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Stop anti-Muslim rhetoric: Nobel Chairman

Source : OnIslam & Newspapers
Cairo | 01 Aug 2011

The Norwegian chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize has urged European leaders to stop using rhetoric that gives ammunition to far-right groups to fuel sentiments against Muslim immigrants, following the killing of dozens of civilians by a Christian fanatic in Norway.

"Political leaders have got to defend the fact that society has become more diverse,” Thorbjorn Jangland told the Guardian.

“We have to defend the reality, otherwise we are going to get into a mess.

“I think political leaders have to send a clear message to embrace it and benefit from it.”

At least 76 people were killed and scores injured in twin attacks on a government building and a youth training camp in Oslo last week.

The attacker, Anders Behring Breivik, said his assault was a self-styled mission to save European “Christendom” from Islam.

He said that his actions aimed to "change Norwegian society" which he saw as being undermined by immigration and multiculturalism.

Several European leaders have been critical of multiculturalism, giving ammunition to far-right groups to intensify their rhetoric against Muslim immigrants.

Earlier this year, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that multiculturalism has failed and called for Europe to join hands to fight what he describes as “radicalization” of Muslim youth in European societies.

Cameron’s comments were immediately welcomed by Nick Griffin, the leader of the far-right British National Party.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also said that attempts to create a multicultural society in Germany have “utterly failed”.

"We should be very cautious now, we should not play with fire,” Thorbjorn, a former prime minister, warned European leaders.

“Therefore I think the words we are using are very important because it can lead to much more.”

New Terminology

Jagland urged European leaders to adopt a new language in discussing multiculturalism.

He said European leaders should use the word “diversity” instead of multiculturalism because the latter had become defined in different ways by different groups.

"We are not searching for a society where we have only different cultures,” Jagland, who is also secretary general of the Council of Europe, said.

“We also need to have something that holds us together, to respect common values."

Last year, Germany was gripped by a fierce debate on immigration after a central banker accused Muslim immigrants of undermining the German society which is becoming less intelligent because of them.

The Nobel peace prize chairman also called on Europe’s leaders to stop using terms that fuel hatred against ethnic minorities.

“We also need to stop using 'Islamic terrorism', which indicates that terrorism is about Islam,” said Jagland, who is also the president of the Council of Eorupe.

“We should be saying that terrorism is terrorism and not linked to religion," he said.