OSLO - Horrified by the cold-blooded murder by a Norwegian mass killer, Muslims hope that the massacre would serve as a wakeup call to the dangers of hostile rhetoric played by far-right groups.
He is evil. Pure evil. A robot, Sihen Naidja told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in a trembling voice.
Just hearing his name makes me stressed, added the 42-year-old Algerian, straightening her grey headscarf and gripping the hand of her six-year-old daughter Fatima.Muslims Scapegoated In Oslo
Over the past week, Norwegian people have been following the trial of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed at least 76 people in twin attacks on a government building and a youth training camp in Oslo last year.
Detailing the massacre on the Utoya island, the 33-year-old killer described how he shot whole groups of young people with his rifle.
He argued that his killings were justified to fight what he said a Muslim invasion of Europe that is being permitted by political organizations that support multiculturalism.
The Muslim enclaves in Europe will grow as aggressively as cancer until they one day make up a dominant power, the 33-year-old right-wing extremist told the court.
His testimony has angered Norwegian Muslims.
We are so sad to hear him. Muslims are not aggressive, said Mohammed Naji, 50, from behind a table overflowing with electronic gadgets he is offering for sale at the bustling Groenland flea market.
Breivik is alone, he said, stressing that Norway is a country of very kind people. It is so strange that this happened here.
But after the confessed killer spent days spelling out his Islamophobic ideology, Naji started to worry.
Now I am worried. There might be somebody who wants to follow his lead.
Hassana Mazzouj, 36, has been also following the killer's testimony through live reports on the Internet.
But she had to stop Friday when he began describing in detail how he hunted and shot mainly teens attending a summer camp on Utoeya island.
It's really frightening the way he talks about Muslims, said Mazzouj, who is originally from Morocco but who has lived in Norway since 1995.
It is very painful following his testimony, and it is very, very frightening.
Muslims hope that the killer's testimony would send a wakeup call to Norwegian society about the dangers of far-right, anti-Islam rhetoric.
I think it is good and healthy that this comes out, Basim Gozlan, who runs the Norwegian website www.Islam.no, told AFP in a telephone interview.
Gozlan said Breivik built his ideology largely on the basis of Islam-critical writings in the media and online and rumors he has heard about violent Muslims.
This should help show people that this kind of rhetoric can be very, very dangerous, Gozlan said.
It is a wake-up call, and I think many people will moderate the way they talk about these things, he added.
Saber Bessid, a 31-year-old accountant originally from Tunisia, rejected Breivik's claims that he was forced to carry out his bloody attacks because he has been facing systematic censorship in Norway.
It is okay to be against Muslims, Bessid said. But you don't kill people.
I won't agree with you, but there is freedom of expression in Norway. You can carry a sign saying you hate Muslims all over Oslo if you like. This is a democracy, so that is all right.
Bessid said the anti-Muslim rhetoric resulted only in the murder of innocent people.
The people (Breivik) killed were not Muslims, they were simply human beings. Innocent human beings, he said.
There is just no excuse for what he has done. It is so gruesome.
Despite his sadness of the massacre, Bessid praised the public reaction to the attacks which brought the society together.
All of Norway really came together after the attacks. Muslims, Christians, atheists, everybody stood together and said 'No!' to his actions and everything he stands for, he said.I hope God will forgive him.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net