Norway’s Coalition Government Collapses Over Policy on Return of Suspected ISIS Bride

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg talks during a joint press conference with European
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The government of Norway has collapsed following a dispute over the return of a woman who is suspected of joining the radical Islamist terrorist group ISIS.

Centre-right libertarian group the Norwegian Progress Party (FRP) withdrew its coalition support Monday, collapsing the governing coalition. The Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg no longer holds a majority in parliament.

The decision by the FRP to leave the coalition was sparked by the government’s decision last week to allow the return of a woman who left Norway in 2013 to live in an area of Syria controlled by the Islamic State jihadist group.

The unnamed woman, who is believed to be from a Norwegian-Pakistani family in Oslo, was given permission to return to Norway to seek medical care for one of her two children. She was arrested upon her return on suspicion of joining the terrorist group.

“We do not compromise with people who have voluntarily joined terrorist organizations. It made the cup run over”, said FRP leader Siv Jensen according to the Norwegian paper Aftenposten.

“There is no longer any basis for FRP to continue in government”, she added.

“I respect that Frp has a different view because this was a difficult trade-off. For me, it was right that the boy came home to Norway and thus got help”, said Prime Minister Solberg.

Solberg is expected to govern from a minority position, as Norway does not have a provision in its constitution for an early election. The next scheduled election will not take place until September of 2021 according to Deutsche Welle, meaning the country could face months of political stagnation under a government unable to pass laws.

The recent repatriation of the alleged ISIS bride comes in stark contrast to the stated policy of the Norwegian government, which has been actively stripping residence permits and deporting those affiliated with the Islamic State since May of last year.

Countries across Europe have been grappling with what to do with citizens who joined terrorist groups in the Middle East, following the destruction of the so-called ISIS Caliphate.  In November Germany repatriated a suspected ISIS bride along with her three children, marking the first instance the country repatriated a female Islamic State member.

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