We are circulating below the latest AEPF statement on the xenophobic killings in Norway.
ASIA-EUROPE PEOPLES’ FORUM (AEPF)
advancing the people’s voice and agenda within Asia-Europe relations
The Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) grieves and condoles with the families and friends of the people, many of them very young, who lost their lives in the horrific and senseless massacre in Norway last July 22. The anguish and sadness this atrocity has caused the people of Norway, Europe, and the world is difficult to put in words. Nevertheless, we need to analyse and look within ourselves and our societies if we do not want such barbarism repeated.
The Norway massacre by Anders Behring Breivik was no spontaneous act of a mentally deranged man. This bombing in the city of Oslo and shootings in the island of Utøya were, in Breivik’s own words, politically motivated planned attacks carried out by a right wing xenophobic ideologue on a people who are mostly known to value liberal secularism and multiculturalism.
Unfortunately the ideology that fed Breivik’s act of terror tried to use the Norway tragedy to justify hatred a people associated with the Islamic faith. The knee-jerk reaction of some governments and global media was to blame Al-Queda and to link the act of terror to Islam. Breivik’s fundamentalist and chauvinist nationalism was spawned by right wing ideas.
These false — and dangerous — nationalist and right wing currents have been increasingly evident in the West and in many other parts of the world. The only way to counter these trends that lead to such senseless violence is by combating xenophobia and racist ideologies. A truly liberal secular multicultural tradition and political system and environment based on tolerance are the only counter-strategy.
In the face of the massacre, the people and government of Norway have vowed to continue to be an open, democratic, and inclusive society. We in the AEPF welcome this response even as we also challenge ourselves to continue to struggle against all forms of racism.