Breivik and the "Anti-Jihadist" Blogs

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 25 2011 10:16 AM

Breivik and the "Anti-Jihadist" Blogs

Two years ago, I noticed that the "anti-Jihadist" blogosphere was going through a serious schism. It involved only one blogger: Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. He'd started blogging about Islam and terrorism after 9/11. He inspired other "anti-Jihadists" to join the blogosphere, people like Pamela Geller, and he broadened the audience for blogs like Gates of Vienna and Jihad Watch. But he grew increasingly worried about the outreach that European nationalist groups were doing to Geller et al. He turned on the movement. As he told me then:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

I don’t think there is an anti-jihadist movement anymore. It’s all a bunch of kooks. I’ve watched some people who I thought were reputable, and who I trusted, hook up with racists and Nazis. I see a lot of them promoting stories and causes that I think are completely nuts.
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Today, that blogosphere, and Johnson, are grappling with the murders allegedly committed by Anders Behring Breivik. Johnson doesn't mince words: He says that Geller, the mysterious Fjordman, et al, have "blood on their hands."

"If you follow this stuff to its sickening logical conclusion," he writes, describing their writings, "the very fate of civilization itself is at risk. It’s an apocalyptic view, a vision of a war for existence against the encroaching dark-skinned hordes."

I've been reading through Breivik's manifesto, which is disorganized but not "rambling." It's unoriginal. Much of the manifesto is cut-and-pastes of blog posts and columns that validated his worldview. An essay by the African-American writer John McWhorter appears in the text, because Breivik wants to make about cultural decline through rap lyrics. Breivik comes off as more clear-headed than Jared Loughner (who isn't?), but like Loughner, he had a worldview, and he wanted evidence and arguments that proved it right, and he found them.

That said, the response from the bloggers he cited most has been, is defensive with hints of jujitsu. A joint statement from Stop Islamicization of America/SOI of Europe says that Breivik was excluded because of "Nazi ties;" a later statement from Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer says that he doesn't advocate violence, but terrorists can find plenty in the Koran to advocate violence, so there you go. Geller, who actually gained political clout in 2010 as an activist against the Cordoba House in New York, has written a glib response that veers -- accidentally, I'm guessing -- into cultural Marxism. "Anders Behring Breivik is responsible for his actions," she writes. "If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists. If anything incited him to violence, it was the Euro-Med policy."

 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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