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Far-right and anti-immigrant views behind the Baerum mosque terror attack

On Saturday, the Baerum mosque in the suburbs of Oslo was the scene of a shooting carried by a Norwegian man. The young terror suspect has acted alone, according to the Norwegian police which are investigating the shooting as a terror attack. The assailant is described as a far-right sympathizer who had supremacist motivations.

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On Saturday afternoon, Al Noor mosque in the suburbs of the Norwegian capital was shaken by a terror attack. In Baerum, a young Norwegian man broke in the place of worship, carrying guns and wearing a protective vest. Thanks to one of the worshipers who were in the mosque at that time, the attempts of the gunman were foiled. The old man controlled the suspect, and stopped him from opening fire.

At first, the authorities in Oslo were cautious about the reasons behind the shooting, indicating that the gunman was known to police but did not have a criminal background. On Sunday, things got clearer for the authorities, who announced that the shooting is investigated as a terror act.

Far-right and anti-immigrant views

According to Rune Skjold, the acting chief of the police operation, the suspect «appeared to hold far-right and anti-immigrant views and had expressed sympathy for Vidkun Quisling, the leader of Norway's collaborationist government during the Nazi occupation».

The gunman was even inspired by the Christchurch terror attacks, which killed more than 50 people in New Zealand, and praised the Australian man who carried the attack in March. In fact, the suspect has even described the Christchurch attacks as «amusing» a few hours before the attack.

The Norwegian is now charged with attempted murder over the shooting and accused of killing his step-sister, whose dead body was found on the same day of the attack in his apartment.

Speaking to TV2, the mosque’s director Ifran Mushtaq said that the government had to do something about it. «For so many years, the secret police say the Muslims are the biggest risk for this country, but if you look at those last two major incidents of terrorist activities, it's not Muslims who have done this», he said.

According to BBC, the Islamic Council in Norway sees this attack as the «result of a long-lasting hate of Muslims that has been allowed to spread in Norway».

In fact, this is not the first attack that is motivated by supremacist and far-right ideologies. Last week, the Hispanic community in the United States was wrecked by a terror attack, that killed 22 people in a Walmart store.

Norwegian authorities reassure the Muslim community

The Baerum attack took place only days before Eid al-Adha festivities. In this context, the Norwegian Minister of Justice, Jøran Kallmyr, stressed that local authorities and their security services are doing «everything they can to ensure that all Muslims in Norway can celebrate [this holiday] in peace and in a safe environment».

«It is very important to stress that everyone should be able to practice their religion in Norway safely and that we strongly condemn all forms of attacks against this right, whether it is targeting a mosque, a synagogue or a church», he added.

Speaking to media, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg also condemned the attack by expressing support for those targeted and their loved ones and saying that the Muslim community in Norway must «be able to commemorate this religious celebration in serenity».

«It is primordial for us that all the people of Norway, Muslims, Christians or others, feel safe in our society», she said, adding that strong security measures have been implemented to accompany Muslims during Eid.

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