His name is Simen Bondevik. Now twenty-two, he’s head of the youth division of Norway’s Center Party and a candidate in this year’s election, scheduled for September 11, for Oslo’s City Council. When I moved to Norway, he wasn’t born yet, and his grandfather, Kjell Magne Bondevik, was the country’s prime minister.
Norway was a somewhat different country then, and Oslo a very different city. I had moved there from Amsterdam, where, after several months of ignorant bliss, I stumbled across one of the Dutch capital’s Muslim neighborhoods. Looking into the matter, I discovered that – thanks to irresponsible immigration policies and generous welfare programs – Western Europe was being steadily Islamized.
When I moved to Oslo in 1999, there were Muslims there, too, but the city seemed to be in an earlier stage of Islamization than Amsterdam was. Still, a few valiant souls were already expressing concern, especially about the sprawling east Oslo valley of Groruddalen. Five years ago, in an article for City Journal entitled “The Islamization of Oslo,” I focused on Groruddalen, whose problems with Muslim crime, violence, welfare dependency, and resistance to integration have grown steadily over the years.
A few brief highlights from that piece: as early as 2001, noting that city officials were “filling entire apartment buildings” in Groruddalen “with asylum seekers and refugees,” a politician named Thorbjørn Berntsen warned that the valley was approaching the limit of the number of immigrants it could accept; other politicians dismissed his concerns and called him a bigot, and the influx of Muslims into Groruddalen continued. In 2015, Halvor Fosli published a book, Strangers in One’s Own Country, about the increasing cultural isolation of ethnic Norwegians in Groruddalen; the media savaged him, and the cultural isolation kept growing. In 2017, a new report sounded an alarm about the massive scale of violence directed by Muslim boys at Muslim girls and non-Muslim kids in Groruddalen; but the respected research website that publicized these findings entirely misrepresented them, claiming that the report showed young people in the valley were “thriving” and “satisfied.” In 2017, NRK television ran an honest report on the high level of crime in Groruddalen, and Aftenposten was quick to publish a furious denial.
To be sure, these social pathologies haven’t been confined to Groruddalen, or even to Oslo. During the twenty-four years since I moved to Norway, the number of Muslims in the country has tripled. Women in hijab, which you used to see only in larger cities, can now be observed everywhere; you never used to see the more extreme garment, the niqab (only eyes visible), but now you do. Central Oslo once felt safe; it no longer does. A couple of atrocities hit me personally. In 2006, Stein Sjaastad, a doctor who was a friendly acquaintance of mine, was stabbed to death in his downtown Oslo clinic by one of his patients, an Algerian Muslim; on June 25 of last year, an Iranian Muslim killed two people, also acquaintances of mine, and injured 21 in a shooting outside Oslo’s biggest gay bar. Almost every weekend nowadays brings news of one or more major acts of Muslim violence in the city.
Recently a couple of relatively minor but illuminating stories have occasioned widespread comment. A reporter for Aftenposten spoke to an ethnic Norwegian family in east Oslo who’d taken their 11-year-old daughter out of their local school because the “cultural differences” had become too great. (White flight on an immense scale has, as it happens, been a fact of life in east Oslo for a long time now.) Another school in east Oslo made the news when several 10th-grade Muslim boys refused to shake the female principal’s hand at a graduation ceremony. (Far worse Muslim-related problems, it should be noted, have been commonplace for years in the schools of east Oslo.)
Observing these developments – and looking abroad to such sobering events as the recent riots in France – some Norwegian politicians are willing to acknowledge, with a relatively minor degree of euphemism and circumlocution, the grim facts about the consequences of mass Muslim immigration. But these politicians remain a minority. In a recent interview, Ola Svenneby, the leader of the Young Conservatives, had the candor to admit that there are unintegrated immigrant communities in Norway, and that there’s a need for serious initiatives to address this problem. In the meantime, argued Svenneby, in violation of his own party’s official positions, “quota immigration” should be paused, immigration through “family reunification” should be severely limited, and the country’s asylum system should be entirely overhauled.
Some of us have been saying such things for a long time – and have been widely castigated for it – but Svenneby deserves credit for breaking Conservative ranks to speak the truth. Too many other politicians, when discussing these matters, still act as if immigration in Norway – and throughout Western Europe – has been a glorious success. Which brings us back to Simen Bondevik, the 22-year-old who’s running for a seat on Oslo’s City Council – and who obviously has loftier long-term ambitions that his famous name may well help him to achieve.
