Norway attacks shock, disgust Europe
Updated: 2011-07-23 22:29
BERLIN - The deadly twin attacks in Norway were greeted with an outpouring Saturday of sympathy and disgust across Europe and beyond, and generated calls to counter the far-right intolerance that may have motivated the assailant.
A massive bombing Friday in the heart of Oslo was followed by a horrific shooting spree on an island hosting a youth retreat for the prime minister's center-left party. The same man, a Norwegian with reported Christian fundamentalist, anti-Muslim views, was suspected in both attacks.
"It appears the attack on the Utoya youth camp was intended to hurt young citizens who actively engage in our democratic and political society," said Thorbjorn Jagland, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe and chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded each year in Oslo.
"But we must not be intimidated," he added. "We need to work for freedom and democracy every day."
"That the perpetrator apparently comes from the far-right scene shows once again how dangerous racist and anti-foreigner ideologies are," Germany's opposition Greens said in a statement. "We must not allow them an inch of space in our societies."
Pope Benedict XVI's envoy to Norway called the attacks "madness."
"All these actions are irrational and difficult to comprehend, whether they had personal or political reasons," Archbishop Paul Tscherrig, the apostolic nuncio, told Vatican Radio.
He added that the Catholic Church is praying for the victims, who will be remembered during Sunday Mass.
European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek expressed shock at the targeting of youths at a political party camp.
"This is an unimaginable tragedy for the families who lost their loved ones, young people at the outset of their adult life, fascinated with public service," he said. "It's shocking how one can inflict so much evil."
Pakistan, which has been a frequent target of attacks by Islamic extremists, said its president and prime minister "strongly condemned" the attacks.
"Pakistan itself has suffered enormously from terrorist attacks and fully empathizes with the government and the people of Norway," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.