Several Canadians were stunned Monday at learning Norway’s confessed mass murderer had referenced them in his lengthy diatribe against Muslims, Marxists and multiculturalism.
One of them, a science student, said he was dismayed to find himself quoted in Anders Behring Breivik’s 1,518-page manifesto “2083,” which makes more than 40 mostly passing references to Canada and Canadians.
“It’s just an unbelievable thing to see your name associated with this when you’re not yourself associated with anything of this kind,” Eric Da Silva, a PhD science student at Hamilton’s McMaster University, told The Canadian Press
“This really hit me out of left field.”
Five years ago, when Da Silva was president of Ryerson University’s Catholic Students Association, he was quoted in a campus newspaper in a dispute over how Muslims were using a multi-faith room on campus.
Breivik, 32, cites the article to support his views equating Islam with fascism and that Muslims are incorrigible supremacists.
“What had happened was taken out of context,” Da Silva said.
Breivik admitted in Norwegian court on Monday to bombing a government building in downtown Oslo, then killing dozens in a shooting rampage at a camp attended by Labour party youth.
Noted Canadian author Naomi Klein called Friday’s camp slaughter an “extremely calculated act of political terrorism.”
It was “harrowing” to learn Breivik talks in his manifesto about reading the first few chapters of her book “Shock Doctrine,” Klein said in an interview from British Columbia.
Those chapters deal with the cleansing of the political left in Latin America.
“I’m deeply distraught over the (camp) incident,” Klein said.
“I saw such a strong similarity between the kinds of political violence that I’ve researched in Latin America in the ’70s that specifically targeted a future generation of political leaders.”
Over the length of his discourse that amounts to a right-wing call to arms against Muslims in Europe, Breivik cites a wide assortment of thinkers, political leaders and other authorities.
Among those he invokes in support of his cause are former British prime minister Winston Churchill, philosopher John Locke, Indian political leader Mahatma Ghandi, and former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson.
Breivik quotes from various newspaper articles that suggest a presence of radical and dangerous Islamists in Canada.
He refers to a 1998 court ruling against Mark Harding to support his view that Canadian hate-speech laws have been used to silence critics of Islam.
Harding was convicted after handing out pamphlets in Toronto that said Muslims in Canada were the same as those who committed atrocities abroad.
“Harding’s case demonstrates that it is now a criminal act in several Western nations to tell the truth about the dangers posed by Muslim immigration,” Breivik writes.
Salim Mansur, an associate political science professor at the University of Western Ontario, said he was appalled to learn Breivik had used some of his writings in his manifesto to advance the notion Islam and democracy were incompatible.
“You’ve hit me in the solar plexus,” Mansur said.
“I’m struggling with the fact that my name travelled into the mind of this mass killer.”
Mansur, a Muslim opposed to Islamist violence who himself has been the target of radical Muslims, said Breivik and others like him engage in reading to “fuel their own pathology” and further their misguided causes, not to further genuine learning or debate.
In other parts of the manifesto — published on numerous websites — Breivik refers to Canada’s low birth rate and somewhat lax sexual morality as part of his tirade against the “global cultural Marxist Mafia” and the multiculturalism he blames for many of the world’s evils.
Canadian intelligence agencies have focused largely on Islamic extremism and the potential for radicalization, or homegrown terrorism.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has said little in recent years about hard-line right-wing elements.
Instead, it has tended to lump violent racists into a catch-all threat category of domestic extremism — including those who use violence in the name of the environment, animal rights or aboriginal causes.
CSIS has also warned of “lone-wolf” terrorists with a dangerous agenda.