Norway’s Far Right May Come to Power Despite Memory of Anders Breivik’s Killing Spree

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VEGARD GROTT / AFP / Getty Images

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway attends a wreath laying to mark the second anniversary of the twin Oslo-Utoya massacre in Oslo on July 22, 2013

Prableen Kaur has arrived at Grorud Naersenter, a drab shopping mall on the outskirts of Oslo, armed with hundreds of red roses and an unshakable faith in Norway’s democracy. The roses are an easy sell. “It’s an icebreaker — people usually don’t say no,” the 20-year-old Labor Party candidate says as she thrusts flowers and campaign leaflets into shoppers’ hands.

Harder to understand is her tolerance toward those sharing the views of Anders Behring Breivik, the white supremacist who left her cowering under the bodies of her friends as he calmly shot dead 69 people at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya Island two years ago. He claimed to be on a crusade against multiculturalism and immigration, intent on wiping out the future generation of a party he blamed for the “Islamic invasion” of Norway.

“People can share their thoughts and their opinions — it is their democratic right,” says Kaur, who survived the July 22 massacre by leaping into the cold fjord. “I think democracy works better if every different opinion can be a part of the debate.”

The problem for Kaur is that the democratic system she cherishes is forecast to oust the Labor Party after eight years in power. Elections next month could even see an anti-immigration party that once counted Breivik as a member join a coalition government for the first time.

(MORE: Norway Killer Declared Sane, Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison)

Outside the political process, far-right extremists whose voices fell silent after the attacks are back on blogs peddling their hate. Kaur points to a proliferation of anti-immigrant views on the comments sections of newspaper websites. Ronny Alte, the former head of the extreme-right Norwegian Defence League who quit after Breivik’s massacre, now runs a new website that includes rants against Islamic culture. Antiracism campaigners say society failed to mount any real challenge to their views after Utoya, preferring to blame a lone fanatic rather than examining some of the more mainstream prejudices that shaped his worldview. The extremists, says Shoaib Mohammad Sultan, an adviser to the Norwegian Centre Against Racism, “have sort of got away with it.”

In theory, Norway should be immune to some of the more inflammatory rhetoric aimed at migrants elsewhere in Europe, where high unemployment leaves locals looking for easy scapegoats. The vast oil reserves discovered in the 1960s have transformed Norway into one of the richest nations in the world, with generous state benefits and enough jobs to go around.

But there remain pronounced existential fears that far-right parties across the sparsely populated north of Europe exploit: a perception that traditional Scandinavian values of liberalism and Christianity are under threat, in particular by radical Islam, despite just a tiny minority of people airing such views. Norway is not alone. An anti-immigration party frequently polls as the third most popular in Sweden. The Danish Prime Minister this week felt compelled to stress that pork meatballs should be served at day-care centers, after a noisy tabloid debate about Islamic customs being adopted by state institutions.

That Norway failed to turn a corner after Breivik’s massacre is disappointment to many of his intended victims. In the months that followed the attack, it looked like the impact on the political debate could be profound. Although the anti-immigration Progress Party immediately condemned the actions of Breivik, who left their ranks in 2006, it lost a third of its support at municipal elections in 2011. The Labor Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was praised for his dignity and sensitivity, and the party fared better than expected at the local polls.

(MORE: Why Norway Is Satisfied With Breivik’s Sentence)

But the wave of sympathy was tarnished a year later when a report revealed a catalog of security failings leading up to Breivik’s rampage. The Progress Party, meanwhile, has tweaked some of its rhetoric and now bills itself as a mainstream movement in the mold of U.S. Republicans or the British Conservative Party. “Our heroes,” Progress Party candidate Kristian Norheim says as he walks past photos of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan adorning the corridors of their offices.

Norheim is at pains to portray the Progress Party as a “folkish” movement guided by Ayn Rand’s philosophy of the power of the individual over the state. Questions about previous pledges to cap immigration and their views on Muslims are met with tracts on protecting freedom of speech and women’s rights. Breivik is referred to as “that bastard.”

But comments by Progress Party leader Siv Jensen last year that Norway should “arrange a bus” and deport people from the Roma minority raised concerns that their values remained the same.

“I had hoped that the debate had changed and that it would be a more tolerant debate, at least from the politicians,” says Asmund Aukrust, 28, one of 33 Labor Party members running for Parliament next month who survived the Utoya massacre.

