Norway Hate Attacks Make Anti-Islam Taboo Cause as Labor Surges
August 4, 2011 By 31 Comments
By Josiane Kremer Bloomberg Aug 3, 2011 Anders Behring Breivik’s efforts to galvanize anti-Islam sentiment in Norway after last month’s hate killings have given the ruling party he sought to destroy its biggest tailwind in more than a decade. Support for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Labor Party, targeted by Breivik in the July 22 bombing and shootings that left 77 dead, soared to more than 40 percent, two polls showed this week. If a vote were held today, that would be the best result since the 1985 election. Approval of Stoltenberg’s handling of the crisis is at more than 90 percent, polls show. “It’s the first time in Norway that the popularity rating of an elected politician is higher than that of the King,” said Frank Aarebrot, a politics professor at the University of Bergen, in a phone interview. Since the attacks, Labor’s policies mean it enjoys “the strongest legitimacy. My guess is that the effect will last a couple of years.” Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto, published a few hours before his killing spree, railed against the “Islamization” of Norway and Europe, a trend he said he would try to halt through his terror acts. Yet the anti-immigration Progress Party that Breivik had sought to champion now faces a backlash as a key campaigning point is stigmatized ahead of local elections on Sept. 12. That’s left the group, Parliament’s second-biggest, with an identity crisis.