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Oslo mosque terror suspect remanded in custody

30th Aug 2019

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Norwegian man suspected of terror attack on a mosque near Oslo and of killing his teenage stepsister appeared in court on August 12, where he was remanded in custody for four weeks with no visitation, mail or media access.

21-year-old Philip Manshaus appeared in Oslo District Court with bruises on his face, neck and hands, probably obtained when he was overpowered at the mosque on August 10. Police say he has extreme right and xenophobic views.

Manshaus is formally suspected of murdering his 17-year-old stepsister Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen who was Chinese origin, and of a terrorist act at the Al-Noor mosque, allegations he has rejected.

Manshaus is accused of entering the mosque on the eve of Eid Al-Adha in the suburb of Bærum armed with at least two weapons and opening fire before being overpowered by a 65-year-old man who suffered minor injuries. Just three worshippers were in the mosque at the time (4 pm) when the suspect shot his way through the locked door.

Imran Mushtaq, a board member at the Al-Noor mosque, told public broadcaster NRK that more than a dozen people were praying inside the mosque just 10 minutes before the suspect arrived.

Hours after the attack, the body of Manshaus’17-year-old adopted stepsister was found in a home in Bærum. Norway’s intelligence service Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste (PST) confirmed it had received a tip about Manshaus a year ago. “The tip was pretty vague and was not indicative of any imminent terrorism plot,” PST Chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold said.

Police did however confirm that they had spoken with Manshaus previously because of his online behaviour. PST, which said it receives a large number of similar tips, has not raised the threat alert level in Norway from the current low level.

Shortly before the mosque attack, a person identifying himself as Philip Manshaus, had posted a message on the EndChan forum calling for a ‘race war’ to be taken from the internet into real life.

The author said he was selected by ‘saint Tarrant’, a reference to the New Zealand mosque terror attack suspect Brenton Tarrant, accused of killing 51 people in attacks in March.

Manshaus has also praised Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II.
The shooting follows a rise in white supremacist attacks, including the recent El Paso massacre in the US.

According to NRK, he reportedly became “very religious” and adopted increasingly extreme rightwing views. Norway was the scene of one of the worst-ever attacks by a far-right extremist in July 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik, who said he feared a Muslim invasion, killed 77 people in a shooting spree.

The Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, condemned the attack. Solberg and Abid Raja, a Liberal Norwegian politician, spoke together on the day of the attack, assuring the public that places of worship should be safe and calling for plans to break down Islamophobia in the country.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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