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Will Breivik attack change Norway?

Norway's leaders and the public say they are committed to protecting their vaunted 'open society.' But even though attacker Anders Breivik was Norwegian, the immigration issue could heat up.

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The terror attacks did heighten security in the capital, but Norwegian officials have sought to allay fears over more attacks or any longer-term clampdown. Some change, however, may be forthcoming.

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An independent commission to review response to attacks

An independent commission will examine both the bombing and the assault on Utoya and review the actions taken by authorities. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has called for the full inquiry in the hopes of learning how to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Iver Neumann, a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, says what little violence Norway experienced in the past was generally traced back to the extreme right. Most cases were minor, isolated incidents and few ever dreamed such a large-scale attack could take place in Norway. "It was immediately clear this was a political act," he said of the killings.

Some experts say the attacks will force the issue of immigration to the surface. Norway has seen a rise in immigration, like many European countries, with the number of newcomers doubling since 1995.

In a 1,500-page manifesto published online prior to the attacks, Breivik wrote: "The problem can only be solved if we completely remove those who follow Islam. In order to do this all Muslims must 'submit' and convert to Christianity.... If they refuse to do this voluntarily prior to Jan. 1, 2020, they will be removed from European soil and deported back to the Islamic world."

Politicians have debated the issue in the past but the attacks will probably renew an interest in finding a consensus on the issue.

"There is a frustration out there" that immigration isn't being discussed enough, says Thomas Eriksen, a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo. He said outright racism is rare in Norway but that there has been a creeping Islamophobia in Norwegian society.

Many, however, have privately breathed a sigh of relief over the fact that the perpetrator was not an immigrant or Muslim. They worried an attack by Muslim extremists would only bolster a growing skepticism toward foreigners or prompt acts of retribution against Norway's some 450,000-strong immigrant community.

Instead of crippling Norway's largest political party, the attacks have earned the governing Labour Party an outpouring of support. A recent poll gave Mr. Stoltenberg high marks, with 94 percent of those questioned saying he has handled the aftermath of the terrorist attacks either "well" or "extremely well."

Amid the national tragedy, many say they feel more united than ever.

"We were close to each other. We were hugging with people we didn't know; we were talking to people that we didn't know," says Meron Mengis, a high school student, describing one of Oslo's many public memorial ceremonies. "Everybody was crying together and I think that was something that the man who did this wouldn't have expected."

Watch video of this youth camp shooting survivor thankful for police help and ready to make peace:


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