesn’t do has one iota of an effect on hastening or bringing closer the End Times. This is completely and utterly in the power of God. To believe otherwise is considered disbelief and counter to Orthodox Islamic teaching amongst all Sunni groups and schools of thought, and I would venture to say most Shia’ groups and schools of thought as well (Shia’ readers feel free to add comments).

Furthermore, Islamic ‘Aqeeda, belief that Allah knows everything and all things happen through His power and Will is so profound and deeply ingrained that the idea of hastening the Last Days never occurred as a theological possibility, it was unimaginable! There is not much said about it over 1400 years of Islamic history precisely because it was inconceivable and absurd from an Islamic viewpoint.

In fact, throughout history individuals who have claimed to have been mahdis or messiahs have generally not had a very happy end: they have either been persuaded to repent, forced to repent, jailed, killed or castigated as false pretenders. (hat tip: Ahmed)

The cult of Juhayman al-Otaibi is a case in point. He is the famous mastermind behind the siege of the Grand Mosque of Mecca in 1979. He was forwarding the concept that his brother-in-law was the awaited Mahdi. To do so — amongst other things — he attempted to fulfill some of the “signs of the Last Hour” mentioned in Hadith. Juhayman and 67 of his followers were (after being captured) summarily executed.

What we are really seeing from Glenn Beck and the Christian Right crowd that he is pandering to with these insane antics is a classic case of PROJECTION. It is in fact many in the Christian Right who believe that the End Times, the Last Days can be hastened. They actually believe they have a role in bringing Jesus Christ back to Earth!

One of the violent consequences of this disastrous theology is that they believe the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque must be destroyed and the Third Jewish Temple be built for Jesus to return to earth. Imagine the repercussions if they are successful in this mad dash to instigate cataclysm?

The one piece of evidence that Islamophobes, Beck and his ilk use to try to instill fear in the populace is their de-contextualized recital of a hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad) and its variations that says, ‘the Last Day will not arrive until the Jews fight the Muslims and the Muslims defeat them.’

Beck and company want to pass off and interpret these ahadith as somehow calling for a hastening of the End Times. Not only is this interpretation antithetical to Islamic creed, not only is it an interpretation NEVER forwarded in the 1400 years of Islamic history by any of the hadith commentators (I have Fath al-Bari by Imam Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Sharh Sahih Muslimby Imam Nawawi, and other commentaries open in front of me right now), but it exposes a profound and disgustingly immense historical amnesia.

Why wouldn’t Muslims over the course of 1400 years, at a time when Christian Europe was murdering and enslaving Jews under the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude have exterminated Jews if Beck and his cohorts are right? Why were Jews thriving in the Muslim world? Why were they being appointed as Viziers, Advisors, Diplomats, Physicians to the Caliphs, Sultans and Amirs? Why was the Golden Age of Jewish thought and culture, the revivification of Hebrew (a previously near dead language) in lands ruled by Muslims? (I am currently writing a book review for LW on The Oranament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal).

No doubt these ahadith have been used in a bellicose and bigoted manner over the past 80 or so odd years due to the political situation in the Middle East, i.e. the conflict between the creation of Israel and occupation and repression of Palestinians. But can the anti-Muslims who forward the claim that Muslims are using these ahadith to hasten the End Times bring one shred of evidence in which these ahadith have been used to instigate or incite pogroms or to usher in the Last Days over the last 1400 years? Maybe Bernard Lewis can help in this regard?

What Beck and co. are saying would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that it was so dangerous. Some nut or group of nuts is going to see his show and start arming himself against the evil Mooslims and think to himself that he has to get the Mooslims before they get him.

Newsweek: “Stealth Jihad” is Paranoid Speak

Robert Spencer popularized the term “Stealth Jihad,” and some in the Conservative wing such as Newt Gingrich have ran with it and are using it all the time. As has been exposed on Loonwatch and other sites, “Stealth Jihad” is paranoid speak and just another anti-Muslim conspiracy theory.

