Norway’s king nixes honor for foundation leader accused of anti-Semitism
Decision comes after Oslo mayor drops award for converted Muslim man accused of anti-Jewish sentiments after evaluating case as ‘problematic.’
The Norwegian Royal Palace has reportedly dropped controversial plans to recognize a converted Muslim who is accused of anti-Jewish sentiments.
The decision to withdraw the honor for Trond Ali Linstad was announced Tuesday after Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang canceled his participation in the award ceremony. Linstad, 69, is a former communist activist who converted to Islam and has published texts warning of Jewish influence on media and lobbying.
Linstad is the founder and leader of Urtehagen, the Islamic Foundation, which operates kindergartens and educational programs for women. The medal is awarded for meritorious work in private or public service.
Mayor Stang was scheduled to present a medal to Linstad on behalf of King Harald.
“I usually award the king’s service medals with pleasure, but in this case I evaluated it as problematic,” Stang is quoted as telling the Norwegian daily Aftenposten this week.
An Op-Ed published under Linstad’s name on the website Koranen.no warned readers to be “critical of the Jews in the world” who have “influence in newspapers and other media, in many political organs” and “networks.”
TV2, a Norwegian television station, reported that the Royal Palace said it was holding off on plans to award the medal “indefinitely.”
The event, planned and organized by officials from the Norwegian Royal Palace, was scheduled to take place at the National Theater in Oslo on Tuesday, but the theater’s management canceled for “security reasons.”
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. later reported that Linstad was poised to receive the medal later in the afternoon at an impromptu event set up as an alternative to the National Theater ceremony, but it was canceled, too, following a discussion involving palace officials and Linstad.
Terje Emberland of the Norwegian Holocaust Center told the Norwegian news agency NTB that “Linstad plays on the classic world conspiracy notion about Jews, as if the Jews are a single entity who work collectively with an evil plan. It’s a scandal that a person who makes such statements gets the king’s service medal.”
Linstad has written articles praising the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Two years ago he published in Aftenposten a “Muslim manifesto” suggesting that Muslims should not cooperate with national authorities because Allah was the only authority.