The Spectacle Blog

Norwegian Terrorist Not a Jihadi

By on 7.22.11 | 9:58PM

The shooter caught on Utøya -- who is also said to have been seen near the bombing in Oslo and, incredibly, may have pulled off both attacks by himself -- is Anders Behring Breivik. He is not an Islamic extremist as many of us suspected; on the contrary, he seems to dislike Muslims and identify as some species of nationalist, according to Norwegian media (e.g. this article, roughly translated by Google). On what appears to be his Facebook page, he calls himself a conservative but cites philosophy books that range from classical liberalism to Progressive Era pragmatism, suggesting an ideology that may be somewhat hard to pin down -- often the case with lunatics. I'm sure we'll learn more.

Was it wrong of us -- and by "us" I mean a large swath of the media, not just me and my cobloggers -- to spend the day discussing the context of Islamist terror cases in Norway, and taking seriously what turned out to be fallacious claims of credit by jihadis? Well, that's a complicated question that I'll get to another time (it's Friday night, and Captain America: The First Avenger awaits), but readers are welcome to hash it out in the comments.

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