Oslo mosque shooting condemned by public, investigated as terrorist attempt
OSLO, Aug. 11 -- Thousands of Muslims turned out to observe the Eid al-Adha religious holiday in Norway on Sunday, in the wake of a shooting a day before at a mosque in Baerum, west of Oslo, with politicians and the public condemning the attack. A 21-year-old Norwegian gunman entered the Al-Noor Islamic Center on Saturday afternoon and started shooting, wounding one person in the mosque before being controlled and arrested. The young man was said to have been injured as well. On Saturday night, the perpetrator's 17-year-old stepsister was found dead in his home in Baerum, said the police. The suspect was charged with murder of his younger stepsister and attempted murder in the mosque, Norwegian media reported on Sunday. A person with the same name of the perpetrator had published extremist posts on internet before the launch of the assault. Police were investigating the shooting as an attempted terrorist attack. In the aftermath of the shooting, the celebration of Eid al-Adha, also called the "festival of the sacrifice", which was originally planned in Al-Noor Islamic Center, was moved to Thon Hotel in Sandvika, west of Oslo on Sunday morning. The prime minister of Norway said all religious communities should feel safe in this Nordic country. "Today, Muslims all over Norway celebrate Eid al-Adha with their loved ones," Solberg wrote on Twitter. "But the attack on the mosque in Baerum creates fear and unrest. We must fight hatred and anti-Muslim attitudes," she underlined. Audun Lysbakken, leader of Norwegian Socialist party, tweeted: "Today is a holiday and celebration for the Muslims. This year, it is also characterized by fear and anxiety. That is why our solidarity, support and thoughts today are with all Norwegian Muslims. We must show that the community in this country is much stronger than the hatred of a few." The politicians' compassion was echoed by the public. Norwegians Jo Egil Tobiassen and Helge Rena created a Facebook event, encouraging people to gather outside the ICC mosque in Oslo during the morning prayer. "I am not surprised, because these thoughts exist in our country too. It is important that we show that all of us others, who do not have such thoughts, do not recognize ourselves in this," said Tobiassen. Many locals, including Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande and Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen, joined the ring around the mosque to show their solidarity with the Muslims. It is important for people to help keep the Eid al-Adha celebration going as normal, Grande told NRK. "We must show solidarity, but also condemnation of such attacks on mosques. We will stand together now in Oslo outside the mosques, and we should say that it is permissible to celebrate Eid without being afraid," the mayor was quoted as saying. "This is an attack on all the basic Norwegian values," said Zeeshan Shah, a citizen who joined the gathering. "It was really tough for me when I learned what had happened in the mosque I am affiliated with," Saboor Asif, a member of the Muslim community, told NRK. The defendant's online activity has been a topic for the investigation, as several posts were seen published prior to the mosque shooting on an extremist forum by the person with the same name, the police confirmed. "On these forums, there is a cultivation of violence, racism and extremism to the insane level," Tore Bjorgo, professor and head of the Center for Research of Extremism at the University of Oslo, told NRK.