- Nobody suffered serious injuries during the mosque shootings.
- The judge said Manshaus launched an action at the mosque "with the aim of killing as many Muslims as possible."
- Manshaus said "I don't confess my guilt, so I can't accept the judgment. That would be contradictory."
A Norwegian court sentenced Philip Manshaus to 21 years in prison for the murder of his half-sister and his attack at the Al-Noor Islamic Center mosque in August 2019. The court ruled Manshaus, 22, must serve a sentence of at least 14 years before being allowed to submit a sentence reduction.
The verdict, read by Judge Annika Lindstroem, said Manshaus had accessed various neo-Nazi sites, including pages calling for civil war on “racial grounds.”
He believed that “Europe is under attack from people of ethnic origin other than his own,” and that “the white race is on the brink of extinction,” said Lindstroem. The judge added that Manshaus claimed he was acting “in self-defense against the enemy.”
Lindstroem said Manshaus launched an action at the mosque “with the aim of killing as many Muslims as possible.” The court rejected the defendant’s argument that Manshaus had a mental disorder and could not be tried.
Wearing helmets, body armor, and carrying weapons, Manshaus stormed the Al-Noor Islamic Center mosque in Baerum, west of the Norwegian capital, Oslo, in August. He had fired several shots before being successfully controlled by one of the pilgrims, Mohammad Rafiq, 65, a retired Pakistani Air Force officer.
“The killing and the attack show what extremely violent and cynical actions Manshaus has the ability and willingness to carry out,” Lindstroem said. Rafiq also succeeded in seizing Manshaus’ weapons before the police arrived.
Nobody suffered serious injuries during the mosque shootings. At that time there were only three people there, and they were preparing for the Eid al-Adha event.
Shortly after the attack on the mosque, the body of his Chinese-born step sister, Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, 17, was found in a house in Baerum.
Idolized Hitler and Breivik
The authorities treated the incident as an act of terrorism, motivated by right-wing extremism. Police revealed evidence that Manshaus was inspired by Brenton Tarrant, the defendant of the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019.
Tarrant pleaded guilty to 51 counts in New Zealand. Manshaus himself also installed a camera on his helmet, and recorded his actions in the mosque, but failed to broadcast the attack via the internet.
The minimum sentence of 14 years set for Manshaus is longer than the minimum sentence of 10 years in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.
Since 2015, Norway has increased the minimum sentence for similar cases. During the trial, Manshaus showed no remorse. He also mentioned Adolf Hitler and Breivik as his idols. During the May 7 trial, Manshaus showed an “OK” gesture that has been adopted by right-wing extremists.
Manshaus said “I don’t confess my guilt, so I can’t accept the judgment. That would be contradictory.” When present at the inaugural hearing last year, he appeared with bruises and wounds on his face. In addition to imprisonment, Manshaus is required to pay compensation to the victims’ families and a trial fee of 100,000 kroner.