It’s only human nature, when something occurs that offends our sensibilities, to round up the usual scapegoats. It happened again with the Norway tragedy. Evidently the Norwegians suffer from the same prejudices the rest of us do. They reflexively assumed at first that the perpetrator was a Muslim extremist, and, like the rest of the world, were surprised to find out he was a Christian anti-Islamist.
A corollary to this mindset is the reluctance to apply the word “terrorism” to terrorist acts perpetrated by non-Muslims. You rarely, if ever, hear the phrase, “Oklahoma City terrorism,” while “9/11” and “terrorism” are terms forever conjoined.
It’s all about frame of reference. To Muslims, a crusader like Richard the Lionhearted, who has gotten pretty good press in the West since the 12th Century, could be considered the Osama bin Laden of his day.
If non-Muslim Americans can take a lesson from this, it’s to reflect upon how it must feel to be tarred as a group by the actions of a few people who happen to claim a certain label.
Extremism is the generic enemy. Brand names don't matter.