How many people share such views will become clearer after the elections. Current opinion polls suggest a Conservative-led coalition that would likely include the Progress Party, with voters looking for a change after two terms of Labor. But whichever party emerges victorious, Labor candidates are adamant that there is one person who will never win. That is Breivik, who is currently serving a 21-year sentence for the island shooting and a bomb in Oslo that killed eight.

“His goal was to crush the Labor Party,” says Stine Renate Haheim, another Utoya survivor running for office. “He didn’t succeed. The AUF [Labor Party youth wing] is stronger than ever.”

PHOTOS: Explosion and Shooting Rock Norway

147 comments
samir.samirhalabi.samir
samir.samirhalabi.samir

Around 69 Left-wing Norwegian students including some Muslims  on Utoya Island for a convention, were in fact a bunch of hardened Jew-hating pro-Hamas scum that stated that they were unhappy that Hitler didn't  fulfill his task in annihilating every last  Jew breathing in the World. The Norwegian people (not all) were aggrieved that to compare the slaughter of Norwegians with the slaughter of Jews by terrorists because the Jews deserved their fate, but the Norwegians ere an innocent people.

I would recommend all Jews today to exit that hell hole of Jew-hatred, as i don't see any future for the Jews in Scandinavia anymore.


FranWarren
FranWarren

@TIME @TIMEWorld Thats how it works in the US media. Anything or anyone not left is thus declared "far right" fringe kooks. Norway included.

Eriktorbe
Eriktorbe

@hegeulstein God kommentar om 22 juli. Hvorfor Gjørv-rapporten ikke ble diskutert men tiet i valgkampen er for meg en gåte og beklagelig

112BI
112BI

@hegeulstein Takk. Men hva skulle vært med i debatten? (Personlig savnet jeg snowdon's avsløringer om altomfattende overvåkingen) @haakon_d

renmey1
renmey1

Immigration is not quite so hot a topic as it used to be in Norway.  This election is not about immigration and tolerance on so on. The focus is much more on old fashioned economic. How do we maintain our wealth? How can the welfare state survive in the 21st century? It is these issues that will determine the election.  These has also been some debate on various women`s isses but these are clearly seen to be of lesser importance this time around.  Things really aren`t as grim as this article makes it look like.  After all the Progressive party has been ( and is still) struggling in the polls.  The more moderate conservative party is going strong tough.  All in all it does not seem like betting on racism is a good idea for a Norwegian politician. 

And honestly,  did anyone seriously think that just because the royal family and the PM said a few nice things that everything would be different? Traumatic events fade in public memory and most Norwegian will listen to their wallets when they make their choice on September 9th. And that is a perfectly legetimate thing to do. 

loadcode
loadcode

This article is highly speculative and misrepresning the facts. The article makes it sound like The Progress Party is this right wing extremist party which has suddenly tried to make itself look respectable. Sure it is anti-immigration and often use populist rethoric. However in terms of politics and rethoric it has always been a moderate version of the American Republican party. The party got started as a anti-tax party, not as a anti-immigration party. If the progress party getting into government somehow represents right wing nutcases ideological similary to Breivik getting into power, then one might has well put up big headlines every time the Republican party wins the presidency and declare that right wing extremists have gained power in the US. That the repulicans wins the office does not somehow mean that Timoty McVeigh as been forgotten. That is about has non-sensical it is to claim that the Progress Party had antything to do with Breivik. He quit the party himself because he thought they were too progressive and tolerant.

That people are sceptical towards immigration is not a sign of forgetting what Breivik did. What happened did not come out of a vacuume. Like any other western democracy, Norway struggles with how to deal with large number of immigrants and how to best integrate them. There are many issues which have not yet been resolved. And what Breivik did has not made it any easier to resolve, because suddenly the issues have become so touchy. Nobody wants anybody else to think that they share a single common thought with Breivik. 

BillJames2
BillJames2

Sure, it's all simple, baseless Islamophobia, right?

-Bing/Google search “civil wars in the world” and determine where they are being fought; then research each civil war and determine who is fighting in them. The results are startling: 90% of them involve one combatant-religion -- Islam. Muslims extremists fight in civil wars against Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Shamans, Copts, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Christiana, animists and Confucians and all other non-Muslim entities.  They fight in China, Russia, Bosnia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Israel, Pakistan, India, Indonesia-Ambon & Halmarhera, Côte d'Ivoire, Kashmir, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Kurdistan, Kirghizia, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, Turkey, Chechnya, Sudan, Yemen, Thailand, Uganda, Azerbaijan, Mali, Chad, Libya, Bangladesh and East Timor.

