Rising popularity for anti-Islam group
A Norwegian group called “Stop Islamisation of Norway” (SIAN) has doubled membership levels in the last two years, its representatives claim.
“A major burden”
The group, who’s most active membership is located in Rogaland, has also been awarded a government concession to transmit on Radio Kos in Sandnes, western Norway. It alleges Internet radio capacity had to be increased from 25,000 to 200,000 listeners recently because of popularity.
Merete Hodne and Kjersti Margrethe Addehaid Gilje told NRK from Bryne, a small town in Rogaland County, “We have a duty to our country to preserve our Christian values, and not least to protect our children against the terrible, evil forces of Islam.”
According to SIAN’s leader, Arne Tumyr, membership has increased because of the 22nd July attacks. He would not reveal numbers, however, because of Extreme Left press exploitation fears, and being branded as racist by certain groups.
“Unfortunately, coming forward as a member of SIAN is a major burden. You can get problems at work, and it could affect your customer-base if you run your own business. You can end up in conflicts with your family and be harassed in different ways,” he said to Stavanger Aftenblad.
Last year, SIAN arranged a demonstration “Never Forget 9/11” in front of the US embassy in Oslo ten years to the day. There were reports of several clashes between its members and others from anti-racist organisations prior to the event.
Arne Tumyr told NTB, “We are here to remember and honor those who lost their lives on 11th September ten years ago. We will commemorate the day from SIAN’s point of view, which is that we fear the growing influence of Islam and believe there is a direct connection between the religion of Islam and extremist actions.”
He and six others also participated at another anti-Islam protest in December in the centre Stavanger.
Approximately 10 times as many counter-demonstrators from SOS Racism and extreme Left Party Rødt (the Red Party) shouted him down during his speech, however, declaring, “no racists in our streets.”
“We are here to show our disgust by turning our backs to them,” said Party member Truls Drageset Dydland.
Journalist, writer, and Right-Extremist environment researcher Øyvind Strømmen, often quoted in connection with articles about Breivik, is sceptical about SIAN claims regarding increased membership.
“They like to brag that they have an growing number of members, but there are not many people who stand and listen to them when hold appeals,” he told NRK, “I think recruitment to this type of extremism has declined.”
Mr Strømmen, together with other prominent figures in Norway, is on a list of people who owner of the site korsfarer.no Oddbjørn Jonstad believes are “pro immigration and Islamisation”. His other list contains those against it.
The site states its goal is “to stop immigration to Norway, as well as stop the Islamification of Norwegian society by peaceful political and religious means.”
Mr Jonstad was a former local Progress (FrP) politician until he was thrown out by the Party for his Right-Extremist views in 1999, Stavanger Aftenblad reports. Today, he edits several sites hostile to immigrants, and is leader of Norsk Folkeparti (the Norwegian People’s Party/NFP).
Other people on Mr Jonstad’s list include Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette Marit, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Bishop of Stavanger Erling Pettersen, and several local Rogaland County politicians.
According to Øyvind Strømmen, “it seems as though scanning the integration debate and updating the Islamisation list has been his [Mr Jonstad’s] main project in the period following 22nd July.”