As day three of the trial against Anders Behring Breivik drew to a close, it had become clear that the Norwegian court is dealing with a man of much conviction and few friends. The mass murderer who killed 77 people in three hours showed no remorse and, despite claiming affinity with everyone from David Cameron and the National Socialist Underground to a secret international organisation called the Knights Templar, there is no proof that Breivik received assistance or encouragement from anyone.
Yet blame is being wildly apportioned, with everyone from Breivik’s divorced parents to right-wing Scandinavian politicians and Zionists being called to step up and offer a mea culpa. It seems it is not just Breivik but society itself that is on trial in Oslo and some are taking this as an opportunity to argue for clamping down on their particular political foes.
In The Times (London), a professor of developmental psychology speculated that Breivik’s parents’ divorce and his lack of contact with his father could have played a role in him turning into a (to put it in layman’s terms) deranged adult. In Norway, there have been claims that the widespread disgust for Breivik’s actions is not matched by disgust for his xenophobic motives. This is evidenced, apparently, by racist comments in online forums and by the Norwegian government rejecting asylum seekers from Ethiopia.
In neighbouring Sweden, the right-wing Sweden Democrat party has been lambasted for inspiring the kind of Islamophobia espoused by Breivik. One commentator even wrote that Breivik’s hour-long statement to the court might as well have been read out at the Sweden Democrats’ party congress.
In the UK, anti-racists have said that Breivik may have acted alone but he was nevertheless inspired by ‘anti-jihadists’, who must therefore be held to account. As per the group Hope Not Hate‘s definition, these anti-jihadists include neo-conservatives, Christian evangelicals, football hooligans, Zionists and ex-leftists.