Lessons learned from the bombing and mass shooting in Norway

As much as the news from Oslo was devastating, Muslims around the world breathed a sigh of relief when they knew the incident wasn’t executed by an Islamic terrorist group. Thanks to Al-Qaeda and the terrorist groups alike Muslims are put in a very bad situation and were judged harshly because of these groups. These terrorist groups succeeded in making Muslims:

  • Pray day and night that the terrorist is not a Muslim
  • Feel apologetic whenever there is an act of terror, assuming the incident is executed by a Muslim
  • Feel it is necessary to explain to non-Muslims that although these groups call themselves Muslims what they do is not in the Islamic teaching
  • Work hard and sometimes unnecessary to find ways to polish their image as good citizens in America and Europe

But I also noticed something I haven’t witnessed before in the past 10 years in America. American News Media (Fox, CNN and MSNBC) failed BIG time when it comes to reporting about this incident. Here are my observations:

  • After the religion and identity of the terrorist was revealed, the American media almost stopped its coverage about the incident. Today and yesterday there was hardly any news about the incident
  • No political analysts, Professors, experts, witnesses or what not are invited to explain to the American viewers what happened and to dig deeper and deeper and squeeze every bit of information to know everything about anything related to the incident, terrorist and victims
  • No matter how many are killed in a terror act the news is not worth the American viewers time unless the terrorist is a Muslim
  • A failed bombing attack by a Muslim terrorist gets ten times more coverage hours than a massacre by a Christian fundamentalist
  • If couple of people were killed by a Muslim terrorist, the American media will spend hundreds of hours to find everything about the victims. We will know their names, what jobs they had, whom they left behind and we will even learn about their dreams and what they wanted to achieve if they weren’t killed by a Muslim. On the other hand, when more than 90 people are killed by a non-Muslim they are just victims and the news coverage stop here.

Killing unarmed and innocent people is just wrong. The news coverage quality about the victims and the incident should be the same regardless of the religion or race or ethnicity of the terrorist(s). People should learn by now that “good” and “evil” have no religion.

I know no one from Norway but I feel sad for their loss especially those parents who lost their children in the camp. I don’t know their pain but I can imagine the magnitude of such catastrophe of loosing a child especially in cold blood.

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24 thoughts on “Lessons learned from the bombing and mass shooting in Norway

  1. The term Islamic terrorist is an oxymoron. This is what the ultra right wing (Fox News) Christian Zionists (Pat Robertson) say to further their own agendas. You should say “terrorists claiming to be Muslims” or “false Muslim terrorists” or “criminals pretending to be Muslims”. We all know that Al Qaeda is not Muslim even though they claim to be.

  2. My thoughts exactly, it’s a sad reality in the western media, but this fake “unbiased” reporting is clear and to many they totally lost every ounce of credibility. Even inflammatory stations like Aljazeera shows more facts than most of American media, which appears to be failing like everything else in this economy.
    Anyway, Alhamdulillah he wasn’t Muslim, I really hope that every “Islamic” group make it a law not to harm. Really really hope so

    1. The bias or lack of more reporting about Oslo’s recent attack was very obvious when it is compared to if the attacker was a claimed Muslim. Thanks for your comment. I was hoping for someone who lives in the US to give his feedback about my observation.
      Regarding Aljazeera, I agree they are failing miserably recently.

  3. You made some very good points. I was sad about the loss of life but glad that it wasn’t a Muslim. I hope that this will make people see that the media is biased against Muslims…but the people might notice it…will already know that.

    I’m sure some people will find ways to blame this on Muslims.

    1. With all the bad things Al-Qaeda and the terrorist groups alike are doing I understand the westren media point of view. They exaggerate sometime but at least for me I understand why they are doing that. But what I don’t understand is why when a terrorist does not call himself a Muslim the media shuts down on the incident.

      1. I think media is all about ratings and Muslim terrorist gets more attention that a white Christian or I think it could also be that people have an agenda and when it doesn’t fit into their agenda they just ignore it. Look at all those websites like jihadwatch and what not that have found ways to still blame the Muslims for this event.

  4. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this topic. I wonder if more would have been said about the victims by US media if the victims were American youth at camp. I can see them interviewing American parents about their children. It might be harder to talk with Norwegians…don’t know.

    I don’t watch a lot of news on TV, but we do watch the local news before bed most evenings and they’ve continued covering this story so I didn’t realize the cable TV shows had stopped for the most part. I find that surprising. Hmmm.

    1. Yes, you have a valid point. If the victims are Americans there would be more interviews and talk with the victims.
      But there were bombing attacks in London and India before and the media spent a combined of hundreds of hours analyzing, surveying and talking about the attacks, not the victims. So why there was no much analyzing of this attack once we knew the bombing is not executed by a radical Muslim group? This observation by the way is widely discussed in the written media overseas.

  5. We are having the same thing over here in the UK, the coverage was massive for a few days (I’m talking like; breaking news, front page newspaper sort of big!) but after just two or three days the rush has stopped.

