It was, shall we say, an interesting week in Norway. On Tuesday, January 17, a video was posted on YouTube that called for Norwegian soldiers to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. Over images of Norwegian soldiers and of Norway's prime minister, foreign minister, and crown prince, a text calling for Allah to “destroy them and let it be painful” was read aloud in Arabic, with subtitles in Norwegian. The video, which concluded with an image of Norway's flag in flames, urged Muslims to show up for a protest rally on Friday outside the parliament building in Oslo.
The video provoked instant outrage. On Wednesday, the security police arrested a suspect, but announced that even if the rally organizers proved to be responsible for the video, their permit wouldn't be withdrawn. It soon emerged that there were connections between the video and a Facebook group whose members included Arfan Bhatti, one of four men arrested in 2006 for shooting at the Oslo synagogue. (Bhatti was also suspected by police of plotting to blow up the U.S. and Israeli embassies.) Another member was Mohyeldeen Mohammed, who at a jihadist rally two years ago threatened Norway with its own 9/11.
And guess who else turned out to be an active member of the Facebook group? None other than Aisha Shezadi Kausar (20), whom I wrote about a couple of weeks ago – the girl who's being sent around to schools by the Norwegian literary establishment so she can brainwash kids into thinking the niqab is just dandy. (Her essay, “You, Me, and Niqab,” has been reprinted in a collection of essays being distributed to students all over the country.) On Facebook, Kausar clicked “like” on the news of the upcoming rally.
On Thursday, the Communist daily Klassekampen ran a sympathetic interview with Kausar. When Niqab Girl walked into a café with interviewer Åse Brandvold, the customers emitted audible groans. Brandvold: “Her garment provokes them....Only the eyes show. They are radiant.” Kausar: “I want to go over to them and say: Hi, I'm Aisha, and I'm an ordinary person.” Yes, an “ordinary person” who admitted to Brandvold that she planned to take part in the Saturday rally and who, when asked to comment on the video, said: “It's just a video.” Though Brandvold pressed her (ever so slightly), Niqab Girl refused to condemn the video: “I'm tired of Muslims always being expected to distance themselves from one another all the time.”
At some point during the week came the stunning announcement by the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) that Islamists represent the major terrorist threat to the country. Needless to say, this news should not have been stunning to anybody, but (as I describe in a forthcoming e-book) ever since last July 22, when anti-jihadist Anders Behring Breivik bombed a building in Oslo and massacred several dozen teenagers on the island of Utøya, the Norwegian political and cultural elite has done a very effective job of suppressing criticism of Islam on the grounds that the “lesson” of Breivik's actions is that ethnic Norwegians must stop saying unpleasant things about Islam and embrace their bold, bearded, berobed, and belligerent fellow countrymen as friends and neighbors.
So it was that PST got slammed on a Thursday night TV debate program by Muslim leaders who called for it to stop demonizing their community and pay more attention to the threat of violence by Islam-hating “Christian terrorist” groups in Norway. (Never mind that, as a terrorism expert bravely pointed out on the show, there are no such groups in Norway.) On the same broadcast, the head of the aggressive, fast-growing Islam Net, Fahad Qureshi (whose every comment was greeted by a storm of applause from his followers in the studio audience) attacked a politician for having called the perpetrators of the threatening video “vermin”: instead of being dehumanized, Qureshi insisted, the jihadists who'd made that video should be accorded respect and invited to take part in dialogue.
What was particularly perverse about this picture was that the politician whom Qureshi called on the carpet, Abid Q. Raja, is also a Muslim – one who's made clear his own Islamist sympathies but who, in the current bizarre atmosphere, comes off, in comparison with the likes of Qureshi, as a moderate, a patriot, a stalwart champion of the royal house and of Norwegian democracy. (The possibility that such confrontations between top-flight Norwegian Muslims are part of a calculated good cop/bad cop strategy cannot be discounted.)
Anyway, Friday came around, and the big rally proved anti-climactic, to say the least. Muslim leaders had spent the week begging their coreligionists to stay away lest they screw up the post-Breivik interdict on Islam criticism. Nearly every Muslim in Norway obeyed. Dozens of journalists and scores of cops turned up for the protest – as did I – but only a few protesters. I stayed around long enough to hear Bhatti spewing into a microphone his contempt for America, Israel, “infidels,” and “kufr,” and echoing the threats uttered on the Norway-out-of-Afghanistan video. (Unfortunately, my video of Bhatti's rant shows him and his supporters from about thirty yards away; the mounted policewoman seen in the foreground wouldn't let me get closer.)
On Saturday afternoon, the top headline on the website of Norway's biggest newspaper, VG, was about Niqab Girl. It turned out that the indirect government funding of her promotion tour for female subordination (her sponsor, the Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association, receives generous state support) was now being criticized by members of parliament from several parties – which raised the hope that there might actually be a limit to some of these people's mind-boggling dhimmitude. Still, Wanda Voldner, head of Foreningen Les!, the group that's sending Niqab Girl around to the schools, said there were no plans to end her tour.
VG further revealed that Niqab Girl – surprise! – supports the Taliban and prefers sharia to democracy. Voldner had no problems with this, either: “She doesn't call for violence....We don't see why we should change a collaboration that's already underway.” The general secretary of the Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association (NFF) agreed: “There are many authors who have many different opinions....NFF doesn't censor.”
No – neither of these groups would ever, ever censor an author. Perish the thought! Unless, of course, the author in question was a critic of Islam. No, as far as the Norwegian establishment is concerned, it's perfectly legitimate to invite an “author” whose entire oeuvre consists of a thousand-word piece of propaganda to “lecture” to kids on the pretext that she's talking about her “work”; but to invite an actual working writer who actually knows a thing or two about Islam to tell the same students the truth about it – and about the Koran, and sharia law, and jihad (and to explain why Niqab Girl's lecture tour is, in fact, a form of jihad) – would be hate speech, pure and simple.
The only hope for an about-face on this march into madness lies with the Norwegian people. Can parents who have sons battling the Taliban in Afghanistan actually accept that their taxes are paying for a Taliban supporter to indoctrinate their younger children in Norwegian classrooms? For heaven's sake, if this doesn't raise enough people's hackles to make a difference, what will?
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.