'Remember Breivik's ideological context'

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Labour Party youth wing (AUF) leader Eskil Pedersen. File photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/Scanpix
10:09 CEST+02:00
On the two-year anniversary of the 22/7 terror attacks, the leader of the Labour Party youth wing has said that Norway must not forget the ideological roots of Anders Behring Breivik's extremism by focusing only on the country's capacity to tackle terror attacks.

Eskil Pedersen would like July 22nd to become an international day that marks the fight against racism and right-wing extremism, he told local media in the run-up to the anniversary of July 22nd, 2011, when 77 people lost their lives at the hands of homegrown terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. 

"I am sure that the political aspect of July 22nd will become more prominent in the future," he told the socialist Klassekampen newspaper. 

While he said it was natural for Norwegians to demand that their government make sure the police and the military are well-equipped to handle any future terror attack, he expressed regret that the political debate in Norway had not taken the issue of the ideological climate that inspired Breivik seriously. 

"July 22nd was a political attack. The terror act was an attack on a political party, and the reason fro that attack was the resistance to our politics which are for diversity and a multicultural society," Pedersen said. 

"That is why we must look at July 22nd in a political context."

Pedersen added that none of Norway's established political parties had done a good job tackling extremism or dealing with extreme opinions about immigrants and minorities.

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"The gunman was a racist and an extremist, who spent years planning to stop the Labour Party youth wing's recruitment because of what we stand for in terms of anti-racism and diversity," he told Klassekampen.

"His views also exist in the wider world, they are shared by more people than just him. We can see it in comments fields, and we see it in Europe." 

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