The bombing in downtown Oslo and the shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital were intended to start a revolution to inspire Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims and other immigrants, the suspect said.
What was your reaction, and given the heated rhetoric on Muslims and multiculturalism in this country, what are your thoughts on preventing such acts here?
Psychologists and psychiatrists tell is that many of the problems with which they deal have to do with phobias, that is exaggerated fear.
Xenophobia is a word not yet common to us, but it the word for an exaggerated fear that is becoming more frequent and pronounced in our culture. It is the “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or anything that is strange or foreign.” Breivik’s bombing in Norway’s capital and his killing scores of young people is an expression of extreme xenophobia. He explained that his hope was that his action would start a revolution to inspire Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims and other immigrants.
Fear is often legitimate and prompts positive action, but exaggerated fear leads to fanaticism and often creates a “reality” that is really fantasy. The wild rhetoric of politicians, talk radio, and t.v. social commentators are contributing to the problem that is becoming more pronounced. Schools and churches particularly need to find ways to bring people together in safe, honest dialogue where differences are shared, and our common humanity experienced.
The Judeo/Christian Scriptures insist on welcoming strangers and paying attention to the alien in our midst. Also, as Americans we must not forget that we are a “country of immigrants.” We must be careful that we don’t make diversity an idol, but we must also remember to “show hospitality to strangers because they may be angels unaware.”(Hebrews 13:2)