The murder of around 100 people in a car bombing and shooting in Oslo last Friday has sent shockwaves and has provoked questions of how it could have happened, because it was committed by a native Norwegian, who should not have committed such a heinous crime, but one question has been asked, and was answered in the initial coverage of the incident: What if a Muslim, perhaps an immigrant of Muslim ethnicity, had committed the crime of which Anders Behring Breivik is accused, and to which he proudly confesses? The initial understanding is that the crime should not have been committed in liberal, social democratic, Scandinavia, at least not by a (presumably) liberal, social democratic Scandinavian, but was presumably commitable by a (Muslim) terrorist. Therefore, initially the coverage stated that the horrendous crime had been committed by a Muslim. It had not, thereby adding another question to be answered: How had Islam become so closely associated with terrorism? But the real question is: How could Scandinavia produce such an event? Though very wide in extent, and in a different country, the crime was something that resembled something that might happen in the USA. The indiscriminate killing that happened in Oslo also resembled the attack by the Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh, while what followed resembled nothing so much as what occasionally happens in US schools and workplaces. It might also be something that happened in the UK, where there has been at least one mass attack in recent times. With Norway, a pattern is emerging among Germanic countries, though it seems that Germany itself is not involved. Scandinavia was once the home of the Vikings, but it seems to have emerged as the cutting edge of liberalism and the welfare state in the 19th century. The three Scandinavian countries experienced German occupation in World War II, and had no colonies of any note, unlike the UK, or even the Netherlands, which had ruled Indonesia. Nevertheless, by virtue of their membership in the same EU which Breivik decries, the Scandinavian countries attracted immigrants from the ex-colonies of other members. This created a racial clash such as the Scandinavians had never witnessed. No one had come to the cold of Scandinavia, and it was Scandinavia which sent out migrants in the form of Vikings and then Norsemen. The Scandinavians were occupied by Germany, and produced Vidkun Quisling, a local Nazi, still a symbol of how one could betray ones country. Hitlers Nazism preached a particularly virulent form of Aryan supremacism, a racism that has still not gone out of Europe, and which was the racism underlying the colonial project. It was this racism which was so severely decried by liberal opinion, at the same time as it so strongly supported the nationalism spawned by that racialism. To cover those arguments of racism, the argument of a superior culture under threat by immigrants was invented, post-Nazism. And whereas Nazism had been defiantly pagan, with even the Nazi one-armed salute supposed to have origins in Aryan warriors keeping sword arms out of the water while submitting to a full-submersion Christian baptism, the superior culture argument relied on the desire to keep Europe Christian. Thus, Breivik is a Christian terrorist. There have been numerous attempts in the Western media to make him the successor of Al-Qaeda. However, he is an example of the hate-filled ideas that have been floated about Al-Qaeda, and about Islam, to justify the USAs war on terror. When Breivik went on the rampage, there was some suspicion of this being some sort of a response to Norways participation in the war on terror, particularly in Afghanistan, where it initially provided the NATO commander, and where it still has a significant contingent. Though there does not seem a link, Norways participation in the war is probably a factor. The main thing that comes through is that, though Breivik did not target any Muslims, just fellow Norwagians, his obsession is with Muslims. That the movement is international gains some strength from the fact that Breivik borrowed a lot of his ideas from the UK, where there is a very wide variety of migrants, and of Muslims, and where racism has had a long history, which goes back to the days of Empire, when the multiple births analogy for ICS officers was used, a racist concept borrowed from Hinduism, whose caste system is very racist, and is an ideology which thus appeals to the West. Initially badly beaten by the Roman Empire, the Germanic peoples ultimately controlled Europe. However, they were racists, and this racism is not just present in the English, descended from the Anglo-Saxons (Angles and Saxons), who colonised the modern UK and the Normans (Norsemen from Normandy, which they had populated), but also the Americans, where the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) is still dominant. Though the USA has diversified to the extent of having a black President, there is still enough racism among the Anglo-Saxon whites of the USA to feed a feisty neo-Nazi movement. Even Israel, which has for over 60 years played the victim in the story, because of the Nazi Holocaust, is adding to its initial anti-Arab racism by its continued illegal occupation in Palestine. The Zionist ideology, which converted the Jews into a nation deserving a state, is based on nationalism, which is a natural outcome of racism. Islam is opposed to racism as well as nationalism, because it posits a community of the faithful. It makes distinctions on what a person believes, not the colour of his skin, or the language he learned to speak as a child. It is possible to transform oneself by the recitation of a simple formula, and thus it is not very easy for Muslims to understand what Breivik was all about. However, Indian Muslims, familiar with the operations of the caste system, and Hindus, would, because his thoughts resonate, even if his actions do not. There is little that can be done about the Breiviks of the world, and ascribing them to one ideology or the other is pointless. While Breiviks racist beliefs are shared by a vast number of his fellow Europeans, many of them holding responsible positions in society as well as in political parties (and not just right-wing parties), it would be wrong to tar all of them with the same brush and assume that they are all potential mass murderers. However, there are some aspects that need to be considered. Where else would the attacks take place? The Western media has touted terrorism so much, under the guise of covering Islamic terrorism, that it is now in their midst. However, Western law enforcement agencies have moved attention (which means resources) from rightwingers like Breivik to Al-Qaeda (which means Muslims), and thus the phenomenon may well recur, particularly in other Germanic countries with large migrant Muslim populations, like Germany, the UK or the Netherlands. Pakistan does not have a large population abroad under threat in Germany or the Netherlands, but there is a large part of the Pakistani Diaspora under threat in the UK. It was bad enough facing racist attacks, but to have to face hate crimes as retaliation for something that whites might do, is something that might prompt a return home. That is something the government here might prepare for. n The writer is a veteran journalist and founding member as well as Executive Editor of The Nation. Email: maniazi@nation.com.pk