On Tuesday, multiple prominent members of the Independency Party (IP) distanced themselves from their fellow-party member and member of Alþingi Ásmundur Friðriksson’s suggestion, that police should research the background of muslims in Iceland, for the sake of securing the country from terrorism. As reported, reacting to last week’s terrorist attack in Paris, the parliamentarian proposed the measures on Facebook.
Björn Bjarnason, former Minister of education and culture spoke of “Ásmundur’s idiocy” in a blog post. Interviewed by RÚV, party group chair Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir stated that she disagreed with Ásmundur.
Multiple members of Alþingi on behalf of the Independence party have now declared their opposition as well, including the following: Pétur Blöndal, who said that terrorists exist within all religions and singling out muslims would be wrong; Elín Hirst; Brynjar Níelsson, who added that he does not want the police to “meddle in anyone’s affairs unless the person is suspected of an offence”; former police officer Vilhjálmur Árnason; Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, who says that whereas Iceland must “stay awake” as regards its security affairs, religion is not the issue: “I disagree with Ásmundur that muslims in the country should be singled out, peceful people who are worried about this as well”; Valgerður Gunnarsdóttir and Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir.
Birgir Ármannsson refused to comment, as did Jón Gunnarsson, who is reportedly traveling abroad and said he had not had time to ponder Ásmundur’s suggestion. Haraldur Benediktsson said that he has not yet formed an opinion.
Formed throughout the 20th century by the merge of liberals, conservatives and nationalists, the Independence Party has a long standing as the country’s largest political party. It is currently in government, along with the leading Progressive Party.