    Sitting here now, flicking through my local paper during my lunch break and the story which is titled “New information found!” is on page 8 of a small scale local newspaper… Thats a joke?!

    My heart goes out to those who have lost someone during this horrid event, and I am ashamed to be part of a nation who doesn’t care about something like this if its not a “certain” type of person responsible.

    Tom

  6. I watched CNN while at my parents’ house today and they talked about Norway during every news cycle. They said the victims’ names were just now being released as parents were being notified of their losses. Also they had a clip of an interview with Anders’ father who said he wishes his son had taken his own life instead of doing what he did. Heard Anders’ lawyer thought his client was “crazy.” Stuff like that. So maybe we will see more in coming days.

    I guess I just didn’t watch all the anti-Muslim stuff in the past because as I mentioned before I don’t watch a lot of MSM TV so it’s hard for me to compare. Thanks for sharing your observation about the unfairness of it all.

    1. Thanks for sharing your latest CNN watching experience. I didn’t watch the news today and yesterday.
      Sometimes when we read a book or watch a movie we judge it according to our background and perspective. No matter how hard we try I think it is impossible to be 100% nonjudgmental about what we read or watch.
      I and you may for example watch the same CNN news segment but each think differently about that news piece. Am I making any sense here? 🙂

  7. I do agree that if it were a muslim to kill 90 people it would get LOT of coverage. However, like Susanne, each night that I have watched they have talked about Norway either directly or by a banner running at the bottom of the page. If this were America where it happened Muslim or not doing the killing I think there would be much greater coverage…Squeezing info and speculation out of people would probably not be that hard as I think Americans by nature are more open than Norwegians. It would make too good a story..has anyone heard about the Casey Anthony story? That went on for years, particularly where my parents live as it happened not far from them. They milked that for years and amazingly she was acquitted even with TONS of media coverage.

    1. Thanks for your comment. After talking to many Arabs and Muslims in the US it is clear that they feel the coverage was not as if it was a Muslim. There might be some coverage but believe me the way the coverage is conducted is totally different than if it was a Muslim who did it. At least that what I feel.
      Regarding your other point that if this had happened in the America yes you are right. I am aware as well with Casey Anthony’s case. It is one of those things that I will never understand. After three years of daily coverage and obsession for God’s know what reason she is found innocent???
      I think foreigners in the US are not used to the American way of conveying news. To Americans the news about Muslims might be normal and I can only say that is somehow true because I see the media’s unprecedented obsession about events like the recent Royal wedding, Casey Anthony, and Natalee Holloway who for once I thought she is the only missing girl in the USA 🙂 and of course many other such stories…

  8. I was following thé coverage closely on CNN, CBC, and BBC télévision. I was struck not only by thé almost immédiate fall off in coverage, but thé change in thé content. Each news service cut back to making Norway only one among a number of stories, and not the lead. The death of Amy Winehouse, the US debt ceiling, and in Canada the cancer of the leader of the opposition, each became the lead/dominant story.

    More striking to me, it was clear quite early that the shooter was blond-haired and blue-eyed yet the speculation was a home grown Islamist/ Al Qaeda terrorist. When he was first identified, the discussion still kept turning to Muslims, Islam, Islamists, Al Qaeda. Then the coverage focused more on Breivik as a madman, a lone malcontent. What has been hinted at, but less developed than if he were a Muslim, is the nature of his threat to Norwegian democracy as part of an extreme far right fringe supported in their beliefs though not his actions by the discourse of the far right and centre right; and, of analogous situations in other European countries including his naming of the Englush Defense League. For the most part interviewees who attempted to address that, even in the narrowest context were cut off.

    The BBC coverage has been better in this regard, but even there the main themes are the responses by Norwegian politicians, the testimonies of witnesses, the storied of survivors and the identification of the victims.

    There is missed opportunity to look at the main causes of terrorism in Europe which are ethnic, nationalist movements, some with Christian fundamentalist tones.

    The best comment on the Casey Anthony trial that I saw.was a leading senior American journalist saying that once they learned from the OJ Simpson trial the kind of audience draw and revenue to be made from a high profile legal case, the media have been inflating small personal cases as if they were of national interest. A young dysfunctional mother lies about her daughter’s disappearance and death, a drunk, partying teen is dated raped and killed on spring break, etc are pumped up into all pervasive breaking news. Money talks.

  9. As a member of the media myself, I made the same observations. The saddest thing, however, is the knee-jerk reaction to denounce a Christian as simply “mad” when something like this happens. I don’t believe that is fair treatment. Breivik was as influenced by Christian fundamentalists as Muslim extremist are influenced by Islamic fundamentalists. There are plenty of problems with how the media covers Muslims, and this recent episode only highlighted that.

    It’s also interesting to note that the conservatives in the US who condemn this attack and call Breivik a lone wolf are the same people who try to lump extremist Muslims with the rest of Muslims. Look in the mirror, people.

