Norway: Homegrown terror still threatens

July 26, 2011 at 5:09 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- The sometimes overlooked danger of domestic terrorism hit home last week when a man went on a killing spree that left 76 people dead.

Anders Behring Breivik, whom authorities said confessed to the shootings, was no convert to militant Islamism, no follower of deceased al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, no throwback to the Marxist terrorists of the '60s and '70s or adherent of a non-Europe "ism."

Instead, his cause is perhaps one as old as the human race -- protecting one's own from the outsider.

In this case: Muslims immigrants to Norway and their resultant "impact" on Norwegian society.

"Marxist multiculturalism," he reportedly wrote in a personal manifesto, had led to moral decay and a creeping Muslim colonization of his country and Europe.

His method to awaken society and set off a nationalist uprising was to set off a bomb in Norway's capital and make his way to a nearby holiday island used by the ruling Labor Party and methodically gun down scores of young people.

Breivik, captured by police, admitted committing the acts of terrorism but denied they constituted a crime and is demanding an open hearing to voice his cause.

He is also said to have claimed there were two "cells" in Norway to which he was connected, and they in turn were connected to other nationalist, anti-immigrant groups elsewhere in Europe.

Norwegian authorities are apparently discounting his utterances.

"We feel that the accused has fairly low credibility when it comes to his claim but none of us dare to be completely dismissive about it either," a newspaper quoted a source close to the investigation.

Despite some caution that others may have been involved in the crimes, Norwegian authorities dropped special border controls just four days after the attacks, attacks which failed to spark the anti-immigrant rage Breivik is said to have wanted.

"If he had not been Norwegian it would have played into the hands of the neo-Nazis," Kjetil Wiedswang, a columnist for the Dagens Naeringsliv newspaper, said.

"There is political correctness around this issue (immigration) that stops it being properly discussed but in reality Norway does not have a big problem with immigration.

"If it is proved that it is a lone nut (responsible) then it may become easier to come to terms with, rather than if it was a group with Islamist connections."

Norway has a population of about 4.9 million people. Available statistics indicate about 10 percent of the population is foreign-born and of that number about 5 percent are Muslim. Many are refugees from Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In comparison, Muslim immigrants constitute about 8 percent of France's population. In the Netherlands they are estimated at 6 percent, in Germany 4 percent and in Britain, 3 percent.

In some major cities of Europe, they equal some 20 percent of the population, often living in their own enclaves where Islamic traditions, including Shariah law, hold sway.

Reactions to cultural differences -- and separation -- have sometimes led to animosity. Specific incidents fanning anti-Muslim immigrant violence have included the Paris riots of 2005 by Muslim immigrant youth.

Muslim protests over a Danish newspaper cartoon that depicted the Prophet Mohammad, Islamist terror bombing in London and Madrid and the killing by an Islamist of Dutch filmmaker have all contributed to nationalist tendencies.

Switzerland voted to bar the building of minarets and France has banned the wearing of the burqa.

Even in tolerant Norway there are frictions, including informal immigrant enclaves.

Europe has yet to come to grips with multiculturalism and thus tensions will continue.

But so far, it seems Norway's terrorist was simply an isolated, solitary, angry man. The problem is, there are many such individuals in all societies, and although the focus of many governments is Islamist terrorist attack -- from abroad or by domestic adherents to Islamism -- people like the Norwegian shooter and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh are still among us.

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