Norway: Labor declares war against radical Islam

Norway: Labor declares war against radical Islam

A summary of several articles. 


The Labor Party's secretary, Martin Kolberg, promised last week that the party will lead against all anti-democracy and anti-equality forces.

"Radical doesn't belong in Norway in any way, and we will fight it," Kolberg said.   "The Labor Party wants to take care of the interests of the great majority, at the same time that we must be crystal clear that Norwegian law applies and that all extremist groups have no place in Norwegian society."

He recognizes that people worry not just about Islam, but also about immigration in general.  "It's a big challenge to manage all immigrants in Norway, it's also a big challenge to deport those who don't get residence in Norway," says Kolberg.

The parliament passed a law last week banning marriage immigration, making Norway the country with the strictest laws in this field.  

"It's absolutely necessary since we see that it's being abused," says Kolberg.

Kolberg's words were received warmly by the Frp.  Progress Party (Frp) chairman Siv Jensen says that she thinks it's very good that Martin Kolbert agrees with Frp, but it's the Labor Party which has been responsible for Norwegian immigration policies and integration for decades."

The AP, though, is trying to distance itself from the positions of Frp.  Kolberg says it's not difficult to tell the difference between the labor party and Frp in immigration and integration politics.  "Since we are for a multicultural society, we think that immigration is both useful and necessary for Norway," says Kolberg.

Arild Stokkan-Grande, labor party immigration policies spokesperson says that Frp's political and negative rhetoric about immigration will cause radicalization of Islamic groups.  There is no sneak-Islamization in Norway today, there are several extreme groups which the security service is following.  There's no impending danger, but the fear of the Norwegian people should be taken seriously, when we see that society is changing.

The Labor Party lost 4 percentage points on the NRK poll, while the Progress Party got 8.5%.  It is thought to be due to the hijab debate.  NRK political commentator Kyrre Nakkim says that Kolberg's statements show that the Labor Party is trying to get in on Frp's success.

Not everybody in the Labor Party agrees with Kolberg.  Parliament President Thorbjørn Jagland, also of the Labor Party, attacked Kolberg yesterday.  "There's no threat from Islam in Norway, but it's completely possible to create a threat," says Jagland.

He says that nobody had made clear what radical Islam is.  Hijab and FGM are mentioned as examples among many terms thrown into one pot which are all together called radical Islam.  In the end it's a big stew.  Jagland says that in this way you create a bogeyman of Islam.  There's all possible reason to fight radical Islam, but there's no such thing in Norway, he thinks.

Jagland thinks the Labor party is copying the Frp, winning voters by creating fear which really doesn't exist.  He says it's wrong to create a fear which isn't real, and that's why he's responding the way he does.  Playing up fear is a dangerous game, since one can lose control.

Yesterday Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called an urgent phone-conference with  his party's leadership and said the Kolberg's declaration of war against radical Islam reflects the view of the party.

The county representatives say they support Kolberg, but sources in the Labor Party told Dagbladet that Jagland has support in the party and that Kolberg is mixing up together different issues.

Stoltenberg also said the party heads would take a firmer stance in the future in the value and integration debate.

Sources: NRK 1, 2; Dagbladet (Norwegian)

See also: Netherlands: Labor Party calls for end to tolerance

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