Sunday, May 14, 2006

Some Belgians are more equal than others

When an incident happens in Europe that can be spun as violent Islamists gone wild, the warbloggers are all over it -- even when the facts don't back up their initial presumptions. But not a word from them yet from about last week's shooting rampage in Antwerp, when an anti-immigrant extremist with many guns shot three people -- two fatally -- in the middle of day. He also managed a combination of futility or stupidity even relative to his own warped goals, with one of his victims being a white child whom a Malian woman was looking after. It seems that the shooter was an unhinged teenager, susceptible to rhetoric about native Belgians being swamped by Muslim immigration. Far too much awkward stuff to be mentioned by the usual suspects.

UPDATE 15 MAY: Well, we were ahead of the curve on this one. The Antwerp incident has now made it to the warbloggers. But there's a catch: they're not upset about the shootings themselves, but defending a prominent Belgian blogger who has been cited by the government as a source of incitement that led the teenager to carry out his rampage. The blogger is Paul Belien who writes at Brussels Journal.

While his writings display a bit too much of pet US conservative causes for our tastes (" If America follows Europe’s example Christendom is lost ... Following the recent murder of Joe Van Holsbeeck* I wrote that citizens should be allowed the right to bear arms"), it seems preposterous for the Belgian government to be singling out a blogger for blame for the incident. That being said, we wish the warbloggers were as willing to assign individual and not collective responsibility for murderous behaviour as they now are in the Antwerp case to other cases where the bad guys happen to be Muslim.

Note also Andrew Sullivan, not entirely over his old tricks, linking to the Brussels Journal case via Rod Dreher, neither of whom mention the context for BJ's troubles. You have to work backwards from BJ's latest entries, or have been following the news, or reading this blog, to know what was going on. Note to readers who rely on the French media for these events (or to drivers relying on French road signs): Antwerp is Anvers in French.

*Also, reader PM reminds us that that the Van Holsbeeck murder to which Belien refers above was in fact the previous instance of warbloggers leaping to sweeping Islamophobic conclusions when it was presumed, incorrectly, that his killers were Muslim. And much more on the case from Guy at A Fistful of Euros. And [20 May], the Washington Post does a story about the killings, noting that the disturbed teenager may even have been acting out a scene in Grand Theft Auto.

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