A Letter to the Norwegian Government following the Oslo Terrorist Attacks

Dear Prime Minister Stoltenberg,

I heard your press conference and I can appreciate that you want to react cautiously to the latest terrorist outrage by Christian fundamentalists. I respect that you do not want to compromise your country’s values and way of life. It is admirable that you want to treat this horrible act as a crime, and try as best as you can to maintain an open, free society. And I understand that you do not want to spread unnecessary alarm among your citizens.

However, my concern is that you do not recognize the supreme danger you – and indeed, the whole world – are now facing. Right-wing Christian fundamentalists have declared war on your society, your entire way of life. Their intentions, and the capability they have shown in this attack, clearly demonstrate that they seriously threaten your very democracy, perhaps even civilization itself. They are probably linked to Christians all around the world in an international network of terror. In other words, there is no doubt that they pose a clear and present danger, a supreme emergency to the state, to which the only reasonable response is a total war on their evil ideology. You must prepare yourself for a long, difficult struggle, a struggle which will not end until every single right wing extremist, all the evildoers who hate your society and its values, have been killed or captured. It will not be easy, and you must be prepared to make real sacrifices in lives and resources to achieve this victory.

I must also warn you, as a terror expert, that there can be no compromise or negotiations with these people; Christian fundamentalists do not want a seat at the table, they just want to shoot everyone at the table. A new crusade against this anti-modern, anti-democratic ideology is necessary, not just because you owe your citizens protection, but because the victims of this atrocity demand justice. I suggest that you not rest until every right wing fundamentalist Christian has been hunted down and brought to justice. You must be prepared to go to war if necessary, against any nation who will not hand over suspects.

I recommend that you begin this War on Right-Wing Christian Fundamentalism (WORCF would be a useful short-hand for this campaign in media communications), this war which you must and can win, if you show enough courage and determination, immediately. You should begin with the following simple measures, which have all been successful in reducing other forms of religious terrorism in countries like America, Britain and Afghanistan.

Your security forces should start by immediately profiling young, white Christian men, especially if they have blonde hair (the Oslo bomber, Anders Behring Breivik, was blond; it could be a factor). Call them in to their local police stations for in-depth questioning, and stop them randomly at airports and train stations. They should be quizzed on how often they go to church, what websites they visit, what books they read, whether they are members of nationalist groups, and what beliefs they hold. They should be carefully monitored for signs of increasing religiosity and any and all political involvement in demonstrations, protests or letter writing. They should also be made to state their religion before boarding an international flight. In some cases, where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, it may be necessary to indefinitely detain individual Christians who are deemed to pose a threat to national security, until such a time as they can be safely released back into the community. Control orders may then be necessary to keep tabs on their activities.

You should also put churches under surveillance and monitor the sermons preached and the views expressed by parishioners, as well as any nationalist political parties or groups like the so-called Viking swimmers (they clearly have nationalist tendencies and the ice-swimming may be a kind of paramilitary training). Universities should be encouraged to report the expression of any extreme nationalist or Christian viewpoints, and should discourage Christian fundamentalist speakers from visiting their campuses. Right-wing and Christian fundamentalist websites should be blocked, and new laws should be passed which ban glorifying or promoting extreme nationalism and Christian fundamentalism.

It is also clear that you will need to set up a government-funded counter-radicalisation programme with moderate nationalists and liberal Christian leaders to try and deflect young white men in the Christian and nationalist communities from turning to extremism. Preachers should be encouraged to speak out against fundamentalism and nationalism, and to demonstrate their loyalty to Western values. It is clear that nationalism and Christianity are the conveyor belts of violent extremism; non-violent Christian fundamentalism leads directly to violent fundamentalism and terrorism. It now also seems obvious that the policy of Secularism has failed to prevent the rise of violent extremism in your midst. A greater effort to eradicate Christianity from public life must be made; Christians in politics have been tolerated for too long and now you have reaped the terrible consequences. Young people need to be taught about the value of secularism from an early age, and should be encouraged through educational programmes to eschew religious dogma and expressions of nationalism.

It will also be necessary to encourage the public to get involved in this campaign against terrorism. They should report any suspicious behavior to the authorities, such as praying in public, religious t-shirts and badges, or the whistling of religious songs. The presence of religious literature in the mail could also be an important clue of an individual’s hostile intentions. I recommend establishing a telephone hotline and a poster campaign to warn the public about reporting suspicious religious behavior. I also recommend that you relax your gun laws and encourage every citizen, including children, to carry a concealed weapon and be familiar with its usage. They can then shoot any terrorist that dares show their face. Carrying guns has worked well in places like the United States and Brazil, which are rarely attacked by terrorists anymore. The point is simply that it will take a collective effort to root out this evil which has infected your society like a cancer. It is everyone’s responsibility, not just the security services’, to fight right-wingers and Christian fundamentalists.

