Sunday, July 24, 2011

Terror in Norway

When I think about hotspots for terrorist activity, I think about Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, or the latest potential threat to the United States…Norway does not typically even enter my mind that’s why no one was more surprised than I when I heard about the attacks on the Prime Ministers office in Oslo and the Utoya youth camp on Friday. Since Scandinavian Politics courses are hard to come by at American university, I’m relying on the well respected Christian Science Monitor to assist me. It seems as though, there are two likely avenues for this terrorist attack: 1. Islamic radicals inspired by Al Qaeda because of Norway’s involvement in Afghanistan through NATO and Norway’s role in the Denmark Jylland Postand newspaper depiction of the prophet Muhammad in 2005 (one of the cartoonists was Norwegian and one of the papers in Norway reran the cartoons.) I was unaware that Al Qaeda had listed Norway on a list of targets since 2003.

The more likely option at this moment, is that this was an act of far right extremism opposed to the policies of Prime Minister Stolenberg’s Labour Party and it’s rather lax immigration rules. Indeed, the suspected gunmen appears to have been a Christian conservative, who held anti-Islamic, anti-Immigrant views, apparently quite common among the far right in Norway. I think it would be premature to rule out scenario A though as this investigation is barely seventy two hours old. This was quite an eye opening look at the internal and external problems that a country many view as tranquil really does have beneath the surface. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Norwegian people in this their 9-11, as some Norwegians posting on message boards and Facebook have dubbed it. May we all be Norwegian, so that we may stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters…Peace.

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