Many ordinary Norwegians are expressing similar sentiments. At a memorial Tuesday in the World Islamic Mission mosque in Oslo, for example, Pakistani-born Imam Najeeb ur Rehman Naz told the AP, "Everyone realizes that terrorism ... doesn't have anything to do with any religion." Norwegians have also responded with flowers--so many, in fact, that Oslo's florists have run out of roses. "Tens of thousands of Norwegians have rejected the suspect's anti-immigrant rhetoric, laying thousands of flowers around the capital in mourning," the AP notes. Norway's Aftenposten reports that membership in youth political parties is growing robustly in the wake of Friday's shooting, and over 21,000 people have joined a Facebook group calling for record-breaking participation in the country's upcoming election. Indeed, if Norwegians are directing their anger at anyone, it appears to be Fox News. An Aftenposten article yesterday noted how Norwegians have been criticizing the U.S. cable network on Facebook and Twitter for initially attributing the Norway attack to Islamic terrorism, and condemning former Fox News host Glenn Beck for comparing the political youth camp that Breivik attacked to a Hitler Youth camp.
To be sure, the days immediately following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, like the days following the Norway shooting, witnessed an outpouring of patriotism, tremendous displays of solidarity, and invocations of national ideals. But these domestic terror attacks also elicited more vengeful responses that, so far, appear to be largely absent in Norway.
Compare Norway's response, for example, to some of the reactions that cropped up in the days after Timothy McVeigh bombed a federal government building in Oklahoma City. The Boston Herald, in an editorial entitled, "Send the Bombers to Hell," reflected on the unknown identity of the assailants: "If law enforcement agencies develop evidence linking this bombing to any government--Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or Iran, or any other--President Clinton should retaliate immediately. He should launch a bombing campaign of such ferocity that the guilty country is rendered militarily helpless." As rumors circulated that Islamic terrorists were behind the assault, mosques around the country began receiving threats. The Kansas City Star noted that "cyberspace"--as it was still called at the time--had become a "cesspool of rumors and insults. Hatred toward minorities spilled out from some computer users."
Even President Clinton showed less composure than Norway's Stoltenberg in the aftermath of the horrendous bombing. Clinton told an aide he had a desire to put his fist "through the television" while watching scenes of the carnage, and the Detroit Free Press described how Clinton's hands were "visibly shaking in anger" when he vowed to hunt down the perpetrator on the day of the attack. A little over a week after the bombing, an editorial in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution criticized Clinton and Congress for rushing to pass an anti-terrorist law that could violate civil liberties. "We've gone through panics like this over and over, and each time have lived to regret our actions," the paper wrote. "By now we should understand that even the most righteous anger--perhaps righteous anger most especially--can be a slyly malicious inspiration."