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Doublethink in Norway

By Bruce Bawer

norsk-flagg-islam

These people! Over and over, they mock the idea that there exist such things as stealth Islamization and the appeasement thereof, and viciously demonize as bigots, racists, and Islamophobes those who speak frankly of such matters. And over and over, they engage in that very appeasement themselves.

Case in point: Norway. Let’s start by going back to 2009, when Siv Jensen, head of the Progress Party, used the term snikislamisering – “stealth Islamization” – in a speech at her party’s annual convention. Noting that even ambulance crews, firefighters, and police officers didn’t dare to enter certain parts of the heavily Muslim neighborhood of Rosengård in Malmö, Sweden, where sharia law has largely supplanted Swedish law, Jensen warned that there were already unsettling signs of similar developments in Oslo. As examples of stealth Islamization, she cited, among other things, the aggressive clamoring for the accommodation of hijab in the public square and demands for halal food in prisons. 

The media and political establishment, of course, reacted with outrage. Pronouncing it “quite simply untrue that any kind of Islamization of Norwegian society is underway,” Per Kristian Foss, a leading Conservative politician, compared Jensen’s attitude toward Islam to pre-World War II anti-Semitism. The editors of Aftenposten agreed: in an editorial headlined “Stealth Accusations,” they accused her of “openly appeal[ing] to xenophobia and to the notion that minorities are taking power.” In the view of Aftenposten‘s editors, the very idea of stealth Islamization was manifestly absurd.

Cut to two years later. On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people – and members of the cultural elite quckly grabbed the opportunity to pile on to the Progress Party and others who’d warned against Islam, saying that they’d helped create the mass murderer. Pushed against the wall, Jensen nonethelessvowed that she would continue to use the term “stealth Islamization.”

Fast forward two more years. The September elections resulted in a Conservative-Progress Party coalition government – and worldwide scare headlines proclaiming that a bigoted, racist, Islamophobic party was about to become a partner in Norway’s government. Consequently, the Progress Party’s second-in-command, Ketil Solvik-Olsen, sought to publicly distance the party from the expression “stealth Islamization,” a term he described as “unfortunate.” When the party’s top man in Oslo, Christian Tybring-Gjedde,insisted on the term’s continuing usefulness (adding that he was opposed toevery kind of Islamization, “stealth or not stealth”), he was assailed from almost every direction for using rhetoric that was “polarizing” and “anti-Muslim.” Among those who abhorred the term, it was reported, were leaders of the Christian People’s Party, the home of Norway’s religious right, who view Muslims as fellow “people of faith” deserving of their support and protection.

During all these years, while these controversies over the term “stealth Islamization” raged, stealth Islamization itself has proceeded apace. Recently, the Agriculture Minister, Sylvi Listhaug, a member of the Progress Party, expressed concern about the increasing tendency of Norwegian public institutions, such as day-care centers and hospitals, to remove pork from their menus. “We’ve been eating pork i Norway for years,” she said. “It would be totally wrong to stop because Muslims have come to Norway.”…

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