22/7 is shaking official Norway to its foundations. Now a jihad-video has demonstrated that radical islamists constitute a danger.
On the very same day that the chief of security police, PST, Janne Kristiansen presented the yearly threat report, the video was uploaded on youtube. It refers specifically to the crown prince, the prime minister and the foreign minister with the hope that Allah may destroy them, painfully. It is, in the light of 22/7, a frightening spectacle.
Police announced they would start investigating. Terror experts said the video in all probability is made in Norway.
The video is conforming with PST-chief Kristiansen’s statement that radical islam constitutes the greatest danger to Norway’s security. There is a growing body of extreme islamists that not only congregate, physically as well as virtually, but who go abroad, attend training camps, and join “the fight”. Some return. They thus have an operational competence and capacity that worry authorities.
No similar number or competence exist on the far right. There it is mostly a question of some very angry individuals that give vent to their antipathy, be it against muslims or jews.
This analysis is at odds with what the media have been telling the public since 22/7: that PST had overlooked the threat from the extreme right.
The jihad-video buttressed Kristiansen’s analysis. Still a leading newspaper, Aftenposten, critiziced her in a lead article. The lead article found it incomprehensible that PST could go so easy on the threat from the extreme right.
But Kristiansen did not speak of a milieu on the right, she spoke of individuals. On the islamic fringe however there is a growing milieu.
The media are more reluctant to deal with this milieu.
Both the media and authorities give the extremists the benefit of the doubt: even this jihad-video is within the confines of free speech, probably.
If a video had been posted by the extreme right with similar threats, the reaction would have beeen swift and resolute.
One simply does not have the same reflexes when it comes to jihad.
The leader of Norway’s Islamic Council, an umbrella organization, Mehtab Afsar (38), protested on national television last night that media and authorities employ the word “islamists”. This stigmatizes a whole group of people he said. The newsanchor looked dumbfounded. They expected the spokesman for the muslims to condemn the video in the strongest terms, which he at first did, only to condemn the people who referred to the extremists as islamists.
Thus Norway is caught between a rock and a hard place: 22/7 and jihad. It is tempting to argue that they both represent extremes who feed on each other.
They could if the media doesn’t fulfill its job.
At present it is a gross simplification. The islamists confirm to a pattern one finds all over the Western world: muslim youth who turn to radical islam as an identity.
One might speak of a radicalization also among native Europeans, but it is of a different kind. It is varied, and cuts across mot political divisions. It is above all in opposition to media that seek to portray critics of the multicultral society as extremists. Thus the media and policians become part of the problem. They feed the anger and frustration.
Thus Norway, like many other countries, are grappling with problems that it until a short while ago, preferred not to know anything about. So far the situation is manageable. But if official Norway prefers to look the other way, and blame scapegoats, things could escalate.