Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Anders Behring Breivik: Norway’s Homegrown Terrorist

The Madman Is Identified

Breivik did not show any remorse after killing over 70 people, almost half of them teenagers. In fact, he was photographed sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car smirking.

Anders Breivik

Anders Breivik, in the back of a police car

In case there was any doubt about Breivik’s beliefs and convictions, he told authorities that he had emailed thousands of copies of his manifesto, “2083–A European Declaration of Independence.” The manifesto was a 1,500-page document that articulated years hatred that had festered inside Breivik for Muslims, and was a call to arms to his fellow Christian Europeans to take back Europe from the Islamists and Europe’s leftwing governments. He also had posted a rambling diatribe about his beliefs on YouTube, which has since been removed.

The Seeds of Hatred

Breivik’s mother Wenche Behring, a registered nurse, left London with Breivik when he was one and her daughter Elisabeth from a previous marriage. They moved into an apartment in Oslo where Breivik would live with his mother while growing up, and for most of his adult life. She eventually married an officer in the Norwegian army.

Anders Breivik, young

Anders Breivik, young

Breivik’s father later married fellow embassy worker Tove Overmo. They moved to Paris where he took another job with the Norwegian embassy and Tove worked as vice consul. A bitter custody battle over Breivik ensued, as the father claimed that he could offer his infant son Breivik a more stable home environment in Paris than his ex-wife could as a single mother in Oslo.

The Norwegian court sided with the mother, but granted the father visitation rights during school holidays. Breivik then regularly visited his father and stepmother in Paris and at their summer cottages in the Normandy region of France, and in Norway, until they divorced when he was 12.

During this high school years, Breivik became infatuated with hip-hop music and learned firsthand about what he said was Islam’s culture of violence in the name of Jihad against helpless fellow Norwegians.

Breivik paints a bizarre picture in his manifesto of his Oslo neighborhood during the 1990s. He claimed Muslims routinely preyed on helpless Norwegian youths, whom he claims remain pacified and unable to fight back because of the laws in place to enforce tolerance towards immigrants. Breivik claimed to have witnessed 50 such attacks.

Ironically, his best friend at the time, Arsalan, was of Pakistani origin. Breivik said his affiliation with Arsalan served to protect him against the wrath of Moslem gangs. He also wrote that Arsalan’s hatred towards the West helped him to realize the importance of remaining true to one’s roots and origins. Breivik said he stopped hanging out with Arsalan and a few other high school friends in the group when they started using drugs.

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