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Norway PM: Make country more open

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Five days after an attacker incensed by Norway’s culture of tolerance horrified the world, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday issued a quiet call of defiance to his countrymen: Make Norway even more open and accepting.

“The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation,” Stoltenberg insisted at a news conference.

His promise in the face of twin attacks that killed 76 people signaled a contrast to the U.S. response after the 9/11 attacks, when Washington gave more leeway to perform wiretaps and to search records.

It reflects the difference between the two countries’ approaches to terrorism: The U.S. has been frustrated by what it considers Scandinavia’s lack of aggressive investigation and arrests.

“I think what we have seen is that there is going to be one Norway before and one Norway after July 22,” the day an anti-immigration extremist bombed Oslo’s government quarter and slaughtered dozens at the left-leaning Labor Party’s youth camp, Stoltenberg said.

“But I hope and also believe that the Norway we will see after will be more open, a more tolerant society than what we had before.”

Stoltenberg strongly defended the right to speak freely — even if it includes extremist views such as those held by Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old Norwegian who has confessed to the attacks and claimed they were necessary to fight what he called Muslim colonization and multiculturalism.

“We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions — that’s completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence,” he said in English.

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