Free Speech on Trial in Norway: The Breivik Murder Case Begins

Anders Breivik, left, set off a massive explosion at the main government office building in Oslo last summer and then massacred dozens of teenagers at a Labor Party youth camp on a nearby island.

by Bruce Bawer

The anti-anti-Islamism crowd in Norway, in short, would seem to have hit the jackpot.  Other countries have put critics of Islam on trial, one at a time.   But now pretty much every prominent critic of Islam in Norway will be ushered into an Oslo courtroom, presumably to account for their views on Islam, the absurd pretext being that their testimony will contribute in some way to the defense of a mass murderer whose guilt has already been established beyond all doubt.  The brilliant, and ironic, thing here is that the goal of the defense – and of the defendant, who apparently made up the list of witnesses himself – is utterly identical with the goal of the country’s leftist cultural elite: namely, to implicate all of us writers in Breivik’s actions.  Of course, Breivik wants to do this in order to mitigate his own guilt in the eyes of the court and the country; the cultural elite wants to do it in order to discredit forever the criticism of Islam.

Stay tuned.

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