Update: "We Will Not Let These Attacks Change the Inclusiveness of Norway"July 25, 2011 By: Jena Tesse Fox
The smoke has begun to clear in Oslo and Utøya Island in Norway from Friday's deadly attacks. So far, 93 people have been confirmed killed, and hundreds injured, including personal friends of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and the stepbrother of Norway's crown princess Mette-Marit.
The Norwegian Police Service arrested Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian man, for the shootings on Utøya and have charged him with both attacks.
As the country copes with the grief of these attacks, travelers with plans to visit Norway may well be feeling anxious about any upcoming trips. These concerns, say Frode Andersen, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are unfounded.
"There should be no reason to cancel a trip," Andersen told Travel Agent. "Norway has some of the lowest crime rates in the world, and from what we hear about this horrible incident, it is the act of an isolated madman."
Statistics, he continues, say that Norway is in fact one of the safest places in the world when it comes to crime, especially violent crime. "We will have to take comfort in terms of what the police told us so far: This was the act of a politically motivated individual, but there's no affiliation with any kind of group. Also, the political elite and the Prime Minister have said that they will not let this act change our society or politics. They will not let him succeed in changing the inclusiveness of Norway."
The country as a whole, he added, is taking comfort in the words of condolences they've received from around the world. "It's a great consolation for people who have lost their loved ones."
Yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke in Oslo Cathedral. "Amidst all this tragedy, I am proud to live in a country that has managed to hold its head up high at a critical time," he said. "I have been impressed by the dignity, compassion and resolve I have met…We are a small country, but a proud people. We are still shocked by what has happened, but we will never give up our values."