The attacks in Norway are a prime opportunity to carry out a critical discourse analysis. When the attacks happened everyone thought of pointing fingers at what is called Islamic terrorism. Gradually, it became clear that such was not the case because the man who went on a rampage was, as Guardian puts is, “ blond haired and Nordic looking”. This automatically exempts him of any charges of terrorism and thus he is not a terrorist. Obviously, as all of you well educated folks would know, only Muslims are terrorists. If the person was dark, bearded and Middle Eastern looking, then he would have been a terrorist right away. Clearly blonde, blue-eyed and white people cannot be terrorists.
As far as I have read, there is nobody who is using the word terrorism. As it is increasingly apparent that the attacks were carried out by someone who was motivated by far-right ideology, the media is not calling it terrorism. At best, they are being called bomb attacks. This is because only Muslims inspired by Islam can carry out terrorist attacks. If it is not what is called Islamic, then it is not terrorism. The word terrorism and terrorist just has to be used in relation to Islam and Muslims, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense of course.
The attacks are also seen as anomaly and as a singular event without any connections to any organization. It is true and it should be seen like that. However, if it was, let’s say, carried out by a Jihadist, then everyone would be making connections to Islam and Muslims world over. It would become part of a global trend.
The attacker’s origins are not being politicized. But, when an attack is carried out by someone whose origins trace back to a Muslim majority country, then his connections to that country are greatly highlighted.
The attacker’s religious affiliation is disregarded as well. On the other hand, if such acts are perpetuated by a Muslim, then it’s Islam and the rest of the Muslim world that is put on trial.
These attacks will be remembered because they are horrendous and deaths will be mourned for a long time, as they should be. But if the attack was militant Jihadist, then the media would have talked a great length about the “problems” of Islam, Muslim and immigrants. “Experts” and intellectuals would have been having the time of their lives in “informing” the public about their “insight” of Islam, Muslims and their intentions vis-à-vis the West.
The way the discourse is rather light in describing these attacks tells us a lot about how Europe and North America like to demonize Islam and Muslims who are the “Other”, while when one of their “own” does something evil it is not talked about in the same alarmist, hateful, populist and racist tone.
- Jahanzeb Hussain