(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/05/breivik1.jpg)The trial of the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo will feature, in addition to survivors of his terror attacks, a somewhat bizarre list of so-called political expert witnesses. A few of the initial names have already been dropped, as the list keeps being changed. Among the scheduled witnesses, Lars Gule from Norway and Mattias Gardell from Sweden are both alleged academic experts in the field of contemporary Islamophobia.
Lars Gule is, as of 2012, a postdoctoral research fellow at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. His stated research interests are multiculturalism, the Middle East and especially Arab-Islamic political thought. The Socialist Gule is usually referred to as a respected “expert” on multiculturalism in the national media or even the international press. In The Christian Science Monitor he was labeled a neutral academic “terrorism expert” after the Breivik case, although he is in fact an admitted terrorist himself.
In 1977, Gule was arrested in Lebanon for carrying explosives intended for an armed attack in Israel. He has not denied this since, yet his history hasn’t notably impeded his career. He is a prominent national figure on the political Left and was the Secretary General of the Norwegian Humanist Association from 2000 to 2005. Gule was one of seven writers to receive a special scholarship from the Norwegian Non-fiction Writers And Translators Association after the 2011 terror attacks, which he used to write a book focusing on right-wing extremism.
Sadly, the phenomenon of left-wing terrorists who enjoy respectable academic careers afterwards is not limited to Scandinavia. A particularly nasty case in the USA involves the unrepentant Marxist terrorist bomber Bill Ayers. In the late 1960s, Ayers became a leader of the Weather Underground (WU), “an American Red Army.”
Ayers summed up the organization’s ideology as follows: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents.” This didn’t prevent him from becoming a well-connected university professor in Chicago a few years later, however. In 2008, journalists such as Stanley Kurtz and Sean Hannity tried to bring more attention to ties between the presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama and various representatives of extreme left-wing organizations and groups, among them Bill Ayers.
One of the alleged experts cited by the mainstream media about Islamic issues is the Swedish historian and Socialist activist Mattias Gardell, author of a book about so-called “Islamophobia” that was hailed by reviewer Per Jönsson in the liberal paper Dagens Nyheter as a gold mine of wisdom about the supposedly irrational Islamophobia of the medieval Crusades as well as the politician Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats.
In 2010 Mattias Gardell, the Swedish organizer of the Ship to Gaza initiative, said Israelis had committed “premeditated murder” and were guilty of piracy. Gardell, a professor of religious history at Uppsala University, returned to Sweden accompanied by six others who had been held captive after their ship was boarded by Israeli soldiers. The activists were met at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport by a crowd of journalists and sympathizers. People presented them with flowers and chanted “long live Palestine” and anti-Israeli slogans. Another passionate supporter of the ships to Gaza is the Swedish bestselling crime author Henning Mankell.
When asked directly about this, Mattias Gardell made no attempt to hide the fact that the pro-Palestinian ship which he organized headed for the Gaza strip contained members not just of Fatah and the PFLP, but of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as well as Hamas. He sees nothing wrong with this, and claims that Hamas, responsible for hundreds of individual terror attacks, is not a terror organization but a social movement.
Gardell wants to be taken seriously as an objective scholar when he is not an “activist.” Unfortunately, he often is, whereas “Islamophobes” of all stripes are widely attacked in the press and branded as right-wing extremists.
Mattias Gardell has also criticized the decision to allow artist Lars Vilks to speak at Uppsala University, the oldest university in the Nordic countries. Vilks has received numerous death threats, yet Gardell largely sided with Muslims, arguing that he shouldn’t have been allowed to speak and thereby spread hatred. Due to examples such as this, Mr. Gardell has been accused of being an apologist who idealizes Islam and downplays hatred and violence within the Islamic world.
Lars Vilks warned in the spring of 2012 that “The attacks against me are working.” The strategy of physical intimidation employed by his opponents is unfortunately quite effective. He has seen his lecturing activities dry up over organizers’ fears of riots and of being labeled “racist.” At Karlstad University in Sweden, a lecture was interrupted by a loud group of aggressive young Muslims throwing eggs at Vilks for showing one of his pictures inspired by the Muhammad caricature battle in neighboring Denmark.
In May 2012, a rare (by Swedish standards) critical media investigation using hidden cameras and telephone recording equipment, with two women posing as abused spouses visited ten of Sweden’s largest mosques as part of a report put together by Sveriges Television’s (SVT) investigative news program “Uppdrag granskning.”
The women asked local Islamic leaders for advice about how to address issues such as polygamy, assault and non-consensual sex. They were told by nine out of the ten mosques that men have the right – under certain circumstances – to have more than one wife. The advice, which contradicted Swedish laws, came from imams or family counselors. When the TV host Janne Josefsson approached two of the largest mosques featured in this program to inquire about their official positions, the public answers he received were strikingly different.
The chair of the Islamic Association in Uppsala claimed in the story that people should follow national law. When confronted by what the imam at the Uppsala mosque had told the women, the Islamic leader explained that this imam had merely expressed his personal opinion. The imam with whom the women met at a major mosque in Stockholm defended polygamy and also advised against filing a police report about husbands who beat them. As a matter of fact, a man beating his disobedient wife is in perfect accordance with the Koran 4:34.
Predictably enough, the main preoccupation of many Muslims after these revelations was that talking about this issue might fuel “Islamophobia” and unfounded prejudice. Muslims are always the victims, no matter what.
The technique used in the above-mentioned case is called taqiyya, religious deception or lying to advance the cause of Islam and its triumph over the infidels. Muslim apologists routinely claim that this is a racist, Islamophobic myth, or alternatively that taqiyya is only practiced by Shias, not by Sunnis. Both claims are incorrect. As this story shows – and many similar examples can be cited from multiple countries – lying straight-faced to non-Muslims about Islamic intentions is fully accepted and a widespread Muslim social practice.
In 2009 the Swedish Communist author Jan Myrdal awarded Mattias Gardell with the great humanitarian Lenin award for his work. And no, despite the fact that Vladimir Lenin was the founder of a totalitarian terror regime which cost tens of millions of people their lives, that name was not intended to contain any trace of irony whatsoever. This has been justly mocked by the competent and decent historian and author Peter Englund.
Stefan Adamenko, who lost three brothers to Lenin’s and Stalin’s horror regime, in the newspaper Expressen urged Gardell to reject the award out of respect for Communism’s tens of millions of victims. After all, there is no humanitarian award named after Stalin, Pol Pot or Adolf Hitler. Gardell, however, accepted the Lenin award.
In an article in the left-leaning paper Aftonbladet, Gardell suggested that the notion of there being an Islamic threat to Europe and the Western world is an irrational myth. If you believe Professor Gardell, Islamophobia is entirely without any basis in reality, almost like coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. He fears that it has now become normalized, and warns that “Islamophobia isn’t merely a threat to Muslims. It is a threat to us all.”
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