Nightmare in Norway: at least 92 dead, and the question of religion
**Posted by Phineas
How awful for them:
Norwegian police said Saturday that the death toll from Friday’s attacks has risen to 92 and confirmed that they have arrested a suspect whom they described as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.
In a news conference Saturday morning in Oslo, police confirmed that they had arrested Anders Behring Breivik, 32, on suspicion of orchestrating both the Oslo bombing and the youth-camp shooting rampage and had begun searching two apartments that he owns.
Breivik reportedly owns four properties including a farm on the outskirts of Oslo, allegedly to enable him to store legally a large amount of fertilizer.
Police would not comment on whether he acted alone but said no other arrests have been made. They said Breivik had no criminal record.
They would not speculate on his motives, but said, based own his own Twitter and Facebook accounts, he appeared to be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.
Police say he was arrested by security forces at the Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya after the shootings. They said 84 people were killed on the island. At least seven were killed in the Oslo bombing.
Police Chief Oystein Maeland told reporters that they could not confirm the number of victims would stop at 92, adding that the attack had reached “catastrophic dimensions.”
He said officers were still “looking in the water around the island for more victims.”
It appears Breivik stalked the island for an hour-and-a-half, shooting the teens wherever he found them. The survivor accounts in the rest of the article are just horrifying. And there’s something dreadfully wrong with Norwegian law if the worst he can face is only 21 years in prison.
The issue of “why” remains unresolved and it likely won’t be settled for weeks, though it bears resemblances to both the attack on the Murragh Building in Oklahoma City for its anti-government angle and the massacre of children that occurred at Columbine and Dunblane.
The role of religion as motive is obviously going to play a role, however. Yesterday I hypothesized that this might have been an act of jihad — inspired by Islam. I wasn’t alone in my speculation, as the pattern of the attack fit previous jihadist operations: near-simultaneous attacks aimed at mass casualties (Bali, London, Madrid), the focus on children (Beslan), and a history of Islamic terror threats against Norway, including threats to kill government officials. Violent jihad is central to Islam. And lest anyone say that, even if this were an act of jihad, Islam wouldn’t permit the killing of innocent children, let me point out that Muhammad himself defined “innocent child” differently than we.
Now it appears that a narrative is building that this sociopath acted out of “Christian fundamentalism,” whatever that is. If that takes hold, and I say this as a thoroughly secular person, it would be grossly unfair and a slander against religious Christians because, unlike Islam, their faith forbids just this kind of action and makes it a mortal sin. The Fifth Commandment is, “You shall not murder.”
In other words, for Breivik to do what he did here or, more locally, for a Christian to gun down an abortionist, he necessarily acts against his religion. Not so with the jihadist, and I can see another false equivalence being created that needs to be pushed back against for the sake of moral and intellectual clarity and truth.
And the core truth at this time is that Breivik, regardless of whatever reason he did this, is an immensely evil human being, and that our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the Norwegian nation in this awful time.
LINKS: More from Power Line and Hot Air, and ST. Also The Anchoress.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)