-wikipedia has a list of 144 terrorist organizations officially designated by various Nations.The list includes the names of the groups and the nations which designates them as terrorists.Each group has a profile.Go through each profile and you will find that 20 are motivated by ideology -- Marxism, socialism, Maoism, etc.The rest, 124, are motivated by religion:17 involve Irish Christians, 7 involve non-Irish Christians and Sikhs, 7 involve other religious entities -- 93 involve Muslims.

Note:While there are a number of radical hate groups such as Aryan Nation, Army of God and the KKK in America or the Iron Guard (Christian) in Romania and The Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, they are not officially listed as terrorist groups by any nation; the list does not address individual terrorists like Timothy McVeigh or Anders Breivik.

-2011 FBI Annual Report on Terrorism, http://www.nctc.gov/docs/2011_NCTC_Annua… page 11: Of 12,533 terrorist deaths 77 were committed by Neo-Nazi, fascist or white supremacists; Muslims committed 8,886.

JoeWhitman
JoeWhitman

Excuse me, but could any sane person not realize that flooding EVERY & ONLY White countries with MILLIONS of non-Whites and telling everyone to “assimilate” to create a blended humanity IS white GENOCIDE?
Africa will still be full of Africans
Asia will still be full of Asians
Only White children will suffer from this insanity.
iT’s wHitE geNOcide
Except they don’t call it GENOCIDE when it’s done to White children.
They call it “diversity”
Anti-racist is a code for anti-White
/watch?v=lKDeyuM0-Og

R__O__D
R__O__D

Look at all this anti-whitism. In the 60's, anti-whites forced ALL and ONLY white countries to bring in millions of non-whites. Then anti-whites forced ALL and ONLY white people to “integrate” or face penalties for being “naziswhowantokill6millionjews.” Now anti-whites are praising and counting down the days till ALL and ONLY white children are minorities and extinct EVERYWHERE. That makes it genocide. “Anti-racist” is a codeword for anti-white. /watch?v=lKDeyuM0-Og

RobertJ.Spreitzer
RobertJ.Spreitzer

Norway, especially the capital city of Olso,  is being inundated by African "immigrants". Some Norwegian may want their nation to not look like Africa. Horror! Where does "tolerance" end and sanity begin for a nation?

CaluchaC
CaluchaC

@TIME more to come the quiet storm liberal my foot

whiteamericanfolkman
whiteamericanfolkman

Typical Left-Wing, neo-Marxist, anti-White, racist journalism!  Whenever they call their political enemies "racists", "haters", or "supremacists" you know they are deceiving the people!  This is the beginning of the end of Left-Wing Marxism and they know it!  The Left-Wing have failed at everything and now its time for a change!  I guess they don't like change!  The Left should let go of their hate for people with other opinions and views! 

SirChurch
SirChurch

Memory of Bill Ayers' anti-white terrorist activity deters anti-white whites no more than Breivik's terrorist attack deters pro-white whites. That this hyphenated wench of an writer would attempt to smear pro-white whites using Breivik bespeaks her low-bow nature. May God bless and keep the pro-Norwegian Progress Party as they stand valiantly against the smears of TIME Magazine.

hegeulstein
hegeulstein

@112BI slapp av - ingen fare. Men 22/7 er så stort, blir vanskelig å avgrense til det kanskje viktigste @haakon_d

haakon_d
haakon_d

@112BI er mange ting som burde være med i debatten, men overvåkning blir ikke tema så lenge de to store partiene er så enige. @hegeulstein

sonsofaureus
sonsofaureus

@NathanKolton I don't know about Brievik specifically, but an anti-semite can theoretically be pro-Israeli state.  That way, all the Jews they hate can be told to go there.  

CarlRobertson
CarlRobertson

Your statement and citation only serve to show your tremendous ignorance.  For starters, on the ground, Norweigian Jews have been suffering increasing physical attacks for years now, from school bullying to attacks in the street while going to and from synagogues.  Many Norweigian politicians make anti-Israel pronouncements. That the Time article you cite says "Israel itself has lurched to the right and now shows increasing tolerance for fascism"  only means that the Time article says that "Israel itself has lurched to the right and now shows increasing tolerance for fascism."  It does not mean that it's true.  It isn't.  And Breivk and the FEW other white power racists have made pro-Israel statements is not in the least an indication of a diminution of white power anti-Semitism.  ALL the US racists cites, which have comments from ALL of Eastern and Western European racits, are completely infused with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and in some case, carefully phrased hints about a desired repetion of what the Nazis did.  Do some research and some traveling before mouthing off.

