Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer has translated an op-ed from Aftenposten containing the latest multicultural wisdom from one of the best and brightest in the Norwegian media.
The female author of this piece is obviously suffering from the same delusional fantasies as the rest of the predominantly left-wing Norwegian ‘academy’. She seems to believe that it’s OK to introduce sharia in Norway, provided it happens through ‘democratic means’.
Notice that it’s practically a non-issue for the Norwegian MSM to print articles that defend sharia, the Taliban and Islam. Articles that are highly critical of these issues, on the other hand, are a big no-no.
This is the sad state of affairs in this ‘Bastopian’ (Bastøy-Utopia) la-la land.
The subject of the op-ed, one Arfan Qadeer Bhatti, is reportedly one of the Muslim zealots behind the online video posted last month that threatened the prime minister and other Norwegian officials. In the opinion of the author, Mr. Bhatti has a perfect right to his radical incitements, provided that he doesn’t actually behead anybody or blow something up.
To get a feeling for the shameless double standard at work here, replace Bhatti’s name with “Fjordman” in some of the sentences below. Texts containing the revised wording would never be published in the Norwegian media, and might even invite legal action if they were. Opinions like those of Fjordman are simply unthinkable in Modern Multicultural Norway.
On the other hand, jihad, the Taliban, sharia, the Caliphate, etc. — that’s a different matter. Nothing wrong with those ideas. Our superior, enlightened, progressive tolerance requires that we give them a fair public hearing:
In defence of a fanatical Muslim
The right to be an extreme Muslim should be just as obvious as the right to be an extreme Christian. The freedom to work for societal reforms also applies when the goal is sharia.
By Inger Anne Olsen
With his violent background, his extreme religious views and his spectacular beard, Arfan Qadeer Bhatti has managed in just a few weeks to divide Norwegian Muslim fundamentalists and become a new symbol for everything that may be wrong with Islam.
Perhaps he has violated Norwegian penal codes with his aggressive rhetoric and his alleged role in the publishing of a video that exhibits strong anti-Norwegian Government views, but then again perhaps not. And as long as he stays within the boundaries of the law, no one can stop Arfan Bhatti in his struggle to introduce sharia in Norway. Regardless how much it may displease us.
Arfan Bhatti’s personal transformation could have been a pleasing one. In 2002, Bhatti, one of Norway’s most violent men, just released from prison, told us that he had found God and become a devout Muslim. That a prisoner sometimes finds God and is gloriously saved is not uncommon, and such news is normally met with joy.
Bhatti didn’t try to make himself appear more palatable, and he told us that he only felt contempt for traditional Norwegian values.
“I have a lot of hatred inside my head. I am so angry that tears sometimes start to flow when I think of Norwegian authorities,”
the converted Bhatti told Dagbladet ten years ago.
The wayward son
Nor has the return of the wayward son been received with joy in the Muslim community. On the contrary, there is a strong tendency there to denounce him.
Most striking is Abid Raja’s attitude. Raja told Dagbladet yesterday that:
“It would have been better for all of us if he had remained a criminal. Now he’s even more dangerous because now he’s an extremist.”
But the same year that Bhatti’s personal transformation took place; Raja himself suggested that young criminal Muslims should be given the opportunity to serve shorter prison sentences in a mosque, under the supervision and guidance of an Imam. The purpose was to get them on the right path.
And if Bhatti is a dangerous extremist, then he’s still a criminal.
Yet Raja is correct when he says that: One doesn’t become a religious authority just because one grows a beard.
But in the verbal tug of war about what constitutes a good Muslim, and how Islam should be practiced, Bhatti has in a relative short period manage to turn himself and his small group of followers into a marginal phenomenon, from which other fundamentalist Islamist groups are eager to distance themselves. The Islamic Council of Norway, an organization that for many years has been perceived as an enemy of society, is now seen upon as a kind uncle and is considered to be a safe and stable partner for the Norwegian Church.
This development has occurred gradually, but 35 Muslim men in prayer in front of the parliament, and quite possibly under the leadership of Arfan Bhatti and Mohyeldeen Mohammed, have quickly shifted society’s understanding of where the Muslim danger is coming from.
What type of Sharia?
As is true of many other Muslims, Bhatti wants to introduce sharia in Norway. This is utopia. Large parts of sharia collide with the prevailing Norwegian understanding of democracy and justice, nor does there exist a general consensus among Muslims what sharia is and how it should be practiced. Islam is just as fragmented as other religions. And after decades of seemingly paralyzing consensus, Norwegian Muslims have finally started to discuss which branch of Islam they belong to, and how they believe Islam should be practiced. This is a big step forward, although it invariably leads to discord and disagreement.
In this landscape there is no doubt that Arfan Bhatti is an extreme Islamist. One may, of course, dislike this fact intensely, but he has every right to be one, as long as he’s not violent or threatening. Nor does he try to hide, and he uses his own name when he reveals his opinions.
Even a blind hen can find corn, and when Bhatti points out that countries that engage in wars are exposing themselves to danger, he’s not saying anything that we don’t already know. Such statements are only problematic if they are presented as threats.
And this leads us to the problem. Because it’s quite possible that Arfan Bhatti is playing on our fear of the person he used to be and that he has a genuine desire to appear threatening. But Norway as a society should be able to come up with better arguments against extreme Islamist views than ones telling them to move to countries where sharia is practiced, which is exactly how Siv Jensen (The Progress Party) dismisses Bhatti.
Just as Norwegian as the King
Arfan Bhatti was born and raised in Norway to immigrant parents, and thus he is just as Norwegian as the King. Bhatti has strongly divergent views on religion, different from that of most people and different from that of most Norwegian Muslims. But as long as it happens through peaceful means, Bhatti has just as much right to work for the introduction of sharia in Norway as Siv Jensen has the right to work for the introductions of Progress Party policies.
If Norway does not have room for people who advocate the introduction of sharia through democratic means, we should seriously consider recalling our own Christian missionaries, sent out on the mission field with substantial government support.
The right to be a fanatical Muslim should be just as obvious as the right to be a fanatical Christian. The limits are not drawn by what type of society we want to introduce, but by the methods we are willing to adopt.
The worst thing that can happen to any dissident is not to be noticed, and perhaps a shrug of the shoulder is the most effective medicine against fanatical, religious extremists who claim to have seen the light.