A Progressive Party MP believes the party could have done a better job at handling anti-mosque rhetoric during municipal election season.
In a recent interview with DV, Progressive Party MP Karl Garðarsson was candid about how his party campaigned during last May’s municipal elections. In particular, he criticised how Progressive leadership responded to Progressive city councilperson Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, when she said she would revoke the granting of a plot of land for Iceland’s Muslims to build a mosque. Other remarks were made by her, and other Progressives, which also used Islam as a campaign point.
“People spent too much time brushing this off and should have spoken more clearly,” Karl said. “The party leadership was far too late in speaking up to take an express position against this. People should have stepped forward immediately and said: This is not what we stand for.”
Karl also touched upon remarks made earlier this month by his colleague, Progressive MP and parliamentary party chairperson Sigrún Magnúsdóttir, that she “misses a media that understands the Progressives,” refering to what she perceived as negative press over the mosque issue.
“The media understands the Progressives quite well,” Karl said. “However, I think a lot of people in the party need to understand the nature of the media better. People need to reflect upon themselves, and be more careful about their opinions and what they say. The media isn’t harrassing people who behave honourably, are true to themselves, and do not have any extremist opinions.”