Norway victims reflect diversity suspect despised
OSLO, Norway (AP) – A dreadlocked teenage musician who made it onto a television talent show. A secretary who might have survived if her bicycle hadn’t been in the shop. A gentle young man whose last phone conversation with his father broke off with the words, “Dad, someone is shooting.”
All were among the 76 victims of Friday’s bombing in downtown Oslo and the island summer-camp shooting spree that followed. Police officially released the first four names Tuesday, and Norwegian media published the names and photos of some of the other victims. At least some were immigrants or their descendants – the people whose presence in Norway fueled the hatred of the ethnic Norwegian accused in the attacks.
Tens of thousands of Norwegians have rejected the suspect’s rhetoric, laying thousands of flowers around the capital in mourning. Entire streets were awash in flowers, and Oslo’s florists ran out of roses.
Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere attended a packed memorial Tuesday in the World Islamic Mission mosque in Oslo. After the ceremony, Pakistani-born Imam Najeeb ur Rehman Naz said the massacre had brought Norwegian residents of all backgrounds closer together.
“Everyone realizes that terrorism and this kind of activity doesn’t have anything to do with any religion,” he told the AP. “They are individuals who can be found in any community who don’t represent the majority at all.”
Many of those killed were involved in the ruling Labor Party, which suspect Anders Behring Breivik rails against in his manifesto for allowing Muslims to immigrate to Norway.
One of the 68 victims on the island of Utoya was Gunnar Linaker, a regional secretary of the party’s youth wing, which organized the camp there.
His father, Roald, called the 23-year-old from the northern village of Bardu “a calm, big teddy bear with lots of humor and lots of love.”
A lover of the outdoors and a devoted Labor Party member, Gunnar Linaker had been to the annual Utoya camp several times and had taken leave from his political-science studies at the university in the northern city of Tromsoe to work full time in politics, his father said.
His voice weak and trembling, Roald Linaker said he was on the phone with his son when the shooting started: “He said to me: ‘Dad, dad, someone is shooting,’ and then he hung up.”
That was the last he heard from his son. Gunnar Linaker was wounded and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died on Saturday. His 17-year-old sister also was at the camp but survived, Roald Linaker said. He declined to speak any further.
Police identified Gunnar Linaker and three victims of the bombing: Tove Aashill Knutsen, 56, Hanna M. Orvik Endresen, 61, and Kai Hauge, 33.
Police, whose response to the attacks has been criticized, say they’re being cautious in releasing the names and are making sure families are notified and approve.
Knutsen, a secretary with the electricians and information technology workers’ union, had left the office and was on her way to a subway station when the bomb exploded in Oslo’s government office quarter, union head Hans Felix said.
Normally Knutsen would go to and from work on her bicycle, but earlier that day she had left it at a repair shop.
“It wasn’t finished, so this day she had to take the subway home. Tove never got home,” Felix said. “Tove was a happy girl who was well liked by us all, and it feels unreal that she is no longer with us.”
Hauge owned a downtown Oslo bar and restaurant that was dark Tuesday. A flower arrangement outside the bar included notes from friends and a photo of him. A note beside the locked front door, handwritten in black marker, read: “Closed due to death.”
The national newspaper Dagbladet posted the names and photos of 30 people it said were killed in the attacks or missing. The information, apparently received from friends or relatives, showed three victims who did not appear to be ethnic Norwegians, including Ismail Haji Ahmed, who the newspaper said had recently appeared on the “Norway’s Talents” television show. Another, reported as missing, was a 20-year-old native of Iraq, Jamil Rafal Yasin.
Breivik has confessed to the attacks, according to police and his lawyer, but he has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer said Breivik sees himself as a warrior and savior of the Western world, and is likely insane.
Norwegian news agency NTB said police detonated explosives at Breivik’s farm about 100 miles north of Oslo on Tuesday. Breivik said in his manifesto that he rented the farm and created a fake business there as cover for ordering six metric tons of fertilizer – an integral component of the Oslo bomb.