Oslo church wants to remove 22 July memorial

Oslo's church council has been attacked for attempting to remove a sculpture commemorating the victims of Anders Breivik's 2011 twin terror attacks.

Oslo church wants to remove 22 July memorial
The Oslo church council is adamant that the heart must eventually be removed. Photo: Oslo Church

The sculpture, a heart with the inscription '…greatest of all is love', stands in a park outside Oslo Cathedral.

It is the only memorial to the bombing of the government quarters and the Utøya massacre in Oslo and a place of remembrance for many who were affected by the attacks.

Lisbeth Kristine Røyneland, chairman of a support group for victims of the attack, is shocked by the news that the council planned to remove the sculpture.

“I think it is very strange, especially considering that we don't have an official memorial in Oslo yet. The heart should remain,” Røyneland told Norway's Dagbladet newspaper.

“When I am in that part of the city, I often visit the heart. It is an important place for all who were affected by the terror on 22 July.”

In a letter to the artist Espen Hilde, who made the heart shortly after the attacks in 2011, the church council said that it must be removed immediately.

“We have started work on improving the park, and a permanent 'memorial sculpture' is is not appropriate in the park,” the council wrote, giving him a deadline of 1 September to remove the work. 

After a protest from the artist and others, the council has agreed to leave the sculpture standing for now.

“The heart will not be removed on Tuesday this week. The artist has said that he won't do it and and we have taken note of that. The heart will stay for a little while longer, maybe a year. That's OK with us,” Robert Wright, a member of the council, told Dagbladet.  “But it cannot be there forever. We are very clear about that.”

Labour Party youth leader Mani Hussaini said he hoped the sculpture could stay.

“I don't know the details of the plan to develop the park at the Cathedral, but I hope that the sculpture can stay there in future. If the sculpture is removed I hope it can be placed somewhere else so that people can continue to put down flowers and light candles.” 


Norway mosque shooter ‘has admitted the facts’: Police

A Norwegian man suspected of killing his step sister and opening fire in a mosque near Oslo last weekend, has admitted to the crimes though he has not officially entered a plea, police said on Friday.

Norway mosque shooter 'has admitted the facts': Police
Philip Manshaus appears in court on August 12. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB Scanpix / AFP
Philip Manshaus, 21, was remanded in custody Monday, suspected of murder and a “terrorist act” that police say he filmed himself committing.
Answering police questions on Friday, “the suspect admits the facts but has not taken a formal position as to the charges,” Oslo police official Pal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said in a statement.
Manshaus is suspected of murdering his 17-year-old step sister Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, before entering the Al-Noor mosque in an affluent Oslo suburb and opening fire before he was overpowered by a 65-year-old man.
Just three worshippers were in the mosque at the time, and there were no serious injuries.
Manshaus appeared in court this week with two black eyes and scrapes and bruises to his face, neck and hands.
Police have said he has “extreme right views” and “xenophobic positions” and that he had filmed the mosque attack with a camera mounted on a helmet. He had initially denied the accusations.
The incident came amid a rise in white supremacy attacks around the world, including the recent El Paso massacre in the United States.
Norway witnessed one of the worst-ever attacks by a rightwing extremist in July 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik, who said he feared a “Muslim invasion”, killed 77 people in a truck bomb blast near government offices in Oslo and a shooting spree at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utøya.