OSLO - Following the painful testimony of Islamophobic murderer Anders Behring Breivik, Norwegian Muslims are shocked with the horrifying account of his cold-blooded murder, saying it could serve as a wakeup call to the dangers of far-right rhetoric.
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, says 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-murderer anti-Muslim Breivik, who killed at least 76 people in twin attacks on a government building and a youth training camp in Oslo last year.
As the trial started on April 16, he admitted his actions, pleading not guilty.
Last Friday, the 33-year-old spent hours detailing his massacre on the Utoya island, describing how he shot whole groups of young people with his rifle.
He said that his killings were justified to fight a Muslim invasion of Europe that is being permitted by political organizations that support a multicultural society.
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 Tuesday.
Though rejected by mainstream Norwegians, his testimony was worrying to some Muslims who feared the repetition of these crimes.
We are so sad to hear him. Muslims are not aggressive, insists 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 insists, 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 confessed 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, killing 69.
It's really frightening the way he talks about Muslims, says 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, she said.
Detesting the abhorrent murder, Muslims hope it would send a wakeup call to the Norwegian society on 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 that 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 added that this hateful 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.
Meanwhile, Bessid had warm praise for the Norwegian 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