MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
The man arrested for the mosque shootings in New Zealand allegedly posted a hate-filled screed online in which he praised a number of white supremacists, including the Norwegian ultranationalist and mass murderer Anders Breivik. He even claimed he'd been in brief contact with Breivik, who is serving a 21-year sentence in Norway for killing 77 people in 2011, most of them teenagers, at an island summer camp sponsored by a left-wing political party. Like the mosque shooter, Breivik also issued a lengthy document laying out his extremist views.
Norwegian journalist Asne Seierstad has written a book about Anders Breivik titled "One Of Us." And she joins us now. Welcome to the program.
ASNE SEIERSTAD: Thank you.
BLOCK: From what you've heard so far, are you seeing similarities between the New Zealand shooter and Breivik?
SEIERSTAD: Oh, yes. There are actually quite a lot of similarities. These are white men, both of them, you know, failures, you might say, in this world - no education, no real community. And they found their (inaudible) online. And they share the values of white supremacy. Their main targets are the same. It's Muslims. It's immigrants. In Breivik's case, his victims were the Labour Party, which he called the liberal elite, that let the immigrants and the Muslims into Europe, whereas the shooter in New Zealand - the terrorist in New Zealand - he goes straight to the target, the Muslims themselves.
BLOCK: And the screed that Breivik wrote - specific mentions in that - what is he talking about?
SEIERSTAD: Well, yes, that letter. It's, like, Breivik wrote this vague manifesto - 1,500 pages, very quasi-academic - where he tries to make himself into an ideologue and a fighter. This is a very shortened version. The New Zealand terrorist's version is only 74 pages. It's more emotional. It's more of a call to action. But it's bit of a copy. It's a shortened version of Breivik's manifesto, in a way. And he - then he writes that Breivik is his only true inspiration.
But he also mentions other politicians, including, you know, he sees Donald Trump as a key representative for the, you know, the white race. So he tries to include, you know, more mainstream politicians to - probably to spread debate, to divide. That's what he wants to achieve. He wants to achieve a civil war.
BLOCK: What do you make of this claim by the alleged shooter in New Zealand that he has been in contact with Anders Breivik?
SEIERSTAD: Well, that does not make sense because Breivik is in solitary confinement. His mail is very constricted. He can receive mail but not political mail. So that's no way that he's been in contact with Breivik.
But he - there is - I mean, they have this fantasy army, both of them, that they write about, the Knights Templar. So Norwegian police, after the attacks in Norway, they investigated this from all sides. And they found out there is no such army, no such organization or group. But the terrorist in New Zealand repeats that he has been - like, he has been approved by that group to commit the terrorist attack in New Zealand. That is - there's no claims that this organization exists at all.
But it seems that both these shooters - they need to have some kind of a justification. They need to just say they have a base.
SEIERSTAD: Like, they both say they have thousands of followers, especially in the military and in law enforcement agencies (ph).
BLOCK: That's Asne Seierstad. She is the author of the book "One Of Us: The Story Of A Massacre In Norway - And Its Aftermath." Thank you for speaking with us.
SEIERSTAD: You're welcome.
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