Is It a Policy Change in FrP?

During the opening, the head of Oslo Progress Party Youth,
Christer Kjølstad said they must stop talking disparagingly about the religion
of Islam.

– We have many immigrants who could vote for us, but they do
not do it because we're talking negatively about their religion, continued
Kjølstad. He called FrP supporters and politicians to learn to distinguish
between religion and culture.

Another young FrP politician Siri Ulleberg similarly stated
that he grew up in eastern part of Oslo within immigrant culture and he
suggested organizing courses about the difference between religion and culture.
Ulleberg added saying, "Islam is not dangerous in itself, the extremist
are dangerous."

The Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) is described as
conservative and right-wing populist. Ever since its foundation, other parties
have consistently refused the Progress Party's efforts to join any governing
coalition at the state level. The reasons have mainly included concerns about
the party's alleged position on immigration issues. From the second half of the
1980s the economic and welfare aspects of immigration policy were mainly a
focus of Progress Party criticism, including the strains placed by immigration
on the welfare state. During the 1990s the party shifted to focus more on
cultural and ethnic issues and conflicts. In 1993, it was the first party in
Norway to use the notion of "integration politics" in its party
programme.

A poll conducted by Utrop in August 2009 showed that 10% of
immigrants in Norway would vote for the Progress Party, only beaten by the
Labor Party (38% and 56% respectively), when asked. More specifically, this
constituted 9% of both African and Eastern European immigrants, 22% of Western
European immigrants and 3% of Asian immigrants. Thus, it was above all
immigrants from Western countries that contributed to the Progress Party,
whereas those from the Middle East and Asia were very unlikely to support it;
however, many immigrants from Africa also voted for the Progress Party.
Recently people of immigrant background are also increasingly active in the
party, most notably Iranian-Norwegian Deputy Member of Parliament Mazyar
Keshvari and Indian-Norwegian youth politician Himanshu Gulati.

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