At the end of his trial, the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik was deemed sufficiently sane to be imprisoned. But the process and outcome, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen, open another question: will Norway now use the opportunity to deal with its inner demons, namely the sources of Breivik's hatred of a culturally diverse new country?
Now that the
legal question of Anders Breivik’s sanity has been resolved it should be
possible to focus more closely on his political motivation and the security
lessons that arise from this case. This should help inform a debate about how
best to tackle the growing problem of far right violence in Europe and the US
The Norwegian penal law is one of
the very few in the world that adheres to what is referred to as the medical principle. The medical principle implies that a person with a diagnosis that involves
an active ongoing psychosis should be regarded as insane.
This Friday, Norwegian
terrorist Anders Behring Breivik hears his verdict. It will do little to
console the wreckage of the living. A writer who covered the events and the
court case reflects on the impossibility of justice.
The threat of far right terrorism and political violence ought to be taken at least as seriously as the radical Islamic one. Obstacles include the false belief that far right violence is local and not globally connected.
Our Editor-in-Chief launches a new front page feature. His first note reflects on Norway's past year and the need for eternal vigilance both against online hate speech and the new manacles on internet freedom in the pipeline.
Populist right-wing politicians expressing extreme
views on immigration, Islam and Muslims, have in general been confronted in the
mediated public spheres to a much greater extent than before 22/7, as have
extreme-right wingers. But how much else has moved on?
Before 9/11, I hardly knew or saw anyone who wore a hijab or a long beard. Over the past decade, this has changed, partly because many Muslims, young people in particular, do not feel accepted and often find themselves on the periphery of society. We must not let Utøya lead to further division when the opportunity of living togther in Norway is so inspiring.
The legal procedure in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the Norwegian massacre of July 2011, is a case-study of democratic values - in particular, that democracy is not a "what" but a "how", saysThomas Hylland Eriksen.
The immediate reactions to the terrorist attack in Oslo in July 2011 were both politicised and inaccurate. The opening of the perpetrator's trial nine months later finds leading ideological positions still full of evasion, says Cas Mudde.
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