Terror can replay anywhereThe world is utterly shocked by the tragic car bombing in downtown Oslo and the mass killing spree in a youth camp in a small island nearby, both by a home-grown anti-Islam and anti-government terrorist suspect.
The 32-year-old Norwegian, an extreme-right fundamentalist claiming to be a founder of a modern Knights Templar organization with the goal of reviving the Crusades to stop the spread of Islam, admitted to the car bombing near a government building that killed seven people. He also admitted to the shooting spree at a youth summer camp sponsored by Norway’s ruling Labor Party, on the small island of Utoeya, northwest of Oslo, that claimed the lives of at least 85 people.
The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, said his terrorist acts were necessary to defeat the government’s liberal immigration policies and the spread of Islam. He first detonated a self-developed bomb in the city center and in less than an hour arrived at the summer camp in a police uniform and opened fire at the crowd of more than 600 people. The shooting spree lasted for more than an hour before he was stopped by the real police.
Norway has never experienced such a massacre since World War II. Norwegians never imagined that one of their own was capable of such a brutal and violent act. They believed that terrorist threats usually come from Islamist extremists on the other side of the world. People everywhere are dumbfounded by the rude awakening that such horrendous terrorist acts can take place anywhere at any time.
The suspect was an ordinary self-employed businessman in the farming industry. However, his writings on the Internet and the manifesto he posted - titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence” - pointed to a disturbed man vehemently against the Oslo government and Europe’s shift toward a more open and diverse society by accommodating immigrants and different ethnic groups. His lawyer said that the suspect acted alone and knew his actions were atrocious, but nevertheless “necessary.”
In the manifesto, the suspect wrote, “Once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological impact of the strike,” suggesting he had meticulously planned the attack in protest of the government’s policies.
Terrorism sprouts when faith and compassion for one another wanes. Without tolerance and empathy, the horrible scenes from Norway can replay anywhere.