At his trial in Oslo, Norway, Anders Behring Breivik shocked onlookers yesterday when he announced he would "like to offer a large apology" to those innocent bystanders injured or killed in his bombing of an Oslo government building last July.
As for the other 69 people -- mainly teenagers -- who he gunned down in cold blood on the nearby island of Utoya -- well, that was something else: They bore some of the fault themselves.
Shockingly, similar views are echoed by Islamophobes in Europe and the U.S., some of whom, these days, are even considered a respectable part of the political right.
Those kids on the island, according to Breivik were "legitimate targets." Their crime, as it were: attending a summer camp hosted by the youth wing of the ruling Labour party. Indeed, they were political activists, working for the "deconstruction of Norwegian society." Their insidious weapon: "multiculturalism," which is leading to a "Muslim invasion" of Norway.
Sound like the unhinged ravings of a madman. Where could Breivik have gotten the idea that he was part of a much larger worldwide organization?
In fact, he was -- and is. And I thought I thought I'd written enough on this issue, but this is no time to forget that despicable as his views are, they are grounded in the spewings of a network of Islamophobes in Europe and the United States.
One of the most prominent and respectable being Pamela Geller, who runs a blog called Atlas Shrugs, is rabidly pro Israel, plays a prominent role in right wing Republican circles, and is a regular on Fox News.
Last August, a few weeks after Breivik's shooting spree, Geller lashed out at critics who highlighted the role of her site as a cheering circle for the kind of racist garbage that Breivik spewed. (Think Progress wrote an excellent piece on this last August.)
First, Geller made perfectly clear that she was "not condoning the slaughter in Norway or anywhere" and violently disapproved of the killings.
That said, Geller than performed a neat 180 degree turn, and delivered a political dissection of Breivik's young victims -- remarkably similar to Breivik's mind-boggling justification yesterday in the Oslo Courthouse.
Yes, the slaughter was horrific, she said. On the other hand... "what these kids were being taught to do was a different kind of grotesque."
Indeed, the youngsters Breivik was targeting were far from innocent: they were "the future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate , who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole."
Turns out however, as Geller views the world, that even worse than the crime of promoting multi-culturalism, those kids were also listening to speakers who actually criticized Israel. Norway's Foreign Minister, for example, had told them that the Palestinians "must have their own state, the occupation must end and the wall must be demolished and it must happen now."
Further, wrote the outraged Geller, some of the games played at the camp dealt with breaking the Israel blockade of Gaza.
Knowing all that, said Geller, "Glen Beck[sic] was not far off when he compared it to the Hitlerjugend of Young Pioneers."
She also posted a picture taken of the young campers on a sunny hillside just a few days before the massacre.
Under the picture was the caption: "Note the faces which are more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian."
Later, that caption was deleted. As Think Progress pointed out, it can still be found on an earlier screen shot.