SOS Rasisme

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Not to be confused with SOS Racisme.

SOS Rasisme was a Norwegian activist organisation, whose stated goal is to reduce racism in society. It was founded in 1985, inspired by the French SOS Racisme. The first years the organisation was a part of Antirastisk Senter, another anti-racist organisation, but in the early 1990s it became independent.

SOS Rasisme was co-founded by Kristin Halvorsen, who later became Minister of Finances from 2005 to 2009. It reports to be Europe's largest anti-racist membership organisation, with more than 40,000 members. It is a democratic organisation, with new leadership elected every two years. Current leader is Trond Thorbjørnsen, re-elected at the organisation's 11th national assembly in 2008. SOS Rasisme claims to have more than 270 local chapters all over Norway.

The organisation has come into the spotlight after it was revealed that it is being run by Serve the People, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organisation, and fraudulently claimed more members than the real numbers showed to get financial support from the government.[1][2]

Criticism of SOS Rasisme[edit]

On 16 January 2006, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv claimed that SOS Rasisme was dominated and influenced by people on the far left in Norwegian politics, and questioned whether the large number of members was actually correct or a falsification. SOS Rasisme has denied all claims that their membership figures were false.[3]

On 9 September 2009, Norwegian radio station P4 ran a story claiming that five of the leaders of SOS Rasisme are also high-ranking members of a revolutionary Communist organisation called Tjen Folket ("Serve the People"). P4 quoted Khalid Salimi, the founder of SOS Rasisme, as saying he was ousted from the organisation by the communists, and that SOS Rasisme was at that time run almost exclusively by white Norwegian communists. Salimi estimated that there were actually more "darkeys" in the Progress Party, a Norwegian political party with an immigration skeptic agenda, than in SOS Rasisme. [4]

Withdrawal of public funding in 2010[edit]

On 1 March 2010, the Public Council for Norwegian Child and Youth Organisations (Norwegian: Landsrådet for Norges Barne- og ungdomsorganisasjoner, LNU) announced that they withdrew public funding given to SOS Rasisme. The reason was that the number of members and local chapters reported by SOS Rasisme seemed to be incorrect, and they were in doubt about whether the money to the organisation was going out to the local chapters. It was uncovered that SOS Rasisme had used the money to buy real estate by channeling state grants through a company called Aktivisteiendom AS (Activist Real Estate). It was also uncovered that SOS Rasisme offered a so-called "family membership", where members could enroll members of their family into SOS Rasisme simply by stating their first name, without any documentation that the family members in question even existed or were willing to join the organisation. Government funding of SOS Rasisme was based on the total number of members. The treasurer of SOS Rasisme, Kjell Gunnar Larsen, denied any wrongdoing, and claimed that the probe carried out by LNU was part of an organised campaign by far-right groups. [5][6][7][8][9]

In October 2009, the auditing firm KPMG carried out an audit of SOS Rasisme's membership lists in three Norwegian cities. The investigation found that about half of the people on the membership roster, which was used as a basis for calculating public funding, denied being members of SOS Rasisme. The report also found several instances of infants younger than one year of age being signed up as members by older family members.[10]

Activists infiltrated anti-Islam group[edit]

On 11 March 2012 Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet revealed that from its beginnings in 2010 and until the spring of 2011 the leadership of the Norwegian Defence League, an anti-Islam group with close links to the English Defence League, was infiltrated by members of SOS Rasisme. Several anonymous sources told the newspaper that the anti-racists in fact were in majority on the governing board. One of the sources, and an SOS Rasisme member, was one of the NDL board members. Another SOS Rasisme member whom the sources alleged to have been an NDL board member denied the claims. The anti-racists were allegedly using false identities and were reporting directly back to SOS Rasisme. According to the newspaper, Lena Andreassen who was leader of the NDL in the spring of 2011 didn't know about the infiltration. Ronny Alte, NDL spokesperson until April 2012, confirmed they had come to realise that there were infiltrators in the NDL in 2011.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flydal, Eiliv Frich; Sandli, Espen (11 May 2010). "- Tjen Folket er limet i organisasjonen" [- Serve the People is the glue in the organisation]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 
  2. ^ Flydal, Eiliv Frich (12 November 2011). "Politiet etterforsker medlemsjuks og trygdejuks" [Police investigating membership fraud and pension fraud]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Larsen, Kjell Gunnar (17 January 2006). "SOS Rasisme og Dagens Næringsliv" [SOS Rasisme and Dagens Næringsliv] (in Norwegian). SOS Rasisme. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Molland, Erik (9 September 2009). "SOS rasisme og ultrakommunister med samme sjefer" [SOS rasisme and ultra-communists with the same bosses] (in Norwegian). P4. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Flydal, Eiliv Frich (5 March 2010). "Riksrevisjonen følger jakten på juks i SOS rasisme" [Office of the Auditor General follows the hunt for cheating in SOS rasisme]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Hjerpset-Østlie, Nina (5 March 2010). "SOS rasisme: brukte driftsmidler til eiendomsinvesteringer" [SOS rasisme: used operational funds for real estate investments] (in Norwegian). Document.no. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Willgohs, Simen; Brandvold, Åse (4 March 2010). "Her er drifts-midlene" [Here are the operational funds]. Klassekampen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Willgohs, Simen; Brandvold, Åse (5 March 2010). "Ba om overføringer selv" [They themselves asked for transfers]. Klassekampen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Willgohs, Simen; Brandvold, Åse (6 March 2010). "Stadig mindre aktivitet" [Ever decreasing activity]. Klassekampen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Flydal, Eiliv Frich (4 May 2010). "Revisorrapport: Halvparten visste ikke de var medlem i SOS Rasisme" [Auditor report: Half didn't know they were members of SOS Rasisme]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Sandli, Espen; Brustad, Line; Flydal, Eiliv Frich (11 March 2012). "- Antirasister bygde høyreekstrem organisasjon" [- Anti-racists built up right-wing extremist organisation]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 11 March 2012. 

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