UN human rights expert criticises media for linking Norway attacks to Islamist terrrorism

Media reports that initially linked the killing spree in Norway to possible Islamist terrorism were “revealing” and “embarrassing” examples of prejudice, a UN human rights expert said Tuesday.

“The way in which some public commentators immediately associated the horrifying mass murder in Norway last Friday with Islamist terrorism is revealing and indeed an embarrassing example of the powerful impact of prejudices and their capacity to enshrine stereotypes,” said Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

“Proper respect for the victims and their families should have precluded the drawing of conclusions based on pure conjecture,” said Bielefeldt, who is an independent and non-paid rapporteur based in Geneva.

dpa, 26 July 2011