Advice to the Norwegian government following the Oslo terrorist attacks

Richard Jackson, professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University and an expert on terrorism and political violence, offers some advice to the prime minister of Norway.

Your security forces should start by immediately profiling young, white Christian men, especially if they have blonde hair (the Oslo bomber, Anders Behring Breivik, was blond; it could be a factor). Call them in to their local police stations for in-depth questioning, and stop them randomly at airports and train stations. They should be quizzed on how often they go to church, what websites they visit, what books they read, whether they are members of nationalist groups, and what beliefs they hold. They should be carefully monitored for signs of increasing religiosity and any and all political involvement in demonstrations, protests or letter writing. They should also be made to state their religion before boarding an international flight.

In some cases, where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, it may be necessary to indefinitely detain individual Christians who are deemed to pose a threat to national security, until such a time as they can be safely released back into the community. Control orders may then be necessary to keep tabs on their activities.

You should also put churches under surveillance and monitor the sermons preached and the views expressed by parishioners, as well as any nationalist political parties or groups like the so-called Viking swimmers (they clearly have nationalist tendencies and the ice-swimming may be a kind of paramilitary training). Universities should be encouraged to report the expression of any extreme nationalist or Christian viewpoints, and should discourage Christian fundamentalist speakers from visiting their campuses. Right-wing and Christian fundamentalist websites should be blocked, and new laws should be passed which ban glorifying or promoting extreme nationalism and Christian fundamentalism.

It is also clear that you will need to set up a government-funded counter-radicalisation programme with moderate nationalists and liberal Christian leaders to try and deflect young white men in the Christian and nationalist communities from turning to extremism. Preachers should be encouraged to speak out against fundamentalism and nationalism, and to demonstrate their loyalty to Western values. It is clear that nationalism and Christianity are the conveyor belts of violent extremism; non-violent Christian fundamentalism leads directly to violent fundamentalism and terrorism.

richardjacksononterrorismblog, 23 July 2011