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Icelanders Shaken after Paris Attacks

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Icelanders Shaken after Paris Attacks

Outside Harpa following the Paris Attacks, November 2015

The French flag flies at half-mast outside Harpa Concert Hall. Photo: Zoë Robert.

The Icelandic nation is shaken after the terrorist attacks in France Friday night.

In a letter of condolences, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson wrote to President Hollande, “The attack was both an assault against the French nation and against the civilization of our time, liberty, democracy and human rights. It calls for a much stronger unity among nations against the horrible forces, which do not hesitate to sacrifice citizens’ lives―those of innocent men and women.”

Foreign minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson says Icelanders can no longer act as if events such as those which occurred in France couldn’t take place here, RÚV reports. “The lives of regular people are being attacked. It’s something that may affect our security benchmarks, security assessment, and many such factors.” He believes our society is being attacked, our liberty, equality and equal rights, as we see them and want them to be.

Minister for the Interior Ólöf Nordal tells RÚV that no decisions have been made regarding increased border control as a result of the attacks. She believes there is no doubt that the chance of terrorist attacks has increased following the Paris tragedy.

Former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir attended the vigil in front of the French Embassy in Reykjavík Saturday night. “I’m saddened beyond words,” she said. “It’s an assault against us all.” A former French instructor and student of Sorbonne, she has strong ties to Paris. “This is so tragic and in parts of Paris I know so well,” she said.

The Muslim Association of Iceland issued a statement condemning the attacks. “This attack shows us the necessity for us all to work toward peace in the world. Peace can be obtained with respect and love and compassion for your neighbor,” the statement reads. “With love and respect and by standing united as one nation we can conquer this threat.”

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