Human rights group calls on governments to teach peace, not Islamophobic ‘holy war’
Norway’s mass killings of youth have heightened attention to extremist hate crimes including Islamophobia based crimes in the United States with analysts saying Monday that right winger neo-Nazis, anti-immigrant vigilantes and militia groups targeting individuals and groups are a primary domestic threat to security, people of “radical Islamic” ideologies a secondary terrorism threat, and extremist animal and Earth rights also posing threats, while Human Rights First’s Ten-Point Plan for Combating Hate Crimes calls on governments to combat all hate-motivated violence.
The alleged Norway murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, although pleading not guilty, admitted killing 76 people he believed to promote “multiculturalism” and enabled “the ongoing Islamic colonization of Europe.” Initial analysis of his 1,500 page testament shows he is a self-proclaimed Christian nationalist inspired to recreate a Knights Templar in Europe to fight a holy war.
“The irrational fear of Muslims that dominated Breivik’s ideology led to the massacre in Norway. It should not be disregarded as a purely European phenomenon,” reported Human Rights First on Wednesday, promoting its guidelines on How to Confront Hatred Without Restricting Freedom of Expression.
“American anti-Muslim activists have also gained ground in some circles, including those who exploit American’s fears of Islamic extremism,” reported Joëlle Fiss of Human Rights First on Wednesday.
Fiss is the organization’s Senior Associate of the Fighting Discrimination Program.
“We urge governments to conduct outreach and education efforts to communities and civil society groups, working to reduce fear and assist victims.”
Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, known as START said the greatest threat of large-scale attacks come from individuals and small groups of extremists subscribing to either radical Islamic or far right-wing ideologies according to CNN that also used concurring Southern Poverty Law Center reports.
“But extremist right-wingers — from Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to a neo-Nazi accused of trying to bomb a Martin Luther King Day parade this year — have shown a willingness to target the public, LaFree said.”
“While extremist animal rights and environmental groups also pose threats, those groups either have not tended to seek to kill or have only targeted individuals, according to researchers.”
Right wing anti-government groups grew by 60% in 2010 over the previous year, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported, attributing much of the growth to militia groups. Smaller increases of anti-immigrant vigilante groups were reported.
START polls of state police in 2008 showed an overwhelming presence of potentially dangerous extremist groups across the political spectrum, with nearly 90% saying neo-Nazi, skinhead, militia groups and other right-wing groups were present in their state.
The suspect in the Oslo, Norway, bombings published papers on the internet stressing “unity over diversity” and calling for a violent response to a policy of multiculturalism that he said was destroying European society.
American anti-Muslim activists have gained ground in circles that exploit American’s fears of Islamic extremism according to Fiss.
In Late June, a new groundbreaking report outlined the rise of Islamophobia in the United States in 2009 and 2010. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender collaborated on the report entitled “Same Hate, New Target.” (See embedded Press TV video report on page left.)
Authors of the report state that it “documents well-known figures who induce Islamophobic sentiment including Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as well as Osama bin Laden.”
“It also highlights public figures combating Islamophobia like Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison and political commentator Keith Olbermann.”
Among Human Rights First’s Ten-Point Plan for Combating Hate Crimes is to consistently speak out against intolerance and bigotry, such as when a friend or associate makes a racist joke or comment.
The Ten-Point Plan recommendations are based on Human Rights First work over the past several years to combat racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, homophobic and related violence mainly in North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union.