NathanKolton
NathanKolton

But hey don't let that minor inconvenience stop your hate whitey hit piece here!

CarlRobertson
CarlRobertson

@MB:  since when has Norway had a "reputation as a beacon of tolerance?"  They found it very easy to cooperate with the Nazis.  And law enforcement and school authorities are not doing anything to protect Jewish school children and adults from physical attacks.

SirChurch
SirChurch

Anti-whites never justify mass immigration on its own ground but instead try to smear people who are against it.

112BI
112BI

@haakon_d Terroristen ideologi, med dens intense kvinnehat burde vært diskutert etter 2.juli. Hvordan kunne det oppstå i Norge? @hegeulstein

112BI
112BI

@haakon_d Media, som har kjørt valgdebattene, burde grillet i valgdebattene - også grunnet pressefrihet og kildebeskyttelse @hegeulstein

112BI
112BI

@haakon_d Da NSAsaken rullet holdt Regjeringen munn&øyne lukket. De som skulle agert og de skulle blitt grillet i valgdebatten @hegeulstein

CarlRobertson
CarlRobertson

Excellent perception - cuts right through the baloney.

loadcode
loadcode

@CarlRobertson you are misrepresenting the facts. This attacks on jews are not carried out by white supramaciest of which there are very few of in Norway. This is almost exclusively related to muslim immigrant youth.

loadcode
loadcode

@CarlRobertson Not every liberal and tolerant country are without faults. Sure there were a lot of Nazi colaborators in Norway, but Norway was also one of the countries who fought hardest against Nazi occupation. In WWII there are few countries who did not do something nasty. The US put japanese-americans in internment camps and let people steal all their property. They also refused refugees from holocoust, just like Britain. Britain even blocked entry to Israel for jews fleeing Nazi Germany. After all that is how Israel was created as a state because Jews fought the British occupation to let their brothers and sisters in. The US had a weapons embargo against Israel when they were attacked by the whole arab world.

No country is perfect, but in the world as a whole I would say Norway is quite tolerant towards different ethnic groups, political persuation, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Hate crime is a rare occurance.

112BI
112BI

@haakon_d @hegeulstein Den er jeg enig i, men ikke som valgkampsak. men fundamentale rettstats problemer uteble- som ER partpolitisk...

haakon_d
haakon_d

@112BI nettopp, og kanskje spørre oss hvorfor han og hans ideologiske forbilder fortsatt har tilhengere i Norge? @hegeulstein

loadcode
loadcode

@CarlRobertsonI appriciate that u try to check sources, but either u still chose to leave out important facts or your sources are lacking. I dislike that u seem intent on smearing my country as some sort of white supremacist country were we are only too happy to have some Muslims harass Jews.  I agree a problem exists but it is not because of right wing extremism. It is because Norway is very leftist. It is a sort of misguided tolerance toward our Muslim immigrant population combined with traditional Norwegian conflict shyness that has allowed these harassments against Jews to happen. It is not because of hathred towards Jews. Native Norwegians get harassed to over eating pork and what not in some schools were Muslims are in majority. This is probably more common than harassment of Jews, beceause norway has a minuscule Jewish population.


But again let's not blow this out of proportion. Many kids don't experience this and have lived in a Muslim majority area for 3 years with my family. I can't say I have experienced anything bad yet. Kids of different ethnicity seems to get along fine here. The majority of Muslims are more law abiding than your average Norwegian. The problem is that among Muslims there is a larger minority than among native Norwegians who break a lot of laws.

CarlRobertson
CarlRobertson

I am FULLY aware of that;  I regret not having specified that.  BUT:  what allowed me to write what I did was the well-formed knowlege that Norwegian law enforcement, like the city fathers in Malmo, Sweden, know this full well and ALLOW THE MOSLEMS TO HARASS JEWS, WITH IMPUNITY.  THATS the point. I checked many sources before my post, and several more after reading your objection.  And my statement about Norwegian's condemnation of Israel, using any excuse possible, still stands.