Norwegian shooter linked to right-wing extremism

By Muriel Kane
Friday, July 22, 2011 18:23 EDT
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Update: Reuters is now reporting that according to a Norwegian television station, the shooter “has links to right-wing extremism.”

As fresh information trickles in about the bombing of government buildings in Norway’s capital of Oslo on Friday and the apparently related shootings at a summer camp for children of that country’s governing Labor Party, it is becoming clear that these were not acts of international terrorism.

According to Haroon Siddique of the Guardian, who is live-blogging the tragedy, security correspondent Gordon Correra has stated on the BBC’s Newsnight that “a youth rally is not a usual type of target for an Islamist terrorist – a factor which suggests the attacks may have been carried out by someone with a national agenda.”

Norwegian police had previously confirmed that the suspect who was arrested at the youth camp, and who was also seen in Oslo prior to the bombings, is ethnically Norwegian.

Update: The alleged gunman has now been identified as Anders Behring Breivik. What appears to be his Facebook page lists his religious views as Christian and his political views as conservative. It lists a number of classical philosophical and literary works as his favorite books, cites True Blood and Stargate Universe as among his favorite television shows, and names World of Warcraft as among his favorite games.

According to a Google translation of a Norwegian news article, however, Breivik’s current Facebook profile was created only recently, and he had a previous profile on which he expressed “controversial” right-wing opinions. He considered himself a “nationalist” and was strongly opposed to multiculturalism and to Islam.

It was initially reported by one terrorism analyst that a jihadist group called Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami had “issued a statement claiming responsibility, saying the attack was a response to the presence of Norwegian forces in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad.”

That claim has not been disproven, and the New York Times, which initially featured the story, is explaining that “jihadi forums are often filled with claims and counterclaims that are impossible to independently confirm.”

Muslim leaders in Norway have condemned the attacks.

Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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