A hidden conversion

The municipal election confirmed that the voters have changed their allegiance. Rødt and Mdg grow substantially in the cities while Senterpartiet has taken a landslide in the North of Norway and the countryside. Resistance is key concept, underpinning a rather chaotic picture. There is the resistance against increasing inequalities (Rødt/Sv), climate change and business as usual (MDG), against regional centralization and closing down of local public services (SP). The ruling parties and the Labour party sees their voter base eroded as a result. This conversion of the political field has wide ranging implications.

However, the wake of this turbulence also saw the reemergence of a dubious catch phrase: " Snikislamisering". This word is somewhat untranslatable, and seeks to describe persons or groups who attempt to introduce Islamic practices in Norway under a false flag. "Covert-Islamising" is a possible translation. Early in September the Minister of Finance from FrP Siv Jensen wrote a chronicle in VG pointing out that "Covert Islamising" is prevalent in Norway. In fact just as prevalent as when she first pointed out the phenomenon back in 2009. Since then the phrase received a lot of criticism, also from international media. As Frp for the first time joined a government in 2013, this phrase was something foreign journalists highlighted as alarming. It was referred to when describing the then newly formed Solberg government as accepting of the far right. The Uk paper the Independent published photos of Mrs Siv Jensen and the 22 July terrorist side by side. This went so far that Mr. Ketil Solvik Olsen in fact held a press conference for international media in which he regretted the use of the phrase as a mistake. But that was then.

Yet the Party leader Mrs Jensen now again is turning to this dubious phrase. She caused quite a stir in the media this time, even prompting government colleague Abid Raja to decry the "Brown propaganda" of Frp. He also cited another recent Facebook post from the litigated former Chief of Justice Sylvi Listhaug, that targeted boat refugees, calling them "migrants" that do not belong in Norway. Given the election results, and the polls leading up to it, it is maybe not surprising that FrP tries to catch voters who may love a xenophobic twist to things.

What is more astounding is the background Mrs Jensen chose for her reintroduction of the Covert Islamising. She highlighted the incident where a female member of Al Noor Mosque in Bærum declined to shake the hand of his Majesty Prince Haakon. He was of course visiting after the attempted right wing terror attack on the 10th of August. A confused debate ensued both defending and raising questions about the declining behavior versus norms, values and integration. Mrs. Jensen evidently felt the need to tag along. However, the election showed the many people do not feel Covert Islamising as a pressing issue. Maybe one could try convert the coverts?

- Sheila Parrera