Philip Manshaus, the perpetrator of the recent attack on a mosque near Oslo, will be tried under Norway’s anti-terror laws. Manshaus, who supports white supremacist ideology, entered the Al-Noor Islamic Center in Baerum, on the outskirts of Oslo, on Saturday August 10 with multiple guns and a helmet mounted camera to record the incident.
Manshaus was tackled by a 65-year-old man attending the prayer service. Others present in the building joined him and managed to disarm and subdue Manshaus, until the police reached the site. It was later found that his step-sister, who was born in China and adopted by his step-mother, was also murdered on the same day as the attack. Manshaus remains the prime suspect for the girl’s murder.
The shooter was presented to court with bruised eyes and other wounds, speculated to have been sustained while he was being held down inside the mosque. The police have since found that Manshaus is an outspoken Nazi sympathizer, with racist statements and posts running through his social media profiles. He is also reported to be an admirer of Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian military officer who was at the head of the fascist government in Norway as minister-president during the period of occupation under Nazi Germany.
While neo-Nazi and fascist sympathizers are less common in Norway as compared to elsewhere is Europe, the growing phenomenon has drawn the attention of the media and government. The attacks carried out in July 2011 by neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik where 77 people were killed are still fresh in the mind of many in Norway. Since then, anti-immigration sentiments have been noted to gain traction in the country, illustrated by the rise of right-wing anti-immigration Progress Party, that is now in a coalition with the Conservative Party-led government.