Lisa Miller takes on this term in her recent article which no doubt will have Spencer, whose site is described as “a hyperventilating anti-terror blog,” in fits.

The Misinformants

By Lisa Miller

Here is the latest semantic assault from the party that brought you “Islamo-facism” (circa 2005) and “Axis of Evil” (2002). The term “stealth jihad” is suddenly voguish among politically ambitious right wingers who see President Obama’s approach to terrorism as insufficient. If it sounds like a phrase from a military-fantasy summer blockbuster, that’s on purpose: in its cartoonish bad-guy foreignness, “stealth jihad” attempts to make the terrorist threat broader and thus more nefarious than it already is. The only thing scarier than an invisible, homicidal, suicidal enemy with a taste for world domination is one who’s sneaking up on you. In the words of former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at a July speech at the American Enterprise Institute, “stealth jihad” is an effort “to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia.”

The term wasn’t Gingrich’s invention. It’s the title of a two-year-old book by Robert Spencer, whose hyperventilating antiterror blog, Jihad Watch, is cited and circulated widely on the far right. But the recent vicious debate over the proposed community center and mosque near Ground Zero gives Gingrich an excuse to use “stealth jihad” and its variants frequently—not just at the AEI but in an interview with this magazine. (In an essay on the conservative Web site Human Events, he referred instead to “creeping sharia.”) Gingrich’s like-minded peers have seized on the language, too. “Muslim Brotherhood operatives, like [Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the center’s founder and leader] are extremely skilled at obscuring … their true agenda,” said Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, on FOX’s Glenn Beck show. “It’s part of the stealth jihad.”
‘A Little Intolerant, But Good Reason To Be’ Protesters for and against the building of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero talk about their reasons for supporting or opposing the project.

Words matter, and if you say them often enough and with enough authority, they start to sound true—even if they’re not. Abdul Rauf, for instance, has no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and is an “operative” (another nefarious word) only in the sense that running a small, progressive interfaith nonprofit is an “operation.” As for his “stealth jihad,” it’s virtually impossible to imagine how such an event would—logistically—occur. Would the construction of an Islamic prayer site near Ground Zero inevitably lead American women to wake up one morning and find themselves veiled and confined to their homes? “The term is ever-so-slightly goofy,” says Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. The paranoia conveyed by “stealth jihad” brings to mind the anticommunist campaigns of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, Nunberg adds. Just as McCarthyites imagined a communist behind every lamppost, the word “stealth” conflates all Muslims with terrorists. In a stealth campaign you never know who your friends are.

Also, simply put, foreign words freak people out. “Jihad” and “Sharia” reinforce the sense among Americans that Muslims in general have an unfathomable world view. During World War II, formerly obscure words like “hara-kiri” and “kamikaze,” which suggested the “warlike ferocity” of the Japanese, became common parlance, Nunberg says. “There was this sense of being confronted with this hostile, alien culture.” The Japanese were “literally demonized,” he says.

Gingrich has already used the mosque debate to evoke many of America’s historic enemies, comparing Muslims indirectly with Nazis and communists and even the Japanese. “We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor,” he said on FOX recently.

But that is not true. Fourteen percent of Hawaiians call themselves ethnically Japanese, according to the U.S. Census, and dozens of Japanese temples stand near Pearl Harbor—as they have for decades. One of them, the Buddhist Aiea Hongwanji Mission, is less than half a mile away. “You can see Pearl Harbor from the roof, maybe. We’re really close,” says Wade Yamamoto, the temple’s treasurer. The temple allows people “to practice their religion from back home,” he says. Gingrich, a historian, might take a lesson here. After the attacks of Dec. 7, 1941, more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent—two thirds of them American citizens—were interned in camps in a shameful episode that later legislation called the result of “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” Last week, a New York City cab driver was stabbed for answering the question “Are you a Muslim?” in the affirmative. Our enemies are dangerous. Let’s be clear about who they are.

With Johannah Cornblatt