Norway mourns, buries dead, a week after massacre

Updated: 2011-07-30 15:24


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Norway mourns, buries dead, a week after massacre

A candle is lit in commemoration of the victims of a shooting as a person walks through a lake near the Utoeya island in Sundvollen July 29, 2011, where anti-Islam extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 68 people on Friday last week. Breivik, 32, killed a total of 76 people in a bomb attack in central Oslo followed by the shooting rampage at the island summer camp for the ruling Labour Party's youth wing. [Photo/Agencies]

OSLO - Norwegians united in mourning on Friday as the first funerals were held a week after anti-Islam extremist Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people in attacks that traumatised the nation.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg mourned in Oslo's main mosque at 13:30 GMT - the time Breivik detonated a homemade car bomb in Oslo on July 22 - after attending a memorial by his ruling Labour Party where many clutched red roses.

"Evil has brought out the best in us. Hatred engenders love," he told the party of the killings that targeted his government and a Labour Party youth meeting on an island near Oslo. Many of the dead were teenagers.

"We want to be one community. Across faith, ethnicity, gender and rank," Stoltenberg said of a backlash against the attacks by 32-year-old Breivik, a radical Christian who opposed multiculturalism and religious tolerance favoured by Labour.

Stoltenberg has not once uttered his name in public.

On Friday evening, police raised the death toll at a Labour Party summer youth camp on Utoeya island 45 km (28 miles) from Oslo to 69 from 68. The shooting followed a bomb that killed 8 in Oslo.

Flags around the nation flew at half mast. Norway suspended import tolls on roses since Norwegian producers are unable to meet demand for the flowers that have become the symbol of remembrance - a red rose is the Labour Party emblem.

In Nesodden, south of Oslo, the first of the funerals was held, for Bano Rashid, an 18-year-old woman who came to Norway in 1996 with her family fleeing Kurdistan in northern Iraq. She was shot dead at the summer camp.

Rashid was the first to be buried in a newly consecrated Muslim section of the cemetery by the picturesque stone-and-wood church, built in 1175. Several hundred mourners followed her casket to the grave, led by a Lutheran priest and an imam.

"We have many Muslims living here now, so she will not be alone there for long," the Islamic cleric, Senaid Kobilica of Bosnia, said of the new area of the cemetery.

On Utoeya island Rashid had lent a pair of rubber boots to former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who spoke to the youths and then left before Breivik arrived.

In a second funeral, Ismail Haji Ahmed, 19, was buried near Hamar, north of Oslo. Ahmed, a dancer who appeared in a television talent show this year, was one of three in his family who were at Utoeya, parliamentarian Thomas Breen said.

"We have lost one of our most beautiful roses," he told Reuters. The two other family members survived.

Police interrogated Breivik on Friday, for the second time since he was arrested.  

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