Oslo – When terror struck Oslo, many in the West’s first response was to blame Muslims. In pubs and on the streets of Oslo, girls wearing headscarves and boys who looked South Asian were immediately harassed. On Facebook, Muslims and immigration-friendly politicians were slandered. It was only when it was clear that the terrorist was a white, native Norwegian – a Muslim hater and not a Muslim – that the calm, collective reaction my country is generally so proud of began.
For decades, political violence in this country has been almost the sole preserve of a few neo-Nazis and other racist groups. During the 1970s they exploded bombs in left-wing bookstores and at a May Day demonstration. In the 1980s two people were executed for betraying a neo-Nazi group, and in the past two decades, two Norwegian boys – both ethnic minorities – were killed by racist hoodlums.