Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson told reporters that, in light of last night’s attacks in Paris, we need to reassess conditions in Iceland. He will meet with the police and the Ministers of the Interior and Foreign Affairs after the weekend.
“One of course reacts very strongly to seeing what happened, like everyone following this,” the Prime Minister told RÚV, referring to the attacks in Paris last night that left more than 120 people dead. “This is a different kind of terrorism than we’ve seen in neighbouring countries, as many people in different places waged simultaneous war on the streets of Paris. And the number who have fallen is so great that one has difficulty taking it in. And of course, one fears that this could change how we live here in the West, that this will reduce our security, and the things we consider a given won’t be a given anymore.”
Sigmundur told reporters that the Icelandic police have already been in contact with the police in other countries, to assess whether another attack is possible in other countries, or even here.
“We believe there is no overwhelming danger here now,” he said. “On the other hand, we will soon assess whether this changes conditions here, how we can be prepared, and how we work with other countries,” adding that he will meet the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, alongside the police, “to see whether this calls for any measures on our behalf.”
It was pointed out to the Prime Minister that some media outlets have seen a surge in racist and xenophobic comments under their news articles, and have in some cases deleted them. When asked for his opinion on the matter, the Prime Minister said:
“I haven’t really being reading the comments on news stories any more than before. But you often see strange things there. And when events [like the attacks] happen, that maybe sets off that kind of discussion. But it is important to be mindful that this isn’t done to create divisiveness and suspicion in Western societies, at least not more than is unfortunately the case already.”
When asked if he thought xenophobic comments could be dangerous, Sigmundur said:
“They of course can be. But it can also be dangerous to try and stop the discussion. It’s better that misinformation comes to light, so that it’s possible to correct it.”
The Reykjavík Grapevine would like to extend its deepest sympathies to the victims and the survivors of the attack, and to implore our readers to not let this senseless violence fan the flames of fear and hatred towards our fellow human beings, wherever they may live or hail from.