On July 11 Bondevik responded to Svenneby in an op-ed entitled “Immigration is an Enrichment for Norway.” Seeing the headline, I wondered: is he too young to know what a cliché this is, or has he consciously made a career decision to stand firm for assertions, however outrageously false, that are patently designed to flatter and appease Oslo’s huge and ever-swelling Islamic electorate? Norway, Bondevik insists, isn’t in any danger of falling apart, certainly not as a result of immigration. On the contrary, he declares, immigration is an entirely positive phenomenon, providing “a sorely needed workforce and cultural enrichment.”
A workforce? Yes, there are people who move to Norway to work – mostly from places like Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden – and whose presence in this country isn’t a problem for anybody. I live near Kongsberg, where many highly educated foreigners work in the aerospace field. The economy of Stavanger, on the North Sea coast, is centered on the offshore petroleum industry, which employs skilled workers from around the world. These people are nothing but a plus for Norway, and it goes without saying that when at least some of us in Norway dare to discuss difficulties related to immigration and integration, we’re not talking about immigrants like these (or, for that matter, like me); we’re talking about the ones who move to Norway to freeload, make mischief, and live in Muslim enclaves.
As for “cultural enrichment,” it’s remarkable to see anybody in Western Europe in the year 2023 dragging out that ridiculous phrase. Bondevik even dusts off this line: “Diversity isn’t damaging, but a strength for our society.” If you asked a chatbot to churn out 500 words or so of multicultural clichés about Muslim immigration it couldn’t have done better.
For none of his contentions, moreover, does Bondevik provide even a scintilla of evidence. And his handful of proposals for improving integration are vague and silly. For example, he asks: “What about better Norwegian instruction?” In fact, the free language instruction provided to immigrants by the government of Norway is terrific. I took advantage of this offer 23 years ago, to my great benefit. The problem isn’t the instruction – it’s the immigrants who don’t bother to sign up for it, and who spend decades living in Norway without being able to speak more than a few mangled words of the language.
Bondevik also suggests that the Norwegian government provide better “leisure-time activities” for Muslim youths. In fact, these youths have all the recreational options that their non-Muslim agemates have. The government spends hefty sums every year to feed, clothe, and house Muslim families. Should it spend even more to build world-class libraries, gyms, and community centers just for young Muslims? Cities all over France did so – only to see these facilities burned to the ground in the recent riots by the very people for whom they were intended.
Bondevik concludes his article with a call to reject “simplistic and populistic solutions to complex problems”and instead “create an inclusive society” that “gives all people equal opportunities to succeed.” How? He doesn’t say. He has no answers. All he appears to have is a burning ambition to follow in Grandpa’s footsteps.
Ah, and about his grandfather: Kjell Magne Bondevik, 75, politician and Lutheran pastor, was in his heyday a reliable fount of vapid slogans about the environment, Third World poverty, and interfaith dialogue, and a ready defender of Islam from any and all critics. As prime minister, he was gung-ho about mass Islamic immigration; after leaving office, he founded a Clinton-like organization called the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, and in 2021, via the Oslo Center, he was given millions of kroner by the Muslim World League, a Saudi government entity, in exchange for political contacts and a prestigious prize.
Simen Bondevik, then, looks like a chip off the old block. But he’s not alone, and I don’t mean to single him out. On the contrary, the only reason I’m giving him any attention at all is that, in contrast to Svenneby, Bondevik’s number is legion. He’s the anti-Geert Wilders, the non-Marine Le Pen. He’s a man without conviction or courage, without an idea in his head, and without any sense of obligation to preserve Western European liberty. He’s a junior-league version of Macron. Multiply him by a few dozen and you have the gutless wonders in the Dutch Parliament who were made uneasy by Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s grit. In short, he’s the kind of politician who today is content to utter the most mind-numbing progressive platitudes and who tomorrow will meekly take part in the handover of Western Europe to the enemy within.
Decades ago, the current crisis of Western European Islamization was created by spineless, short-sighted, self-righteous fools like Bondevik’s grandfather, who knew absolutely nothing about Islam and who, years later, seeing the results of their folly, weren’t ever willing to admit that they’d made a colossal mistake. Now, in the wake of the French riots, it’s more urgent than ever, in Oslo and throughout Western Europe, that the pusillanimous likes of Simen Bondevik be recognized for the existential menaces that they are and banished, once and for all, from the corridors of power, while the few brave voices of truth, such as Ole Svenneby, are given the chance to save the countries they love.
This is, alas, easier said than done. The 2016 election of Trump, who, unlike the establishment leaders of the two major U.S. parties, actually took on the issues that preoccupied American voters, was enough of a miracle. But most of the Western European electoral systems are designed to make it very tough indeed for dissenters from the elite consensus to gain power. Pim Fortuyn, and later Geert Wilders, had to start their own parties. Even when given the option of supporting strong immigration-focused parties, such as the Sweden Democrats, voters can be maddeningly fickle. This has to stop. The Bondeviks have to go. The future of Western freedom hangs in the balance.