To Distance or Not to Distance Oneself?

Islam Prevents Muslims from Becoming Better Muslims

May we ask Muslims to distance themselves from attacks committed by Muslim terrorists? After each attack, pundits preach us we may not. Supposedly, it would stigmatize Muslims. But by that logic, Catholics shouldn’t be asked to distance themselves from Church scandals either. And Norwegians ought to stop distancing themselves from Breivik’s acts of terror. Imagine it would stigmatize them.

No, let us instead take after former Norwegian Minister of Justice, Anne Holt. After Breivik’s attack, she called for all Norwegians to look into their own hearts. She publicly declared that Breivik is indeed one of us. In the Wall Street Journal, she wrote:

“Anders Breivik is the sum of the life he has lived among us, the experience he has had with us and the thoughts he has thought as part of  Norwegian society. It is in our culture that this man has evolved from a shy and polite young boy into an ice-cold monster that allegedly spent nine years of his life to designing and implementing an attack against civilians.”

Anne Holt did not say Breivik wasn’t a real Christian. She did not say that therefore Breivik’ attacks had nothing to do with Christendom or with Norwegian culture. She did not say that Breivik’s actions had nothing to do with Western civilization. On the contrary. With her mea culpa, Holt showed a level of self-criticism that we have yet to observe among Muslims after the Paris, Brussels and Nice attacks.

But Muslims view the matter differently. Islamic terror, they say, isn’t caused by Islam, but by discrimination. Discrimination by whom, exactly? By all non-Muslims of course. And that is the attitude I have to distance myself from, because by rendering self-criticism impossible, Islam prevents Muslims from becoming better Muslims.

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