An anti-islam blogger who was repeatedly praised by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik was unmasked for the first time yesterday, a day after being questioned by police.
In the aftermath of the 22 July massacre there had been much speculation as to the identity of "Fjordman", a right-wing online polemicist whom Breivik described as his idol, mentioning him 111 times in his rambling 1,500-page manifesto.
Norwegian newspaper VG has now revealed Fjordman's identity as Peder Jensen, a 36-year-old from Alesund who has written numerous screeds accusing Muslims of secretly planning to take over Europe.
He agreed to sit down with the paper in a central Oslo café after voluntarily meeting with detectives investigating the devastating twin attacks. Describing his fear of being outed, he said he was planning to go into hiding. But he also distanced himself from Breivik, describing the 32-year-old killer as a bore who came across "like a vacuum cleaner salesman".
"He showed an extreme brutality that's completely incomprehensible, and he must have believed he was part of a computer game where he was the superhero," Mr Jensen said. He admitted that Breivik had sent him a number of emails between 2009 and 2010 seeking personal contact but Mr Jensen refused. "I don't know why he wanted to meet me, but I declined," he said.
"Not because of his extreme views, but because he didn't seem very interesting – like a vacuum cleaner salesman. 'Pie in the sky', I thought to myself when I re-read the emails."
Breivik praised Fjordman's writings more often than any of the so-called counter-jihad bloggers that pepper his manifesto. "Our views are quite similar with the exception of me being an actual armed resistance fighter," he wrote.
Mr Jensen began blogging under the name Fjordman in 2005 after newspapers refused to publish his letters. The blog lasted only a year but he quickly built up a reputation among far-right bloggers and he often wrote guest articles for notoriously anti-Islamic websites such as the Gates of Vienna.
He described how he had become increasingly anti-Muslim after the 9/11 attacks which took place while he was studying Arabic in Cairo.
"Western media claimed no Arabs were happy about the attacks," he said. "This is not true. Some of my neighbours celebrated the event with a spontaneous cake party, and felt what had happened was great."
According to VG, Mr Jensen grew up in a family that supported the Norwegian Socialist Left Party and he voted Labour before deciding to support the country's anti-immigrant Progress Party.
He said he would no longer blog under the pseudonym Fjordman. "I don't wish to be associated with Breivik and his horrible actions," he said.
The revelations came as Norway held more than 30 funerals for Breivik's victims yesterday. A dozen more are planned for next week. At a ceremony in Drammen, 40 kilometres (23 miles) west of the capital, hundreds of mourners gathered in honour of 14-year-old Sharidyn Svebakk-Boehn, who was killed on the island of Utoya.
"Losing you is the hardest thing I have ever experienced," the victim's mother, Vanessa Svebakk, said.Reuse content