Trial begins of far-right terrorist accused of attacking Al-Noor Islamic Centre in Norway

Norwegians standing in solidarity outside an Islamic Cultural Centre after the far-right terrorist attack on Al-Noor Islamic Centre in Bærum, Norway, in August 2019.

Today was the start of the trial against Norwegian far-right terrorist, Philip Manshaus. The 22-year-old is accused of murdering his stepsister Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, on 10 August, 2019, who was adopted from China. He is also accused of then storming the Al-Noor Mosque in Bærum, a suburb of Oslo, with firearms. 

Thanks to the quick reaction of a 65-year-old worshipper no one was killed. Only the retired Pakistani Air Force officer Mohammed Rafiq sustained minor injuries while overpowering the attacker.

Nazi salutes and far-right ideologies

Upon his arrest Manshaus declared he was inspired by Brenton Tarrant, who had murdered 51 people when he attacked a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15 March 2019. He also previously referred to Tarrant as a “Saint”.

During preliminary court hearings Manshaus said his actions were motivated by a hatred of multiculturalism and the need to protect his people from other races based on white supremacist ideas. His statement evokes the far-right conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement”, an alleged plan to replace the white population of western civilisations with predominantly Muslim migrants. 

Manshaus regularly gave the Nazi salute when he entered the court. Today he broke his habit by making a white power sign upon entering.

Today’s hearing

During today’s hearing he repeated previously stated far-right and white suprematist ideologies. He argued that everyone interested in understanding his motives should read Tarrant’s manifesto detailing the so-called “genocide” of white people 

Manshaus acknowledged the facts presented demonstrating his guilt but pleaded not guilty. And, what’s more, he apologised for not doing more harm.

Links to the NMR

Another important aspect of today’s hearing was Manshaus’ links to the far-right Nordic Resistance Movement. He had been trying to become a member and had gone through the interview process. At the time of the attack he was awaiting approval of his membership application.

A member of the NMR will be questioned as the trial continues.

Featured image via Twitter – Noor Andrè Zamir


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