Norway’s coalition government is close to collapse after an Islamic State (IS) bride was brought back from Syria with her children.
The anti-immigrant Progress Party has threatened to leave Norway’s four-party coalition after the 29-year-old Norwegian-Pakistani woman arrived in Norway on Saturday with her son, five, and daughter, three.
She is believed to have travelled to Syria in 2013 and married a Norwegian-Chilean IS fighter called Bastian Vasquez, who is believed to have died, before she married another fighter.
Image: Populist Party leader Siv Jensen (L) has threatened to leave the coalition with prime minister Erna Solberg (R)
The decision to bring her back to Norway, accompanied by police, was made on “humanitarian grounds” over fears one of her children is seriously ill, minister of foreign affairs Ine Eriksen Soreide said.
The mother, who has not been named, was arrested on arrival for “participation in a terrorist organisation” and taken with her children to hospital.
But the Progress Party, Norway’s third largest, believe she used her child to get her out of the Al Hol camp in northeastern Syria where she has been held since March 2019 with thousands of other women and children.
The mother had refused to let the sick child travel alone to Norway.
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“Many believe she used her child as a shield to come back to Norway,” said Progress Party leader Siv Jensen, who is also Norway’s finance minister.
“There are many in Norway who are displeased by this, not just in the Progress Party.”
Image: About 74,000 women and children linked to Islamic State are held in the Al Hol camp
She said she did not feel her party was consulted in the woman’s repatriation decision and she is now facing pressure from local Progress Party leaders to take a stand and pull the party out of the delicate coalition.
Prime minister Erna Solberg, head of the Conservative Party and nicknamed Iron Erna after Margaret Thatcher, said: “A majority in the government believed that the concern for the child was paramount.”
A court hearing to determine the condition and length of the woman’s custody is happening on Monday.
At the same time, Norway’s cabinet is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting between the four coalition leaders about the Progress Party’s future.
Ms Solberg’s Conservatives entered into a coalition with the Progress Party as a minority government in 2013 before the Liberal Party joined them in 2018 and the Christian Democratic Party joined in 2019.
The government risked collapse in 2018 after opposition parties said they would not support a no-confidence motion in then-justice minister Sylvi Listhaug who accused the the centre-left Labour opposition party of believing “terrorists’ rights are more important than the nation’s security”.
Labour and its youth organisation were the main targets of Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people with a bomb in Oslo and a shooting attack on a youth camp on the island of Utoya in 2011.
The justice minister resigned, averting the government’s collapse.
Source : Sky News