  10. Here is a contrary opinion: This horrible action changes nothing. In a way, I am glad, too, that it wasn’t a Muslim – not that this would be of any comfort to the families of the victims. A dead person is a dead person and evil is evil. Even so, the problem of Muslim immigration and/or integration (or lack thereof) continues, with or without this evil man (not crazy, evil!). I believe that Muslims and non-Muslims cannot mix or live together in large groups. Sure, on a personal level, yes they can, but in large numbers they cannot.

    Western values and those of Islam are not compatible – it is that simple. One cannot have a liberal, tolerant, democratic society that respects human rights, freedom of speech, equality, and separation of religion and state when large numbers of Muslims are present. Their values are those of Islam, the Quran and Mohammad.

    Of course, Islam is not the only evil in the world, as we see in the recent events in Norway. The fact is that the “muslim problem” is just one more of the many challenges that we face our world.

    Jaraad, from previous posts I am aware of what you think of me (racist, islamophobe, whatever) – an opinion probably shared by Chiara, ha! – but that really matters little to me. The fact is that we – people – Muslims and non-Muslims have a problem that must be resolved. You – a Muslim – think that harmony will be achieved by pretending that all is well and by non-Muslims never never criticizing the dogmas that guide Muslims, their culture and much less the Quran or the actions of your dear prophet. If only it were that simple.

    I think that the only solution is a change of heart by Muslims. I am referring to actions, not talk, particularly in Islamic societies. When a Muslim in the West says that he/she believes in tolerance, freedom of speech, religion, etc I am skeptical. I look at Muslim societies and I see intolerance and discrimination. I see hypocrisy on a grand scale. So I see no reason to believe that Muslims in the West are sincere when they say they want to live in peace with non-Muslims. I also would like to also mention that Islamic writings offer little comfort to non-Muslims with regard to this issue, and I see no desire on the part of Muslims to tackle this problem.

    Any way, take this as a sincere analysis of the problem, or not. I think our words here will change nothing because the differences are too great and one side, especially, shows no ability for self-reflection or change. And so it is. History marches on and the band plays sad songs of sorrow and despair.

    By the way, I like your blog and I do read it regularly, even when I don’t grace the comment box. I think it is important to follow and try to understand Muslim attitudes and opinions. I also think that Muslims too often dismiss any criticism of Muslims as Islam as hate, racism or islamophobism (?), to their detriment.

    1. Jay,
      Thanks for taking time and writing your thoughts although it is not related to the topic of this post. Anyway, you mentioned couple of issues that I would like to discuss later. I just want to let you know that I am not ignoring your comment and I will reply as soon as I have time. Today, is the last day in school. I have lots of grading to do and I am moving to a new apartment.

      1. That is fine. Although I have a somewhat bad reputation in some circles, I know there are many Muslims out there that are fine people – even if I think they must have private demons in the closet (don’t ask me to explain that).

        In a way, our age is quite interesting. Who would of dreamed of the fantastic progress and world-wide changes in the last 30 years! Of course, change is always challenging and humans are complex creatures. I think this change will not come easy and there will be winners and losers (as always). If it is any comfort to you, I think that islam is winning, but I also think if you push too hard you will get a reaction, a very violent one. Given the radicalism that is spreading in Muslim communities, I doubt that the soft push technique will be chosen. It could get very nasty – and the Chinese will pick up the pieces.

        Anyway, thanks for the measured response. It is always nice to find a Muslim that doesn’t pull out his hair when I suggest that there might be an inherent flaw in islamic theology and that even moderate Muslims, by their lack of self-criticism, contribute to the world’s problems. You take care.

  11. Accidental find… But what a discussion!!
    I found a few similar cases with stories in the news.

    I think its true that they media are only interested in certain things being put across in certain ways.
    It is almost like they have a pre-existing “bad guy” and due to the popularity of the idea in the Western world, they only want to portray evil by this same person / group.

    Due to my work in Crime Prevention I have had dealings with the media and they are anything but nice (maybes it is just the media in the UK, who knows).

    Take the riots in the UK that are going on at the moment.
    The media is only interested in portraying the people involved as brutes and gangsters who got bored and have pent-up energy.
    However, while I do not agree with what they are doing in the slightest, the initial points can be considered as reason to be angry.

    e.g.
    The British Government is not helping young people as much as they should be.
    When a teenager leaves school/university they go right into unemployment and JobSeekers.

    Now, for those who have no experience with the UK’s unemployment process – here is a brief rundown;
    – Sign on
    – Receive money
    – Show up to your local JobCenter once every 2 weeks to sign a bit of paper.

    Yes, that is it.
    It in NO WAY helps people get back into work, and thus they end up bored and poor.
    There used to be a number of courses that you would go on while unemployed, but the government has scrapped them all.
    How does this help?
    The riots in the UK are mainly by young people and teenagers yet I read in a local newspaper a few days ago that it was started by Muslims.
    Where the f!*@ did that come from?!?!

    So the media ignore the true issue because they would rather make the story thrilling and rally everyone behind them against the same people over and over.

    One day we may learn to look into a story more, before accepting the just-a-little-too-obvious stories that you read and take at face value in the paper on the way to work in the morning.

    Sorry its a bit of a rant, just my opinion 🙂

    Rob
    UK Crime Prevention

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