ADL: Norwegian Terrorist Motivated By Growing Extremist Ideology In Europe And The U.S.

New York, NY, July 25, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the actions of a Norwegian terrorist whose views were apparently influenced, in part, by anti-Muslim voices in the U.S. are a reminder that hateful ideologies and lone-wolf terrorism remain a "serious and potent" threat.

"The attacks in Norway are a stark reminder of the broad range of violent terror threats faced around the world and in the United States," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "These attacks underscore the serious and potent threat of violence posed by a variety of dangerous extremists from across the ideological spectrum. This includes the 'lone-wolf' extremists, who have access to extremist ideologies on the Internet from around the world."

The suspect in the July 22 attacks, Andrew Behring Breivik, published a 1,500-page manifesto quoting from the writings of European and American anti-Muslim writers, including Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, who promote a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the pretext of fighting radical Islam.

According to ADL, Breivik's views seem to be influenced by a coherent ideology present in growing numbers both in Europe and the United States, which views Islam as an existential threat to the world and sees leaders and governments as collaborators in allowing Islam to "infiltrate" the West. 

"The suspected terrorist in the Norway bombing and shootings seems to have been motivated by anti-Islamic sentiments, but he did not attack Muslims. Rather, he reserved his extreme actions for those whom he thought were collaborating with Muslims and allowing them to take over Norway," said Mr. Foxman. "Breivik was clearly influenced by an ideological movement both in the United States and Europe that is rousing public fear by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith. While the situation of Muslims in America -- and how government and society deal with Muslim minorities and multicultural issues -- is quite different and better in America, there are extremists here who think much like him and must be a matter of concern."

The League has extensively reported on individuals who promote a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda in this country, including Spencer and Geller and their group, "Stop Islamization of America."

According to ADL, Breivik's focus on "left-wing" multiculturalists destroying white European culture in favor of minority cultures such as the Muslim community is common among the far-right and the groups that straddle the far-right and conservative worlds in the U.S. They blame the government, universities, and the media for promoting diversity and minority cultures over European or American culture and accuse them of undermining "Western civilization" or European-American values.

The League, which has strongly condemned the attacks in Norway and expressed deep sympathy for the Norwegian people, also warned against the rush to judgment that led some to blame Muslims for the attack before all of the facts were known to authorities.

"The rush to judgment that resulted in many initial accounts inaccurately blaming the attack on Islamic terrorists underscores the obligation to assess terrorist threats and acts without creating an atmosphere of blame and suspicion of the larger Muslim community," said Mr. Foxman.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.