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This organization, which between 20 was led by the former newspaper editor and early member of the Norwegian Humanist Association (Humanetisk Forbund, HEF), Mr Arne Tumyr, has since its establishment in 2008 been the strongest anti-Muslim civil society organization in Norway when measured in membership, and has links to similar organizations elsewhere in Europe and the USA.
Consisting mainly of elderly white males with and for many years led by a man obsessed with Islam and Muslims, SIAN caught significant media attention in Norway in the context of the aftermath right-wing extremist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik’s terrorist attacks on Government Headquarters and young Norwegian social democrats on the island of Utøya on July 22 2011, in which seventy-seven people, most of them defenseless teenagers, were killed in cold blood.
The invitation seemed like no big deal: Would Muslim students at Duke University like to give their call to prayer from the chapel bell tower? “I’m sitting there at 11 at night, working out at my apartment gym, and I had my i Phone out making notes and thinking, What do I say in this situation? The next day, under the protection of an armed plainclothes officer, he wove together Muslim parables about faith under fire with stories about protests during the 1960s civil rights struggle.
Zeb understood at that moment, in early 2015, that it was time for Muslim leaders like him – American-born, American-educated – to stand up for their communities in a new era of anti-Muslim hostility that’s worsened with the rise of President Donald Trump.
There’s great respect among the homegrown set for their pioneering immigrant elders, but also a de facto challenge: keep up or drift into irrelevancy.