The person arrested at the scene of the mass shooting in Oslo on Friday night that cost the lives of two men, has been named. He is Zaniar Matapour, who was born in the Iranian controlled region of Kurdistan, and had come to Norway as a refugee at the age of 12.
Matapour was known to the Norwegian intelligence service, PST, who immediately described the attack as an “act of Islamic terrorism.”
This was on the basis of Matapour’s having shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ prior to opening fire, and an apparent connection to Arfan Bhatti, who is of Pakistani origin and posted social media messages on June 14 calling for the murder of gay people.
Matapour and Bhatti, in common with quite a number of the Islamic terrorists who have been charged and convicted in relation to attacks in other European countries, began their criminal careers as street thugs. Matapour has previous convictions for drug offences and assaults, while Bhatti was convicted of stabbing and shooting people while a member of a gang known as the Young Guns.
The PST will possibly face questions over their apparent view prior to the shootings that Matapour did not pose an “immediate threat.”
There are also surely serious questions to be answered as to why Bhatti, who served just three years for firing shots at a synagogue in Oslo in 2006 and has also been charged and arrested over other serious offences, has spent so little time in prison. The Norwegian courts even lifted a travel ban against him returning from stints with jihadists in Syria and the Afghan Taliban.
The background to the outrage then would appear to be both straightforward and very similar to that which has led to ongoing attacks by Islamists throughout Europe. Yet, there are those who would try to claim that the Oslo attack was somehow related to dysfunctions in Norwegian society or culture. There may well be if the dysfunction being examined is the failure to deal with Islamic extremism. Yet, there are many who, just as happened after the horrific killings in Sligo here, want to use the Islamic attacks as ‘evidence’ of ‘homophobia’ in society in general.
Even more absurdly, a well-known media personality here has made a tenuous link to the Norway shootings and recent media debates on transgender issues on RTÉ’s Liveline radio programme, and presumably a piece written by Éilis O’ Hanlon for the Sunday Independent, which yesterday published a full page of responses, mostly supportive, from readers to Ms O’Hanlon’s assertion that: ‘Women must be free to speak without fear of trans backlash’
Note that Panti-Bliss claims the shootings were a “direct result” of the “moral panic” which was “making its way into mainstream media” in Ireland.
Ironically, the tweet was linked to a Guardian report on the murders which clearly states that the person arrested was a “radicalised Islamist.” Not someone who had imbibed his hatred for gay people in the Norwegian Lutheran Church, or in a single-sex school, or in a “nationalist” skiing club – but someone who was a radical follower of Islam.
Matapour, we can say with some certainty, is extremely unlikely to have been tuning into Joe Duffy after his lunch, or have a subscription to the Sindo, or to have hurled corner back for the Junior Bs. And yet when possibly a not dissimilar event took place in this country several months ago, and when a woman was brutally murdered in Offaly not long before that, some people here including some in prominent positions, made an absurd connection between those horrific events and aspects of Irish culture that had absolutely nothing to do with the murders or the persons suspected and charged with carrying them out.
If the fault for what happened in Oslo, or indeed in Ireland, is any part of the corporate responsibility of either the Norwegian people or the Irish people, then it falls at the feet of the Norwegian and Irish states who have arguably not done enough to protect their own citizens from identifiable threats. Not with parts of the “indigenous” culture, but with the culture that is coming through open borders.