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by
Mike McNally

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July 22, 2011 - 1:31 pm

The BBC is, of course, falling over itself to avoiding inserting the ‘M’ word into coverage of the Oslo terror attacks on its website. In that spirit, I’ll comment on their reporting while endeavoring to do the same.

In a piece linked on the front page as ‘End of innocence?’ Jorn Madslien does mention that “the Norwegian publisher of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, William Nygaard, was shot and wounded outside his home in Oslo in 1993, two months after Ayatollah Khamenei issued the fatwa” (the shooter was never found). However, he doesn’t elaborate as to who, other than Khamenei, might have been upset about the book or why. Maybe it was… no, I’d best not say.

Doing an even better job of beating about the bush, walking on eggshells and ignoring the elephant in the room is Gordon Corera. In an analysis piece running alongside the main story he writes:

An al-Qaeda linked group is still a strong possibility, based on opposition to the role of Norwegian forces or issues linked to the publication of cartoons of the prophet. There were arrests last year in Norway linked to an international terrorist plot.

However, at this stage other possibilities, including domestic extremists, cannot be ruled out.

Corera starts promisingly, mentioning that well-known inter-faith organization al-Qaeda, but quickly descends into evasiveness.

Where are those ‘Norwegian forces’ deployed? Could it be somewhere where there are lots of… no, I’d best not say.

And which prophet could he mean? Elijah? Jeremiah? Or maybe that crazy old lady in the Matrix movies? Maybe he means… no, I’d best not say.

And what about those plotters that got arrested – would it be worth mentioning, as we’re speculating about motives, that they all came from parts of the world where the dominant religion is…  no, I’d best not say.

Also, I don’t understand while ‘domestic extremists’ falls into the category of ‘other possibilities’. Whether the attackers were mad about ‘Norwegian forces’ or ‘cartoons’, some or all of those involved are highly likely to be home-grown terrorists.

And I’ll bet my bottom krona they won’t be called Bjorn, Lars or Rune.

Mike McNally is a journalist based in Bath, England. He posts at PJ Tatler and at his own blog Monkey Tennis, and tweets at @notoserfdom. When he's not writing about politics he writes about Photoshop.
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