Opinion Brief

Did anti-Muslim U.S. bloggers inspire the Oslo massacre?

A Norwegian who allegedly murdered nearly 100 people cited several American writers in his lengthy anti-Muslim, anti-immigration manifesto

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian accused of killing at least 93 people in a shooting-and-bombing rampage on Friday, appears to have been heavily influenced by a U.S.-based group of vocally anti-Islam bloggers. In the manifesto he posted online — in which he accuses Norwegian politicians of enabling an Islamic invasion — Breivik cites Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch 64 times, and frequently quotes Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugs blog. Does Breivik's embrace of these bloggers' ideas implicate them in his massacre?

Yes. They had an "undeniable influence" on Breivik: Right-wing "'counter-jihad' keyboard warriors" like Geller and Spencer claim to be "shocked and outraged" that people are blaming them for this atrocity, says Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs. But really, "there's no doubt whatsoever that Anders Behring Breivik was seriously influenced" by the "vicious bile and hatred they spew" at Muslims. And judging by their guilt-riddled, sometimes-incoherent pushback, they know it, too.
"NYT: U.S. 'counter-jihad' bloggers heavily influenced Oslo terrorist"

No. These bloggers are being smeared: Spencer and his courageous allies have never supported terrorist acts, and bear no responsibility for the rampage of a lunatic like Breivik, says David Horowitz at FrontPage. But these accusations of complicity are more than just "character assassination": They're the "latest and most repulsive salvo" in liberals' "war against all those who speak out against Islamic terror and Islamic imperialism." That truth won't be silenced.
"The character assassination of Robert Spencer"

Regardless, this episode should teach anti-Muslim bloggers a lesson: "American anti-Islam bloggers aren't to blame for the Norway Massacre," because individuals are responsible for their own terrorist acts, says Adam Serwer in The Washington Post. But by the same token, Geller and Spencer should stop blaming "all Muslims for acts of terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists." If they don't, they hardly deserve "the kind of tolerance and understanding they cheerfully refuse to grant to American Muslims."
"Right-wing bloggers suddenly demand nuance"

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