The ruthless killing of at least 76 people in Norway has left Scandinavian New Yorkers reeling.
“It is a reminder that we are all vulnerable,” said Jenny Johansson, a Swedish NYU student.
Anna Przemus, a manager at New York’s famed Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit, first assumed it was Islamic extremists who were behind the attacks. She said she was shocked when she learned differently.
“It is a wake-up call that there are fundamentalists from everywhere,” she said. “It should not only be the Muslim extremists who take the blame.”
Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian national, was arraigned yesterday on terrorism charges.
But despite the atrocity behind the killings, some Norwegians here in New York held strong to their country’s reputation for tolerance and disavowal of the death penalty.
“I do not believe in that type of punishment,” said Vidar Eldholen, cultural director at Norwegian Seamen’s Church on East 52nd Street. “No one has the right to decide when to end someone else’s life. That includes Anders Breivik, too. He deserves a lifetime in prison.”
In Norway, the maximum jail term Breivik could face is just 21 years, and few killers serve more than 14 years.