By Imam Ibrahim Malabari
(August 16, 2011) – Anders Breivik, as evident from his philosophy, is against multiculturalism more than anything else – Islam and Muslims are just a part of his anti-multiculturalism rhetoric.
In that sense, his beliefs target the very essence of Canada which promotes multiculturalism.
This should alarm all Canadians, regardless of race, culture or religion.
We should not let the philosophy of anti-multiculturalism that is spreading across Europe enter our borders.
Vigilance is needed; once the multiculturalism that we pride ourselves in is weakened, our country will turn towards a disastrous future.
During my frequent visits to the Middle East I met many Middle-Easterners who expressed their love for Canada.
While much anti-US sentiment was present, I never heard any anti-Canadian comments, whether against the people or the government.
I believe this is largely because they viewed Canada as a peace-loving, multicultural, multi-religious and open country.
As Canadians, should we not try to preserve such an image of Canada?
As for Breivik, his call for a pure white Kingdom is alarming, and maybe more so, his inclusion of Canada in that Kingdom.
As he puts it: “(the) European Federation… will likely occur in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.”
Nevertheless, his anti-multiculturalism mongering includes Canada as a target.
In a July 26th article, Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star stated:
“Breivick’s warped prognostications come replete with fastidious detail on the awards he would devote to like-minded killers. The highest commendation is saved for anyone who eliminates the leaders of the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K. Canada’s head of state is valued a notch lower, alongside Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.”
Breivik’s ideas are shared by many on both sides of the Atlantic. It should be a concern for all Canadians that such a danger exists.
According to Tzvetan Todorve, author of The Fear of Barbarians, “Just because Breivik is an individual, and probably out of his senses – and none of the extreme right-wing parties endorsed the act – doesn’t mean the danger doesn’t exist.”
Breivik’s ideas are clear, as can be readily gleaned from his statements and writings:
– “As we all know, the root of Europe’s problem is the lack of cultural self-confidence (nationalism). Most people are still terrified of nationalistic political doctrines thinking that if we ever embrace these principles again , new ‘Hitlers’ will suddenly pop up and initiate global Armageddon …This irrational fear of nationalistic doctrines is preventing us stopping our own national/cultural suicide as Islamic colonialism is increasing annually.”
– “I don’t hate Muslims at all. I acknowledge that there are magnificent Muslim individuals in Europe. In fact I have had several Muslim friends over the years, some of which I still respect. This does not mean, however, that I will accept an Islamic presence in Europe. Muslim individuals who do not assimilate 100 percent within 2020 will be deported as soon as we manage to seize power.”
– “Around the year 2000 I realised that the democratic struggle against the Islamisation of Europe, European multiculturalism was lost … It would now only take 50-70 years before we, the Europeans are in a minority. As soon as I realised this I decided to explore alternative forms of opposition.”
And that alternative is what the world saw in the Norway massacre.
Andrew Breivik claims he spent 300,000 Euros (about $410,000 Canadian) for compiling his 1,518 page manifesto.
His dreams may be far from realistic; however, he gives us, Canadians, some food for reflection and action.
Should we stick to our multiculturalism, liberalism, and pluralism – or compromise?
The Norwegian Prime Minister Stolenberg provides us, and each and every European country for that matter, an exemplary model when he boldly and courageously stated that he will not compromise:
– “(we) will never give up our values. More democracy, more openness and more humanity.”
– “I think openness is the best medicine for many.”
– “We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken.”
– “We will not allow our fear to break us.”
– “Evil can kill individuals, but it can never defeat a whole people.”
– “I am infinitely grateful to be living in a country where, at a critical time, people take to the streets with flowers and candles to protect democracy… There will never be another 22nd of July.”
Stolenberg’s philosophy and policy is exactly the opposite of George Bush’s former policy, the ‘war on terror’ which was based on fear-mongering and exclusiveness.
Michael Nagler of the Metta centre for Nonviolence at Berkley,Califorinia stated: “They have taken the opposite tack from the U.S. We have mythologized (9/11), and believed it could only be responded to by violence. The end result was we reduced our own democratic freedoms… The Norwegians are saying ‘we will not let these people determine who we are. We will stubbornly resist and have a more open society.’”
Canada has a distinctive character related to its very essence, that it is an open, pluralistic and multicultural society.
Breivik’s murderous rampage has clearly disproved the common stereotype that while all Muslims are not terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims.
Can the world find a more barbaric single terrorist than Breivik?
Whatever he may be and whatever one may call him, he is certainly not a Muslim.
Looking forward, Canadian Muslims have a heavy burden to carry: they must learn how to live in a pluralistic and multicultural society.
Because a majority of them migrated from countries where oppressive, authoritative, anti-multicultural systems of rule were predominant for a long period, they must learn to respect the culture and customs of fellow Canadians that they may not be used to.
They should know that their religion, Islam, and their holy book, the Qur’an, promote pluralism and multiculturalism.
They must also realize that they cannot find a single country that provides freedom and security as Canada does.
The best lesson we can take from the Norway massacre is that, like Norway, we should stick to our cherished ideals.
Imam Ibrahim Malabari is President of the Messenger of Mercy FoundationToronto