Finally, it seems clear that you should greatly expand your security measures. The fact that you did not anticipate and prevent the actions of a single man shows that your security infrastructure is inadequate. I would recommend deploying the military in the streets, the construction of Peace Walls, setting up checkpoints around the city, putting concrete barriers around all public buildings (except schools, hospitals, supermarkets, stadiums, and places where civilians gather; protect your officials first), and surveillance cameras on every single street corner of every single town in Norway. You should also seek to immediately double the size of your security budget and target moderate Christians for recruitment into the intelligence services so they can more effectively infiltrate these groups.

Unfortunately, you may be forced to use unsavory methods to ensure the safety of your society. You may have to torture suspects for information, especially if there is any evidence at all of a ticking bomb. Studies show that secular rock music played loudly will make a Christian fundamentalist tell you anything, as they believe that the Devil himself is in the music. It may be unpleasant, but in a time of war, hard decisions sometimes have to be made to keep society safe.

I hope you will take serious note of what I told you in this letter. Your security – and the security of the entire world – greatly depends upon it.

Yours Sincerely,

Richard Jackson, Terror Expert

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About richardjacksonterrorismblog

I am currently the Deputy Director of the National Peace and Conflict Studies Centre at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Prior to this, I was Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. I study and teach on issues of terrorism, political violence, conflict resolution and war. I have published several books on these topics, including: Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011; co-authored with Lee Jarvis, Jeroen Gunning and Marie Breen Smyth); Contemporary State Terrorism: Theory and Cases (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010; edited by Richard Jackson, Eamon Murphy and Scott Poynting); Critical Terrorism Studies: A New Research Agenda (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009; edited by Richard Jackson, Marie Breen Smyth and Jeroen Gunning); Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-first Century: Principles, Methods and Approaches (Ann Arbor MI: Michigan University Press, 2009; co-authored with Jacob Bercovitch); and Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics and Counterterrorism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005). I am also the editor-in-chief of the academic journal, Critical Studies on Terrorism.
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30 Responses to A Letter to the Norwegian Government following the Oslo Terrorist Attacks

  1. Extremely well written – very though provoking.

  2. mfr214 says:

    Intelligent piece – articulates what a lot of people are no doubt thinking. I do think though that it would have been better to have waited a few days before publishing it. It seems to me to be just a little inappropriate to display one’s eloquence, however profound the thinking, in the immediate aftermath of such an awful tragedy.

  3. I am against our current wars – let me make that clear at the start.

    Unlike “mfr214” however, I also “get” the sarcasm involved.

    I MUST disagree with your apparent equivocation of “RWCF” to “Islamic Extremism.”

    First, as all know, mainstream Christianity does not support this sort of action, and it will be met with nothing but sadness and derision by a statistical totality of Christians worldwide – and those deranged few aren’t likely to crawl out from under their rock and draw attention to themselves.

    If it had been the act of a musloid “jihadi” it would have been met with MASSIVE celebration in the streets by musloids all over the ME, and smaller demonstrations worldwide – even in so-called “Western Democracies.”

    I could go on toasting this straw-man, but it would be a waste of time.

    The bottom line fact is that mass-murder of civilians is considered by nearly all Christians to be a mortal sin, whereas most musloids would consider it to be a guaranteed E-ticket ride to Paradise!

    In sum, the REAL “extremist” musloids are the ones we commonly call “moderates” – they’re certainly in the overwhelming minority among their fellow “believers.”

    This comparison isn’t “apples and oranges” – it’s “apples and armadillos”…

    • Salman Ahmed says:

      Your assumptions are that most Muslims some how will be celebrating so when 911 happened 2 billion Muslims were going out and celebrating ? hmm i must have missed it.

      Most of the Muslim scholars as well as Muslims are against killing of innocent people no matter if they are Muslims or not as it is tough in Islam.

      As a Muslim i have to though acknowledge that there is some people that are nut jobs in Muslims as well just like any other religion in the world.

