Norway’s Terrorism in Context
The damage Behring Breivik did to the counterjihad may well have been purposeful.


Daniel Pipes

Although he attacked socialists, not Muslims, Behring Breivik clearly fits this chafing. More broadly, he fits into a pattern of growing Christian-Muslim violence visible from Nigeria to Iraq to the Philippines.

Not surprisingly, Behring Breivik belongs to the “Islam is evil” school of thought, as he frequently signaled in his manifesto:

. . . a tolerant Islam is a contradiction, and the “creation” of a tolerant past for Islam to appease the position of liberal Muslims is a lie. 


. . . to take the violence out of Islam would require it to jettison two things: the Quran as the word of Allah and Muhammad as Allah’s prophet. In other words, to pacify Islam would require its transformation into something that it is not.

Islam today is what it has been fourteen centuries: violent, intolerant, and expansionary. It is folly to think that we, in the course of a few years or decades, are going to be able to change the basic world outlook of a foreign civilisation. Islam’s violent nature must be accepted as given.

Many moderate cultural conservatives have suggested that banning Sharia will solve all our problems and force the Muslims to integrate. Unfortunately, Islam is a lot more resilient than most people can comprehend. . . . Taking Sharia (and all political aspects) out of Islam is simply not possible.

This position differs fundamentally from my own, which holds that “radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution.” While sharing common opponents, these two outlooks differ on the nature of Islam, its potential for change, and the possibility of allying with Muslims.

Beyond massacring innocent Norwegians, Behring Breivik damaged conservatism, the counterjihad, and (in particular) those authors he cited in his writings, including myself. A close reading of his manifesto suggests this may have been purposeful. Noting that his former membership in Norway’s conservative Progress Party would do it harm, he evinces satisfaction that this will forward his revolutionary goals:

I anticipate that the Norwegian media will persecute and undermine the Progress Party for my earlier involvement in the organisation. This is not a negative thing as an increasing amount of Norwegians will then have their “illusions of democratic change” crushed (if the Progress Party is annihilated by the multiculturalist media) and rather resorts to armed resistance.

In a similar spirit, he writes: “America as a polity is scr*wed, and thank the gods for that.”

By extension, Behring Breivik may well have wanted to harm those analysts of Islam cited in the manifesto. He calls me a “moderate,” which obviously is not meant as a compliment, and dismisses even the hardest-line critics of Islam as lacking in courage:

The reason why authors on the Eurabia related issues/Islamisation of Europe — Fjordman, Spencer, [Bat] Ye’or, Bostom etc. aren’t actively discussing deportation is because the method is considered too extreme (and thus would damage their reputational shields). . . .  If these authors are to [sic] scared to propagate a conservative revolution and armed resistance then other authors will have to.

Behring Breivik hopes to undermine anyone he perceives as obstructing his dreamed-for revolution. Temporarily, at least, he has succeeded.

— Daniel Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2011 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


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