When explosions rocked Norway, media across the world seemed to take it for granted that Islamic extremists were behind the attacks. Even as rumors of the mass killing from the country rose, they clung to the theme. Newspapers reasoned that the tactics seemed to be indicative of Al Qaeda attacks and most pointed out that Norway had already been dealing with homegrown terrorists.
The Associated Press was one such news provider, preemptively pointing a finger at an Iraq-born cleric who had issued death threats to Norwegian politicians after terror charges were filed against him by a Norwegian prosecutor.
Most of the world was stunned when it came to light that the real perpetrator of the attacks – which left more than 70 dead – was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, native Norwegian by the name of Anders Behring Breivik. Not only was Breivik not linked to Al Qaeda, he actively despised anyone who considered Muslims equals.
In a 1,500-page manifesto that decried how Norwegian leaders hadn't contained the Islamic influence in the country, he called Muslims "wild animals," according to The Atlantic. The whole document had a very high pro-Western theme.
Al Jazeera reports that the attacks do come at a time when rightwing sentiment in Norway and other countries threatens the peace and security of the millions of Muslims who do live in the nations.
"Norway, like many other European countries, where anti-immigrant groups have gained significant ground in recent elections, is swinging further to the right. Its Progress Party has been getting stronger, with some elements in the party seeking tougher immigration laws. In 2009, it called for the deportation of parents whose children wear the hijab to school," the news provider reports.
Spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, pointed out that, unless something had been committed by Muslims, it was never referred to as terrorism. Instead, the individual was considered an isolated madman.