As the world struggles to make sense of the tragic attacks in Norway last week, it has become apparent that Anders Behring Breivik, the main suspect held by police, left a long trail of online comments, a YouTube video, and a manifesto outlining his political beliefs.
The New York Times reports today, Breivik “endeavored to find common cause with xenophobic right-wing groups around the world, particularly in the United States” and his manifesto “quoted extensively from the anti-Islam writings of American bloggers.”
In his manifesto, Breivik cites an assortment of right-wing figures, but a troubling theme is evident in the 1,500 page document. Breivik was directly influenced by the same cadre of American anti-Muslim activists that have gained a powerful following in the contemporary conservative movement in recent years. Many of the leading Islamophobes who inspired Breivik have also been responsible for a rising tide of hate campaigns, from the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” hysteria to a disturbing trend of demonstrations against Muslim Americans across the country:
Breivik cites neoconservative Islamophobe Frank Gaffney on opposition to Turkey joining the EU, and reprints a post from Gaffney’s think tank, the Center for Security Policy: Gaffney, a former Reagan official, is a regular on Fox News, a writer for the Washington Times op-ed page, a sought-after speaker at major conservative conferences, and a ubiquitous talking head on talk radio.
His think tank created a website to orchestrate protests against the the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in Manhattan. When he is not arguing that President Obama is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood or claiming that radical Muslims have infiltrated the top levels of American government, he is calling for people who practice Islam to be prosecuted under sedition laws.