- Published on Friday, 27 July 2012 02:17
- Written by Makwaia wa Kuhenga
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ONE year ago, a Norwegian young man identified by the name of Anders Behring Breivik did the inconceivable in a country as sanguine and peaceful as Norway.
For reasons known only to himself, the then 32-year old man detonated a bomb near an Oslo government building, killing eight people. He later set out to a youth camp on Norway's Utoeya Island aiming his gun at the unsuspecting youths, killing 69 people, mostly teenagers.
In one day, he had ended lives of 77 people. Apprehended and taken to court, Breivik was cool and unrepentant. He had even a philosophy, which inspired his act. He said in the course of his trial that he was vehemently against the 'multiculturalism' stance of the Norwegian state.
He readily admitted responsibility for the massacre, saying he was justified because his victims had facilitated the 'Islamization of Norway'. Those who have followed the trial of Breivik in the intervening period must have found it incredibly interesting for a young man who seemed determined to justify his murderous act graduating into a massacre of dozens of people - even rejecting a possible escape route for him via seizure of insanity plea.
Calculating and cool in his accused dock, Breivik argued the case why multiculturalism was not good for his country. Breivik's trial ended in June and the court is expected to issue a verdict later this month. Clearly, the Breivik case has shaken Norway and all Norwegians, not excluding the rest in the international community.
Last Sunday, Norway formaly commemorated the first anniversary of the Breivik massacre with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg reaffirming his country's democratic and tolerant values.
For the rest in the international community Breivik's massacre in his country has brought to the fore whether it was correct to stereotype all actions of terror to a certain cultural or religious grouping, as has been the case in the intervening period of the rise of the phenomenon of terrorism.
Unfortunately, some religious faiths have been stereotyped to terrorism - such as Islam. So the headlines have invariably coloured terrorist actions as necessarily belonging to Islamic groups. It may be true that some individuals who have committed acts of terrorism may have belonged to the Islamic faith, but that does not mean that Islam as a religion condones acts of terrorism.
Likewise, assuming Anders Breivik is a Christian, is it right to purport or connote Christianity anywhere near terrorism? At the turn of the 21st century, for instance, we have all stood witness to what has happened in Bosnia. From time to time, on the respective anniversary of the killings of thousands of Muslim men and women in Bosnia, we see incredible footages of how lives were sniffed out.
We see the Muslim victims in Bosnia, with their hands tied behind their back, being shot from the rear by their captors, described as Christian Serbs or something. Adolf Hitler, the world's best-known fascist did what he did. The phenomenon of terrorism was not yet born then - it was fascism as described then.
So, on balance, when we take a glance at history and recent events including the Breivik case one may come to the conclusion that terrorism is an attitude of mind of an individual and has nothing to do with any religious faith whether Muslim or Christian or atheist.
Invariably, all the major religions of the world urge for the respect and sanctity of life, one religion among which is Islam. But any society anywhere, has the likes of Anders Breivik and Osamas who go to the extreme to make their points.