Pajamas Media’s Resident Islamophobe Weighs in on Norway, Update 1, Update 2

Posted on July 24, 2011


I was curious what Pajamas Media would have to say about the Norway tragedy. I haven’t looked at the site recently, but one of its regular bloggers was Islamophobe Geert Wilders, who has been mentioned as one of Breivik’s favorite hate-mongers. Wilders hasn’t written for PJ in several months, apparently. But the headlining article today, written by their other resident Islamophobe and native American resident of Norway, Bruce Bawer, does a good job of showing how at turns insane and stupid these people are, and how casually and warmly they are accepted by the mainstream “tea party” movement.

Whatever Bawer’s beliefs, in any case, he  is perhaps the most unselfconsciously imbecilic man writing in English today. Last week, noting the unsolved case of eleven burned cars in an Oslo neighborhood he associates with the country’s negligible Islamic population [around 4%], he immediately blamed Muslims of Oslo:

Yet another grim indication that the day of reckoning is near appeared in the July 11 issue of VG. The night before, it was reported, something had happened that is unprecedented in Oslo: eleven cars had been set on fire in Ellingsrudåsen […]

You’ve read about the large-scale torching of cars in the suburbs of Paris — crimes that the authorities seem powerless to stop, crimes that are the very symbol of the chaos into which the City of Light, among many other civilized metropolises, is sinking?  Well, this is how it starts.

He then accuses the government of being unwitting dupes to Islamic takeover:

All I can say is that if you were a government official and you wanted the Islamists to take control of large swaths of the country, this is exactly how you’d go about letting it happen.

Not that I consider Norwegian leaders to be guilty of treason, of consciously aiding and abetting the forces of sharia.  No, they’re just unwitting allies — useful idiots.  They’re socialist fools who believe that a low-level police presence is the sign of an advanced, peaceful society — and all of whom, not coincidentally, live in parts of Oslo that are a long way from Groruddalen.

That kind of classical, almost parodic, bait and switch hate-mongering was perfectly at home at Pajamas Media, where his work appeared for over two years.

This week, of course, Bawer is not interested in profiling the nation’s Muslims as criminals–because some French Muslims once burned cars–and demanding that the government recruit more cops specifically to police them. This week his job is to simultaneously distance himself from Breivik, while making sure that no one uses the T-word to describe his actions, though he does so comically and clumsily:

it was a right-wing lunatic. […] It was a meaningless killing spree by a madman, like the ones at Columbine and Virginia Tech. 

One assumes that Bawer is either a liar, or doesn’t read the press of his own nation, or is counting on the fact that no one in the US would notice the reams of data that showed that Breivik coldly made his plans over years and with a very clear strategy based on goals of the movement they are both a part of. One thing that leads me to believe that it is a combination of the first and the last, is this comment by Bawer yesterday, as he live blogged his country’s newscasts for his English fans.

There are conflicting reports on the man arrested. Some have said he looks “Nordic,” while others have said he is “foreign looking.”

Bawer was a regular contributer to, the site which contained a voluminous amount of Breivik’s writing. I suppose its not really fair to link the two ideologically, since Bawer produces this bit from one of Breivik’s writings, in which Breivik thought Bawer was too gay to be of any use to the coming war against Islam:

It gets worse. Anders Behring Breivik, it turns out, was a frequent commenter at a website,, that is run by a friend of mine in Norway, Hans Rustad, and that is concerned largely with the Islamization of Norway. Hans’s website is down right now — I don’t know why — except for a page on which he has posted a collection of all of Breivik’s postings on the site, going back to 2009.

On September 14, 2009, he [Breivik] wrote: “Bawer is probably not the right person to work as a bridge-builder. He is a liberal anti-jihadist and not a cultural conservative in many areas. I have my suspicions that he is TOO paranoid (I am thinking of his homosexual orientation). It can seem that he fears that ‘cultural conservatives’ will become a threat to homosexuals in the future.  He refuses therefore to take the opportunity to influence this in a positive direction. This seems entirely irrational.”

Despite the fact that he is somewhat to the left of Breivik–for no other reason and perhaps only in their minds, because he is gay–Bawer still has a disturbingly warped view of reality:

During those hours when we all thought this was a jihadist attack, one thought that crossed my mind was that this would change the political map of Norway. For years, the Progress Party, which is the second largest of Norway’s seven or eight major parties, has led the way in calling for more responsible policies on the immigration and integration of people from Muslim countries — and has been demonized as a bunch of right-wing extremist xenophobes who hate Muslims. I assumed that after this attack, Norwegians would vote in a Progress Party-led government in the next elections. Now it appears that the man who committed all these murders is a former member of the Progress Party and is, indeed, a right-wing extremist xenophobe who harbors (according to Dagbladet) a “violent hatred for Muslims” and multiculturalism, and who targeted the Labor Party youth camp because he blames the ruling Labor Party for the Islamization of Norway. Norway’s political future looks very different now, in short, than it did 24 hours ago.

That’s why Bawer’s article is called “The Double Tragedy for Norway”. When baseless paranoia about Islam meant that his right wing racist party would win the next election, Bawer was glad. Now, that they will most likely lose, he is sad. Had something changed in the meantime that should affect Bawer’s calculus? Well, the party that he supports was revealed to contain at least one terrorist who felt quite comfortable in years of discourse with his peers. The labor party by contrast, is currently one and oh, with no known terrorists. Is that the problem for Bawer? No. The problem is that people will now be distracted from the real threat to Norway—not right wing extremism —but Islam.

This is not to paint Bawer as a supporter of terror, nor as even remotely connected to Breivik’s acts, absent any evidence of it. It is simply incredible that for years people like Bawer have been indicting Muslims with similar but much weaker, and non-existent, connections to terror and authoritarianism. For a sane person in control of their faculties, this might have been a moment of clarity. But people like Bawer could no more learn from their mistakes than a donkey could win a horse show. To think that losing a shot at running the government through his party is a tragedy, rather than, in hindsight, an ever so slight silver lining in an overwhelming disaster, is the definition of madness.

Update 1: I have very little patience for Andrew Sullivan as a blogger. He doesn’t seem to know very much, or be very useful. But it turns out that he regularly allows Bawer to guest blog for him. I’d be interested in knowing why. He may be one of the more mainstream Islamophobes, but for no good reason that I see.

Update 2: Sullivan finally calls out Bawer’s inane commentary on Oslo today. But that still doesn’t explain why Bawer was invited to guest blog for him while he was on vacation a few weeks ago. He used that opportunity to blame Muslim men in Amsterdam for the rise of homophobic attacks there. There’s very little, if any evidence for that assertion, and in fact, a study that indicates that a minority of attacks come from Muslims. But this is almost exclusively Bawer’s output, making one provocative accusation after another. As I demonstrated above, he makes baseless claims about rises in violence on the part of Muslims in Norway, then postulates that this imagined violence will lead to the collapse of “civilized metropolises” as he puts it. Though he dresses up his lunacy in the clothes of concern for diversity and democracy, his concern about the rights of gays and women has only one focus–Muslims. Threats and violence from any other group are quite literally invisible to him, as his writing continues to show in the most ironic way possible.