Norway Progress’ (FrP) leader Siv Jensen has hit back at what she feels are false BBC reports about Anders Behring Breivik and her Party following this week’s local elections.
The Foreigner has published the entire letter below:
In the article “Norway local elections: Breivik's old party suffers” published September 13th, the BBC fails to provide the reader with an accurate understanding of Norwegian politics. The BBC should do justice to the readers and explain how there are no far-right parties in Norwegian politics. In international parliamentary assemblies, the Progress Party has long been aligned with the British Conservative Party. We work together with classical liberal parties in a number of European countries.
The BBC also makes a mistake by writing that the Progress Party is “anti-immigrant”. It is not true, as we are merely restrictive on immigration. Our position is in alignment with statements from Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy.
The Progress Party is embarrassed, disgusted and truly sad that Anders Breivik was once a member of the party. Our Youth Party members who met him have few memories of him. He was a young, shy man who made no impression on anyone when he was a member. He left the party in 2006, and appears to have undergone an extreme radicalization since then. His actions and beliefs are totally contrary to our policies and values. The Progress Party is a classical liberal party that cherishes democracy and humanitarian values. We strongly oppose all messages and acts of hatred, bigotry and closed-mindedness. Although it's difficult to understand why Breivik joined our party, it's easy to understand why he left.
The only person responsible for Breivik's acts is Breivik himself. He is, as some have noted, the mirror-image of the jihadists, of his own sworn enemies. Extremists - whether they're carrying the red hammer-and-sickle flag, the Nazi swastika flag, or the fever-ridden, distorted and anti-Muslim message of a blond ethnic Norwegian and self-proclaimed warrior such as Breivik - are dangerous and must be confronted.
We don't know yet what July 22nd, 2011, will ultimately mean for politics in Norway. But we know that the issues we faced before this date remain as real as they ever were. Although there's a fundamental difference between a pen and a weapon, the rhetoric in our discussions of these issues will have to change, as most of us want to avoid misunderstandings and exaggerations. Most of us may even now regret things we said in heated debates. However, there is no reason to shy away from these controversial issues.
In the aftermath of the attacks, politicians on all sides have shown great restraint with regard to the upcoming debate about security, surveillance, police funding and methods, and the division of responsibilities between the police and the armed forces. The Progress Party has always been tough on crime, but we believe that it is still too soon to conclude what measures we should take to prevent terrorism in the future. At the moment, we are just one nation in grief, standing together and supporting each other, regardless of political differences.
At the same time, the eyes of the world have turned to Norway. Some media and commentators, mainly on the left, are trying to use the atrocities of one man to smear and slander the Progress Party in our nation's time of grief. It's disrespectful. The party I lead is the second largest party in the Norwegian parliament, and the leading opposition party in Norway. Throughout its existence, the Progress Party has been the foremost voice for individual liberty, smaller and more effective government and free markets in Norway. I promise that we'll continue to be that voice in the future.
Intolerance, radicalism of all hues and acts of violence cannot be accepted and do not have a place in Norwegian society. It is a testament to the strength of our political system that everybody agrees that the nightmare-like paranoid visions and actions of the killer Breivik will be met with more of what he hated the most: democracy, tolerance, love and openness.
The killer didn't act Norwegian, but the Norwegian people have in their response. Today our whole political community stands together. Of this we are proud.
Leader of the Progress Party"
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