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  5. Wayne Field says:

    Your comments about “Christian Fundamentalists” is both very extreme and stupid. You dont know beans about what you are spouting. Christians do NOT favor violence in any way, but follow both the teachings and spirit of Jesus Christ who came to forgive, heal, and deliver from sin. Our “WAR” is against sin and evil, NOT against people. Our task, as given clearly by Jesus Christ is to go into all the world and proclaim the GOSPEL, which is the GOOD NEWS that Jesus Christ has come, GOD has come down to save, forgive, heal all people who will call upon Him in FAITH, and be assured of a place in heaven with HIM forever when HE returns. Our task is to share God’s love and provision with any and all. If a person spurns our offers or our lifestyle, we are called to pray for them and do good to them, NOT act in hostility, as this obsessed, devil-inspired Norwegian did. This guy is not Christian in any way, shape or form. He may have been associated with some religious group; I do not know. But he is NOT Christian in any way. Your angry attack against Christians in this blog is the same ignorant, hateful verbage that inspired the Germans to gleefully murder six million Jews, along with hundreds of thousands of other innocent people. You SHOULD feel shame and apologize for the groundless blanket statement, categorizing all Christians in the same group as this deranged murderer.

    • Da Feng says:

      Wayne, my main man. You entirely misunderstood. It’s all sarcasm. He’s not really attacking Christians. He’s just pointing out, how ridiculous people can jump to conclusions. Because let’s face it, the Western world does this all the time. Someone does something, and all the ruling party leaders want to pin it on an entire ideology, so they can successfully attack that ideology and keep everyone’s attention on anything other than their incompetence. At the end of the day, anyone who does anything has beliefs. That doesn’t mean that other people who believe the same thing would agree with what they do or how they go about accomplishing something.

      But it’s popular these days to force people to identify themselves with a group. You are expected to adhere to all norms of that group. We’re conditioned to feel shame or confusion from any deviation from our preselected niche. Sure, there are hundreds of niches to choose from, but they are all still, at the end of the day, limiting. It prevents free thinking. Things aren’t really analysed for what they are anymore.

  6. mfr214 says:

    To “Dedicated Dad”
    If I were too obtuse to “get the sarcasm” I probably wouldn’t be reading blogs like this!. Of course I “get” it, and I think it’s making a fair point (which I think is rather a warning about the response to terror than an attempt to equate Islamic and Christian extremism) . My only quibble was with the timing; it just seemed a bit insensitive to publish almost immediately after the event, when people in Norway were still in such a deep state of shock and grief.

    • Salman Ahmed says:

      I agree with you there that it is probably a good idea to be more sensitive to people and let them grieve first before pointing out something like this.

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  8. am1987 says:

    Splendid ideas here Richard. But I think that you have overlooked the possibility that there could be links between this Norwegian butcher and Christians worldwide that form a worldwide network of terror.

    • Thanks! You’ve noted an important ommission in my analysis. I will amend the letter immediately!

      • am1987 says:

        Nice try, Richard. I’m afraid that excellent insight is my own work. It will go into my new book on the subject, which will be finished once I have finished finding evidence to support my conclusions. It will sell millions.

        One other thing, your recommendation of torture is commendable but wrong. I know you have everyone’s best interests at heart, but I think that you drastically misunderstand the extent of the enemy’s fanaticism. Torture will not work on Christian extremists (there are no moderate Christians really). I have discovered that Jesus, who was a martyr, was tortured before his crucifixion. Christians will seek to emulate their prophet because it is in their scripture……somewhere……. apparently. It is what the extremists want.

  9. Ty says:

    You mister Jackson are a nut…you are what is wrong with this world..you place blame on an isolted incident and mark an entire faith when islam is the greater threat to the security and harmony of the entire world you nimrod!!! What happened in Norway while horrific and trajic was one crazy man acting alone!! Where is your outrage to islam and its bombings and torture of inocent..where is your outrage at islam at its agressive actions in Darforand other areas in the world where radicle murdering islamic thugs go unchecked and cut the breasts off of women and impail their children!!! Where is your outrage and condemntaion of islamic radiclke who cal for the death of all who they concider infidels…you disgust me!!!

  10. NoGuff says:

    I’m wondering where your clear trail of evidence is for this assumption. There are many for the idea that radical Islam is doing exactly that, but not for Christiand or Conservatives (Conservatives aren’t “right-wing”).

    But no, go ahead and keep spreading lies. Not like that has any detrimental effect on the world.

  11. Mitterand says:

    The author wrote a satirical piece, but apparently some people would rather treat him like a renegade Pastor preaching heresy from the pulpit. It is about the state – its draconian (if not murderous) response to Islamic terrorism. The author only replaced the Islamic terrorist with a Christian one to expose the contradictions, lies, and ingenuity of our present day counter-terrorism. Some people seriously need to stop regarding every space as the Church house.

