Sindre Bangstad

Sindre Bangstad is a social anthropologist and research associate at KIFO, Institute For Church, Religion and Worldview Research in Oslo, Norway. He is the author of Anders Breivik And The Rise of Islamophia (Zed Books/Chicago University Press, 2014) and the forthcoming Anthropology Of Our Times: An Edited Volume In Public Anthropology (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).

Posts by Sindre Bangstad:

Friday, May 19th, 2017

A State of suspicion: Counter-radicalization in Norway

Norwegian rally against ISIS and the Prophet's Ummah, August 18 2014. Photo: Sindre BangstadAt the national party congress of the governing populist right-wing Progress Party in Norway in May, the assembled party delegates adopted resolutions calling for state control of Norwegian mosques in the name of preventing “radicalization into violent extremism.” The Progress Party (FrP) also adopted resolutions calling for the Norwegian state to introduce compulsory Christian prayers in public schools, for a national ban on the wearing of the Islamic headscarf (the hijab) for pupils under the age of sixteen in public schools, and for a national ban on circumcision of male children. In other words, the run-up to the Norwegian parliamentary elections in September 2017, which will make it clear whether the right-wing coalition government of the Conservative Party and the populist right-wing Progress Party will fall or be returned to power, is in full swing.

And as it has since the mid-1980s, the FrP will run this parliamentary election campaign on a platform of a politics of fear and division—targeting immigrants, in general, and Muslim minorities, in particular.

Read the rest of A State of suspicion: Counter-radicalization in Norway.
Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

The public voice of Muslim women

In an essay here back in 2011, I sounded the alarm about the ubiquity and mainstreaming of hate speech directed against Muslims in Norway. That item was published a mere month before a White, Norwegian, right-wing extremist—who claimed Christian conservative leanings, and who had, since 2006, drenched himself in the netherworld of far-right online conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims in Europe—committed the worst terrorist attacks in modern Norwegian history, killing seventy-seven people in Oslo and at Utøya on July 22, 2011.

In that essay I was concerned with a state of affairs in Norway in which anti-Muslim ideas and sentiments had become so ubiquitous in the media and in public discourse—and legitimate and necessary critique of “religion” so conflated with hate speech—that few seemed to have the stomach to engage in any form of counter-speech, and hate speech against Muslims was hardly ever prosecuted.

Read the rest of The public voice of Muslim women.
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Fighting words that are not fought

“Under what conditions does freedom of speech become freedom to hate?” Judith Butler recently asked. Here I will explore these issues in light of recent developments concerning the freedom of speech in Norway. I will argue that applying a cosmopolitan liberal approach to freedom of speech (i.e., along U. S. First Amendment lines) in a European context in which anti-Muslim and anti-immigration discourses are becoming ever more poisonous and pervasive risks underestimating the power dynamics inherent to the practice of free speech in contemporary Europe as well as overestimating the “mainstream” political and intellectual will to mobilize against the populist right-wing’s instrumentalized Islamophobia.

Read the rest of Fighting words that are not fought.