Norway’s ruling coalition collapsed on Monday over the repatriation of a suspected female Islamic State fighter from Syria.

The right-wing Norwegian Progress Party ended a seven-year alliance with Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s Conservative Party after she agreed to take in a suspected female jihadi and her two children on “humanitarian” grounds.

The unnamed 29-year-old woman of Pakistani origin had reportedly left Norway to join the ISIS Caliphate in 2013. The children were born after she departed to join the terrorist group in Syria, reports say.

“We could welcome the children, but we do not compromise with people who have voluntarily joined terrorist organizations and who are working to tear down all the values Norway is built on,” Siv Jensen, leader of the Progress Party, told reporters.

Since the Norwegian constitution does not allow for an early election, Prime Minister Solberg will continue to lead a minority government until the next year’s general election. With the right-wing Progress Party mobilizing openly against the government, the country could plunge into a political crisis.

German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the break up of Norway’s governing coalition:

Norway’s right-wing Progress Party pulled out of the governing coalition on Monday after the government chose to repatriate a woman charged with supporting terrorist groups while she was in Syria.

Finance Minister Siv Jensen announced the move at a press conference, saying that it had become too difficult to get enough of her populist party’s policies through government.

“I brought us into government, and I’m now taking the party out,” Jensen told a news conference.

The move means that Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg no longer has a parliamentary majority.

Shortly after the announcement, Solberg said she intends to stay in office as the head of a minority government, although the situation is likely to make it more difficult for her to govern.

Norway’s constitution does not allow for early elections, with the next parliamentary vote due to take place in September 2021.

Last week, Norway’s Cabinet decided to allow the woman to return to Norway with her two children so that her 5-year-old son could receive medical treatment. The three had been living in the Kurdish-controlled al-Hol refugee camp in Syria. (…) The Progress Party offered to help the woman’s children, but sought to block the government from providing assistance to adults seeking to return to Norway after marrying foreign fighters or joining Islamist groups abroad.

The Kurdish and allied forces detained an estimated 12,300 foreigners linked to ISIS after the Islamic Caliphate collapsed in 2018, UK newspaper The Guardian reported recently. The number includes more than 8,700 children holding 40 nationalities.

Last week, UN officials called for the repatriation these children to their respective countries, and slammed the plans by some countries to allow minors to return without their mothers, many of whom committed war crimes on behalf of ISIS, claiming it ran counter to the principle of the “best interests of the child.”

While the European media and the governments continue to harp on the humanitarian need to repatriate the female ISIS fighters and children, they pose a considerable security threat to the recipient countries. An intelligence assessment issued by Germany’s domestic spy agency (BfV) suggested this week that female jihadis “leaving the country, returning back, and remaining in Germany are increasingly supporting violence and are ready to carry it out.” These women are taking up leadership positions the Islamist networks in Germany and raising the next generation of jihadis that are “radicalized from a young age,” the intelligence service warned.

The returning ISIS children, too, pose a grave threat. As the outgoing German intelligence chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, warned in 2017: “There are children who have been brainwashed and highly radicalized at ‘schools’ in IS-held areas. (….) It’s a problem for us because many of these kids and teenagers can sometimes be dangerous.”

Besides Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France are also struggling to deal with thousands of returning battle-hardened ISIS jihadis and their radicalized families. The problem is compounded with tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants joining the ranks of jihadis in each of these countries. In Germany and France, the number of radicalized Muslims committed to jihad has crossed 12,000 and 17,000, respectively. The problem is even more acute in the UK, where that figure is thought to be around 35,000, according to EU counter-terrorism estimates.

Sky News UK: ‘We’re going to slaughter you,’ say the children of Syria’s IS camp

[Cover image via YouTube]


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