Norway: Bogeyman propaganda or investigative journalism?

Norway: Bogeyman propaganda or investigative journalism?

On Thursday VG printed a feature article about the head of Islam Net, with the headline "Holding course in extreme Islam in Norwegian college" spread all over the front page [part of the article series here]. Several Muslims responded to that.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

"Islam Net isn't representative of Islam in Norway and VG chooses to focus on Islam Net instead of other moderate groups," the head of the Anti-Racism Center, Kari Helene Partapuoli told NRK.

Islam Net aims to 'clear up misconceptions about Islam' but internally missionizing among Muslims and converting non-Muslims to a conservative and controversial interpretation of Islam, VG writes.

The association is causing concern in large parts of the Muslim community in Norway, and is excluded from the established mosque community in Oslo.

Partapuoli, who met VG's news editor [Solberg] for a debate on NRK radio, says that it's not that one shouldn't write about Islam Net, but in this case it adds to a series of articles which focus only on radical Islam. VG thereby spreads a distorted image of the integration debate.

"It should be journalistically relevant to focus on extremist Muslims in Norwegian society. That some of this activity take place in Norwegian colleges increases the public interest and need for insight and critical journalistic investigation," answers Solberg.

"To hide movements and social trends like these would be a sin of journalistic omission," says Solberg.

"Norwegian journalists commit sins of omission all the time in relation to the coverage of Muslims in Norway. There has been a survey of what Norwegians fear most. The Islamic threat was first place, in second place we fear global arming, it it isn't a sin of omission when it comes to investigative journalism, I don't know what is."

Q: You shouldn't write about such extreme groups?

A: You should, but you have a responsibility to cover this is a nuanced manner. VG begins its series on immigration with Muslims, not with the biggest groups which is Poles.

"That integration and immigration is changing Norway has been the basis for our series. We need an open debate about that. The series will be about far more than Muslims and hijab. It will also be about Poles and Swedes," says Solberg.

Islam Net is followed by PST and run missionary activity from the Oslo University College premises. This creates headaches for the management, which stresses that missionizing at the school will not be allowed.

Source: NRK (Norwegian)

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