Economist ser på forholdet mellom Anders Behring Breivik og forfatterne han hevdet inspirerte ham, leverer et forsvar for retten til å kritisere, men går likevel god for islamofobi-begrepet.

Economist åpner med å konstatere hva alle trodde da nyheten om angrepet slo ned: islamister.

Economist benytter seg av rasistisk terminologi fordi det er i den gode saks tjeneste. Men begrepet «the white christian west» er uheldig når det ikke står i anførselstegn.

Soon after, as it emerged that the killer was a self-appointed warrior for the white Christian West, the boot was on the other foot: defenders of Muslim rights began arguing that xenophobic violence, even by the unhinged, was abetted by any language that demonised Islam and all those who practise it. Then it came to light that many of the best-known critics of Islam in Britain and the United States were cited in Anders Breivik’s rambling 1,500-page manifesto. To some this seemed like proof that Islamophobic talk, even of the most cerebral kind, could have a cost in blood.

Economist mener at en av konsekvensene av 22/7 kan bli at ordet islamofobi oppnår status som en adekvat term. Det er oppsiktsvekkende at Economist ikke ser implikasjonene av en slik konklusjon.

But for better or worse, the word Islamophobia, implying an intense, potentially violent antipathy towards the Muslim faith and its followers, is now firmly in the world’s political vocabulary. That may be one of the consequences of the Norwegian horror. Hitherto the term has often been called into question, especially if used to outlaw any strong dissent from Islam as a creed. A phobia suggests a prejudice, an irrational fear or hatred. Surely, some say, it is possible to criticise a religion, by disagreeing with its tenets or even arguing that they could have bad social consequences, without being malicious.

Economist sier at etter 9/11 var man tilbakeholden med å klandre islam og muslimer generelt, men at det har vunnet innpass og nå også i etablerte politiske sirkler. Det er en sweeping generalization som er tendensiøs hvis den ikke tar i betraktning hva som kan ha gjort kritikken mer utbredt.

Across Europe and America, the denunciation of Islam as such—as opposed to fundamentalist or radical readings of Islam—has gained respectability in the past few years, even as Muslim communities have grown in size and confidence. Lisa Bjurwald, a Swedish writer on far-right politics, points to three powerful strands of Islamophobia at work in Europe.

En av de som får gjennomgå og brukes som eksempel er ingen ringere enn Siv Jensen.

In 2009 the leader of Norway’s Progress Party, to which Mr Breivik belonged for several years, made waves by saying: “The reality is that a kind of sneak-Islamisation of this society is being allowed…we are going to have to stop this.” The Flemish-nationalist Vlaams Belang party laments in its manifesto that Muslims have made little or no attempt to adapt to “our Western lifestyle”. In Denmark the People’s Party leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, has deplored the arrival in her country of “thousands of persons who apparently civilisationally, culturally and spiritually live in the year 1005 instead of 2005.” This week an Italian MEP from the Northern League caused outrage by calling Mr Breivik’s ideas “good” and in some cases “excellent”.

Economist innhenter deretter en vurdering av John Esposito, uten å nevne at hans institutt mottar store beløp fra Saudi-Arabia.

In the argument over whether to allow a mosque near the site of the 2001 attacks, much of the language implied the “collective guilt” of all Muslims, suggests John Esposito, a professor at Georgetown University. Mr Esposito, who advocates Christian-Muslim reconciliation, gets a torrent of abuse as a “fellow-traveller” with Islam. Herman Cain, a Republican with dreams of the presidency and also a Baptist minister, recently said that it was right to oppose the building of mosques (in Tennessee, for example) because they might be part of a plot to impose sharia.

Artikkelen avslutter med en formaning om ikke å bannlyse konstruktiv kritikk, men det virker snarere som helgardering.

Tittelen sier det meste:

Can careless talk cost lives?
If denunciation of Islam is now acceptable, it is more important than ever to distinguish between robust debate and incitement to violence

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