Dear colleagues and friends on preventing violent extremism,
Let me begin by thanking our Co-Chair and dear partner, Jordan (Ambassador Sima Bahous) for hosting this important event together with us.
Let me also use this opportunity to put forward our sincere condolences to the people of New Zealand, Sri Lanka and others who recently suffered from terrorist attacks carried out over the last few months.
The attacks are a powerful reminder of the importance of working against all forms of violent extremism.
By hosting this event we aim to focus on how we can prevent and combat terrorism. Today we are particularly addressing the prevention of violent right-wing extremism. We are doing so together with two of the strongest and most prominent voices of this cause; Deeyah Khan and Viljar Hanssen.
The terrorist attack that struck Norway the 22nd of July 2011, will forever stand as one of the darkest days in Norwegian history. What makes it especially gruesome is how it targeted children and young people joined together by their engagement and desire to influence the future of our country. A gruesomeness that has shown its face again and again in recent attacks, demonstrating that violent extremism targets the very brick bones of our democracy; freedom of organization, freedom of belief and freedom of speech.
Viljar, it is inspiring to see how you are dealing with the aftermath of the attack eight years ago. You have found ways to make it a part of your life. I admire your resilience. I admire your strong voice, which - despite the terrorist’s attempt to silence you - can be heard loudly and clearly. We need powerful voices like yours.
The last time you were here in the UN, you and your friend Kamzy, saw it as your responsibility as young politicians to learn from the attack, to prevent a similar tragedy happening in the future. Not only is it admirable of you to take this on, but I believe it is an important example to follow for governments - and the international community.
Deeyah, your work is an inspiration for all of us who believe in dialogue as a tool for a better common future. As a documentary film director and human rights activist you have given a voice to silent victims. You have met white supremacists face to face - as we will see later today when we screen your most recent documentary on Meeting the Enemy - here in this room.
To better address tomorrow’s challenges, we must learn from each other through sharing experiences and best practices. I believe that the best way to do so, is by bringing people together - like Viljar, Deeyah and the rest of our excellent panel. I am truly looking forward to hear your story, watch your movie and learn from your experiences.
The Norwegian government has put high priority on preventing violent extremism, in all its forms. There is a continuous need to develop and evaluate our preventative efforts and strategies.
Let us keep up the momentum on the importance of prevention and a whole of society approach as we seek to address the root causes of all forms of violent extremism.