ISSUES & CHALLENGES
Anders Behring Breivik is the ethnic Norwegian perpetrator of the most horrific acts of terrorism in Norway since WW II. In an opinion page article in the New York Times, 31 July 2011, by Thomas Hegghammer, Senior Research Fellow of the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, Breivik is quoted as saying he is “extremely proud of his Odinistic/Norse heritage and while he is Christian admits ‘I’m not a very religious person.’ “While Breivik’s violent acts are exceptional, his anti-Islamic views are not. His goal is to reverse what he views as the Islamization of Western Europe.”
Anders Behring Breivik was declared sane and convicted on Friday August 25, 2012 by a Norwegian court of killing 77 people, and sentenced to the maximum sentence of 21 years in prison under Norwegian law which no longer has the death penalty and considers prison more a means for rehabilitation than retribution. According to the New York Times, “Breivik was given ample time to speak of his rambling anti-Muslim, anti-multicultural political views, including a rant about the ‘deconstruction of Norway at the hands of cultural Marxists.” Bjorn Magnus Ihler, who survived the Utoya shootings, was quoted as saying that “Norway’s treatment of Mr. Breivik was a sign of a fundamentally civilized nation.”
Norway may move forward now from grief and loss to action programs showing how assimilation and multiculturalism, rehabilitation rather than retribution, works in Norway.
The Tandem Project was the catalyst and co-organizer of the 1998 Oslo Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief that led to the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The conference was on the 50 year anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Honorable Kjell-Magne Bondevik, then Prime Minister of Norway, gave the keynote address. 1998 UN Conference Report
The warning signs are clear: unless we establish a genuine dialogue within and among all kinds of belief, ranging from religious fundamentalism to secular dogmatism, the conflicts of the future will probably be even more deadly. – Mark C. Taylor, New York Times Op Ed, 21 December 2006