After a week of strong objections to their participation in an annual political gathering in Arendal, two small right-wing extremist organizations have been excluded. Organizers of Arendalsuka claimed the presence of Alliansen and SIAN (Stop the Islamization of Norway) would have excluded others.
Norway’s largest party, Labour, had, for example, claimed it would boycott Arendalsuka if Alliansen and SIAN were on the program. Both parties’ views on immigration and Islam are widely viewed as being so extreme that they defy Norway’s laws against discrimination on the basis of race or religion. Many Norwegians have also been particularly on guard against right-wing extremists since a young Norwegian white supremacist killed 69 young Labour Party supporters plus seven other government workers eight years ago.
Hans Lysglimt Johansen of Alliansen, meanwhile, called his group’s exclusion “sad for democracy and sad for freedom of expression.” He found it disturbing that “the Labour Party should be able to dictate who can take part.”
It was the second recent outpouring against right-wing extremists, including a controversial visit last week of a British woman who spoke out against the alleged “Islamization of Western Europe.” She was also challenged and ridiculed on her own website after posting a video of herself in front of a mosque in Oslo’s Grønland area, in which she claimed there were few Norwegians to be seen, that police were all but afraid to patrol the area and that “segregation” was “well underway” in Oslo.
She neglected to note, however, that Norway’s largest police station and national headquarters is located a few blocks from where she was standing, that Grønland and neighbouring Tøyen are full of popular cafés and restaurants and that real estate values are rising quickly.