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'Christian terrorist' unapologetic in court

By Starla Muhammad -Staff Writer- | Last updated: May 2, 2012 - 9:59:51 PM

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Trial of Norwegian racial terror suspect re-opens debate about European bias and hatred

( - Day three of the criminal trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the lone gunman who carried out what has been called the most heinous massacre in Norway’s history, wrapped up April 18 with the defendant on the stand.

Prosecutors questioned Mr. Breivik for a second day and he testified that his violent actions were inspired by Serb nationalists, according to media reports.

Mr. Breivik is on trial for the brutal July 22, 2011 killings of a total of 77 people, eight of whom died in an explosion in Oslo and 69, mostly teenagers, were gunned down at a camp in Utoya.

“I would do it again,” Mr. Breivik told the court during his first day on the stand.

Dressed in a dark suit and sporting a thin beard, Mr. Breivik smiled as a guard removed his handcuffs in the crowded court room. The 33-year-old then flashed a salute before shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials.

“I don’t recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism,” Mr. Breivik said in his first comments to the court.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed Mr. Breivik reportedly took part in discussions online with anti-Islamic groups and blamed the religion for the increased non-White and immigrant presence in Europe.

According to The Independent, Mr. Breivik, 33, criticized Norway’s government and other European governments for “embracing immigration and multiculturalism.”

“Breivik called himself a commander in an anti-communist, anti-Islamic militant resistance movement called the Knights Templar; a group prosecutors and the police say does not exist,” said The Independent.

“He described his actions as being necessary to avoid a Europe-wide civil war between ‘nationalists and internationalists’ ” and said his killing spree came out of “goodness, not evil.”

Mr. Brevik was determined competent to stand trial and has said he is not insane. Investigators said he acted alone.

“I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt,” he told the court, insisting he acted in self-defense.

The key issue to be resolved during the 10-week trial is the state of Mr. Breivik’s mental health, which will decide whether he is sent to prison or into psychiatric care. Anxious to prove he is not insane, Mr. Brevik will call right-wing extremists and radical Islamists to testify during the trial, to show that others also share his view of clashing civilizations.

While most analysts’ call the abhorrent actions Mr. Breivik committed an isolated incident, others said his viewpoints could be signs that a growing White Supremacist and anti-Muslim sentiment could lead to more attacks based on history.

According to Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks (MAMA), Muslims in the United Kingdom have been victims of violent attacks for years, prompting the need for a national reporting mechanism to record such incidents. The growing attack against Islam and anti-immigrant stance espoused by Mr. Breivik is more common in Europe than many think, note analysts.

“It’s not isolated. It’s something that happens time and time again. The track record of White people doing sporadic mass murders like this has been documented extensively and it’s been repeated extensively over the last 30 years,” said Hughie Rose, UK representative for the New Black Panther Party.

“There’s not a time in history where they don’t repeat these types of actions,” added Mr. Rose.

In 2010, Peter Mangs, a 38-year-old Swedish man, was charged for a series of shooting sprees that lasted over a year in Malmo, Sweden in which one person died and several more were injured. The victims were all “of immigrant backgrounds.”

According to The Telegraph, 40 percent of Malmo’s 300,000 residents are first or second generation immigrants and the 2010 shooting spree was the result of growing tensions over immigration.

The far-right Sweden Democrats entered Parliament for the first time in the Sept. 19 election—winning 20 of the 349 seats.

“Their support is strongest in Southern Sweden, including pockets of Malmo, where some ethnic Swedes blame a high crime rate on the influx of immigrants from the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa. While investigators won’t speculate on the motive, Swedish media have drawn parallels to a racist gunman who terrorised immigrants in Stockholm in the early 1990s,” said an article.

Mr. Breivik praised Mr. Mangs as well as suspects in other European right-wing extremist attacks, including Uwe Boehnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and Beate Zschaepe, who are suspects in the killings eight people of Turkish descent, a Greek man and a policewoman in Germany between 2000 and 2007, reported The Independent.

In Belgium an anti-Immigrant, anti-Muslim website was recently launched by right-wing party Vlaams Belang asking people to report crimes committed by immigrants or Muslims.

According to PressTV, the site is the latest example of growing anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe. “Recently, a conservative party in the Netherlands launched a similar website. But such attitudes are no longer limited to right wing parties, France, Britain, and Germany are cracking down on immigrants, illegal and otherwise, who refuse to assimilate and are the major cause of soaring crime rates,” said PressTV.

As the trial of Mr. Breivik continues concerns on the media coverage have also been raised.

Mr. Rose questions mainstream media’s coverage of the Breivik trial and questions what coverage would be like if he was Muslim or non-White.

“As far as I know we don’t have any track record in this country or America where Black people have done this on a mass scale … this seems to be White supremacy acting out some mindset,” said Mr. Rose.

If an Asian had committed the crime said Mr. Rose, the first thing the media would have reported is that it was an “Islamic terrorist threat” or “it was an Islamic radical.”

“We never heard the media talk about this Christian terrorist, because what he committed was terrorism,” he added.

In an online commentary on entitled, “What if Anders Breivik were Muslim,” Paul Oliver noted media generally portray Mr. Breivik as a violent sociopath.

“That may be true, but had a Muslim done the same thing, the conversation would be radically different. The focus would be on group identity, such as religion or terrorist groups, rather than the individual,” wrote Mr. Oliver in the 2011 article.

“What is clear is that violent actions, taken independently, are not sufficient to engender fear and anger throughout a population. The West is not discussing the risk of Christian terrorism. Instead, Westerners recognize that Breivik is an anomaly who does not represent Judeo-Christian values despite his protestations otherwise, and right-wing Christians do not see the need to ask introspective questions about the impact of the attack on their beliefs,” he wrote.

“They simply do not see Breivik as a member of their group despite Breivik’s very public and overt efforts to associate with them,” added Mr. Oliver.

“There’s a double standard here that Whites use and a double standard that the media uses because I’m still waiting to hear because this guy has obviously got an affinity with Christianity, but we haven’t heard the media drum up that this is a Christian far-right wing terrorist,” said Mr. Rose.

The trial for Mr. Breivik is estimated to last 10 weeks.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

Related news:

Tragedy in Norway borne out of seeds of racism and intolerance in UK, EU (FCN, 08-16-2011)

Violence blooms from Europe's seeds of hate (FCN, 08-10-2011)