Photo, Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

The former editor of the Norwegian newspaper, Klassekampen, Bjørgulv Braanen, labelled Helge Lurås of Resett ethnic nationalist and racist and said he regretted having invited Lurås to a debate during the Arendalsuka (the largest political event in Norway), when Braanen partook in a debate in the Tøyen library in late November.

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On 26 November, «neo-racism» was debated in the Tøyen library. In the extreme leftist panel, Bjørgulv Braanen were together with Mari Skurdal, the present editor of Klassekampen, Mohamed Abdi, columnist in Morgenbladet, and writer with minareten.no, Sindre Bangstad; a social anthropologist who has written the book, «Anders Behring Breivik and The Rise of Islamophobia», and Nora Warholm Essahli, leader of Antirasistisk og minoritetspolitisk utvalg (Anti racist and political committee) in the Norwegian leftist party, Rødt.

The announcement prior to the debate on the homepage of Deichman left no doubt regarding the focus of the debate and which community debaters one would discuss.

«A furore erupted when Klassekampen last summer invited the editor of Resett, Helge Lurås, to a debate during the Arendalsuka. For a long time, Nettmagasinet was criticised for being a platform of statements being hostile towards immigration, as well as islamophobia», it say in the description of the event.

During the debate, Resett got several vehement denunciations. The writer, Dag Herbjørnsrud, has summarised citations from the debate on Twitter. Braanen was challenged by Mohamed Abdi regarding the reason for his inviting Lurås to debate during the Arendalsuka.

– Why did you invite Lurås to the debate during the Arendalsuka?, Abdi asked Braanen.

– Vi thought like we always do; let the muck in the room. At the same time, in view of the Sumaya perspective, on second thought I would have thought differently, Braanen stated.

The social anthropologist, Sindre Bangstad, states that the tactics of Resett is to distract the masses and make them focus on so-called «cultural wars», instead of economic politics.

– Lurås is financed by multi millionaires and plutocrats living in Oslo Vest (the area in Oslo where, allegedly, the wealthy people live), he remarked.

Bjørgulv Braanen further thinks it is confirmed that Helge Lurås is a racist and an ethno nationalist. The fact has allegedly altered the way he thinks of the editor of Resett.

– You must try and understand the way we think. You may bully me; however, I thought Lurås fitted in. But when I found out that he was an ethno nationalist or racist. We now have it on tape, the former editor of Klassekampen said.

Resett has called Braanen, posing several questions regarding his initiative during the debate. We would like Braanen to explain what he considers racist and whether it is harmful to hear words one dislikes. Braanen was also challenged on whether it is all right to brand people with other opinions, in the light of the debate lately regarding the Black Box Teater; does he really regret having invited Helge Lurås to a debate?

Braanen does not want to answer any of the questions posed by Resett.

– I do not think anyone is interested in squeezing the lemon any further Braanen remark.

Helge Lurås finds the remarks in the wake of the debate in Arendal disappointing.

– Braanen did not at all express any such responses during the debate. On the contrary, the tone was an amiable and good one. By calling me a racist at present, his own flock will probably let him back in from the cold. Unfortunately, it shows that Braanen is lacking integrity and that he will not even answer to such serious accusations that he brings towards me; he should be really ashamed Lurås tells Resett.

Translated to English by Lars Hoem

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