    • Michelle Jackson says:

      Thank you for clearing up this misconception, Mitterand. I have had lots of fun reading the comments from people who have taken this piece seriously.

  12. B Scott says:

    I consider this supposedly humorous piece of “irony” to be in extremely bad taste. If you haven’t already done so, read the New Testament, read the Koran, read the Hadith, read the history, look at what it’s like for minorities to live in Islamic countries right now (compare that with life in the UK), see how many supposedly moderate Muslims dare speak out against their brothers and sisters who want to take over the world. The virus of Islam has already infected 23% of the world’s population. In which of the countries listed here would you like to live as a Muslim, let alone a non-Muslim? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Muslim_population .
    You might like to visit this site to help you decide. http://barnabasfund.org/UK/

  13. Lennon says:

    Anders Behring Breivik is a product of the pro-Israeli zionist propaganda machine (Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Bat Ye’or, Fjordman, …)

  14. The EDL Jewish Division says:

    Zionist propaganda machine 1 – Norwegian democracy 0

  15. HungryHippo says:

    This was an insightful blog. Wayne, please pick up the old testament, for example, and have a read at the wickedness of the beginning of christinaity and permissable prejudice, war, rape, and misogyny.

    At worst this blog is badly timed. Those in grief will always be in grief and so any timing will be bad for them, too.

    In response to Ty, are you part of the EDL? I am sure the author will share your disgust at these actions, but this is another issue outside of the point being made.

    I do agree that the broad rhetoric is interchangable with Islam extremism, unlike dedicated_dad believes, but I think B Scott has a point, regardless of its relevance to this blog. Western countries are far more tolerant of Muslim and other radical organisations than would be if christians and activists were to do the same in predominantly Muslim countries. The recent arab spring comes to mind as a quick example.

    Anyway, bad timing, interesting blog, and I look forward to seeing more blogs that make us think twice before labelling something few us really know anything about other than what we watch through our government brown nosing media!

  16. Dzachary says:

    Few of you guys are in the state of denial; whatever religions in the world there will be extremist. Pointing out all Muslims are terrorist and this guy is an isolated case non-related to Christianity is a poor and lame excuse.

    McVeigh attacked the poor souls of men, women and children at Oklahoma and never mentioned that he is a Christian believer? Oswald who killed JFK? J.E Ray killed M.L. King? Yitzak Rabin was killed by right-wing extreme Zionist when Rabin supports the Oslo accords. Gandhi was killed by a hardcore Hindu nasionalist Godse. An atheist killed Franz Ferdinand and started the WWI. I would suggest that you know Hitler and what his religion was?

    It is sick when you want point to all Christians as terrorist or terrorist-wannabe because of few Christian terrorist, the same goes to pointing as Islam because of few extremist.

    This kind of mentality will not heals the world; you guys will just breed the hatred, provoke those extremist even more.

    Matthew 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

  17. A very useful analysis of Breivik’s links to the wider right-wing movement and the question of whether he is insane here http://duckofminerva.blogspot.com/2011/07/anders-breivik-isolated-mad-man-or-tip.html.

    • am1987 says:

      It was inevitable that the insanity card would be played. What is interesting about the Breivik episode is that people, mainly those on the right, are being a lot more critical about the role of religion in his attack. Many have argued that Breivik’s Christianity played a very limited role in his actions. Why is the same not done when looking at so-called ‘Islamic Terrorism’?

  18. Lee Salter says:

    Glad that someone got there first! Excellent stuff

  19. fantastic piece of writing, i feel for the people who missed the point of it and/or find it offensive. and the more i think about anders-breivik’s actions he has done more damage to his own beliefs than he has attacked the islamic communities of the world.

  20. Liz says:

    Brilliance, once again. What I most appreciate about this post is how some of the responses have served to further expose the hypocrisy that exists in discourses on terrorism.

    It is particularly interesting how Richards hypothetical recommendations (as sarcastic as they are) have defined an entire decade of counter terrorist efforts, yet when framed as a response to terrorism carried out by a white Christian are said to be “extreme”, “Stupid”, “offensive” and so on. The whole point of this post is to point out how absolutely ridiculous these ideas are, regardless of who the target of the counter terrorist effort is.

    It is clear from reading these comments who follows Richard’s blog and who stumbled across this post. This post was extremely well done and is an excellent depiction of the idiocy of our times.

  21. The point of this blog is articulated more academically in the following blog: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2825888.html.

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