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Tutu calls on Norwegians to forgive mass murderer Breivik

The retired Archbishop said that not forgiving Anders Behring Breivik could be “corrosive”.

Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik
Image: AP/Press Association Images

ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU has urged Norwegians to forgive mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, the worst criminal in the nation’s recent history.

Tutu, a key figure in South Africa’s post-apartheid reconciliation, described Breivik’s crimes as “the worst possible thing that you could imagine”, but added that hatred and bitterness are “corrosive”.

“That is our position and … I think this would be God’s position too,” Tutu said when questioned about the appropriateness of forgiving Breivik, who is serving an extendable 21-year prison sentence for killing 77 people in 2011.

“God hates no one. We are all God’s children and there are those of us who become bad children but we’re still children, we still belong to the family,” he added.

The retired Anglican archbishop made the comments during a press conference at the Oslo Nobel Peace Centre, 30 years after receiving the prestigious award.

On July 22, 2011, Breivik killed eight people near a governmental building in Oslo with a bomb before going on to open fire at a Youth Labour camp on the island of Utoeya, where another 69 people died, most of them teenagers.


Trond Henry Blattmann, president of the support group for relatives of the victims and the father of one of the dead, said he was unable to forgive a criminal who had shown no remorse.

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“We have here a mass murderer who doesn’t show any remorse and will not change his personality,” Blattmann told public broadcaster NRK.

Quite the opposite, he says that he would have liked to take more lives and that he would gladly do it again.

Tutu, an anti-apartheid activist who later became the president of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is expected to meet Breivik’s main lawyer, Geir Lippestad, in Oslo on Tuesday evening for a debate on reconciliation.

- © AFP, 2014

Related: Norway’s memorial to Utoya island massacre is stunning

Read: Anders Behring Breivik wants to study political science at Oslo University

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