Why listen to the fundamentalists?

Tur til Fongen, 1441 moh. fra Ramsjøhytta i Tydal.

Something has happened in the last few weeks. While journalists have been beheaded by ISIS in the most horrific way, women and children raped and murdered, our homegrown islamists have admitted that they do support sharia and ISIS and that they do want a global islamic state. The suspicion, the claims that there are actually someone who want this even in the Western world, they were correct. It wasn’t just a bad accusation.

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Screenshot from an IS-supporter in Norway

The IS-terrorist who beheaded an American journalist is probably British, and the wife of a Swedish IS-jihadist have made clear her dream is to be the first woman to behead a Westerner. Shocked? There is every reason to be. But surprised? Not if you have read the biographies of ex-Islamists like Maajid Nawaz fra UK, or Ahmed Akkari from Denmark. They are in every detail telling how extremists are using the freedom of the Western world to to spread totalitarian and dangerous ideology, inside Western countries.

Tradisjonell arkitektur, Oppdal i Sør-Trøndelag

This summer we experienced a possible terror threat against Norway. We were told that Islamist terrorists from Syria could strike the country, as I told about in a former post. That obviously didn’t happen, but now the message is: the threat is permanent. It could happen any time.

I know, this is the situation in so many countries. Not only threats, but actual terrorism that in some parts of the world makes life a disaster. And war, just look at the Middle East. No country, no people deserves this situation. At the same time I find it very hard to understand why Norway and the other Scandinavian countries are now so affiliated with terrorism. Why we let that happen so to speak.

This small, secular and peaceful country have produced suicidebombers, one of the al-Shabaab terrorists killing about 70 people in Westgate Mall in Kenya last October, and 50-60 jihadists who have joined the barbaric fighting in Syria and Iraq. I know ISIS fighters come from all over the world, but we are only 5 million people and and our way of life used to be so totally far from all of this.

fjelltur_fongen_hcw-3

What makes this grow even in Western democracies? 40 years ago there was no Muslims in Norway. Now we have 220.000 (2013) and 129 mosques and muslim congregations (2009). Why do I mention this? Not because I believe every muslim is a potential terrorist, no, definitely not. On the contrary, many have come to Norway to find refuge from oppression, to find more democracy. But some forces brainwash people to be extremists, and some of these forces are definitely here, doing their dirty work from within.

As a society Norway have done little to reveal what they are, and to stop them. At least not the politicians or the media, with very few exceptions. We are a bit like Rotherham; some topics are not to be mentioned, some criticism is not uttered, except by those defined as the exstremist right. And who wants to be in the extremist right? We also have to take into consideration that we have given asylum to many people we don’t know the identity to, actually 9 out of 10 upon arrival, and obviously some who didn’t go to the West to celebrate democracy.

But there are voices that are warning, very competent voices. Not the least the ex-Islamists, people who have done the transition from what I would call «normal» muslim, to extremist, and back to normal again. Renouncing Islamism, but not necessarily Islam. I have mentioned two of them before, Ahmed Akkari from Denmark, who was once involved in igniting the muslim world against the Danish cartoons. And Maajid Nawaz from UK. If only half is true of what they say in their biographies about how islamists are using mosques and Western schools and universities to recruit to extremism, you get shudders. And I have no reason to not belive. Last week we actually also saw the leader of one of the Danish mosques mentioned by Akkari who confirmed he support ISIS.

We have in fact got many such confirmations that extremism exists among us lately. A few days ago Norwegian media actually started writing about a 23-year old who was one of the terrorists at the Westgate in Kenya last year. They start to look into this case almost one year after it happened, and how he was radicalized. Good. At last.

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Screenshot from Aftenposten 10.09.2014

One extremist in Norway just told in detail how he supported ISIS and jihad. That was a shock for all those who couldn’t believe such views could exist here. A protest was arranged in Oslo, with a 19 year old muslim girl up front. Just a few days later it was revealed that she was Shia, and maybe had all sorts of reasons to protest against the Sunni ISIS. She denies that she see Khomeini as a hero now, but even she confirms that she wants Sharia in Norway and an Islamic state. What is the reaction of the Norwegian media of a girl who writes on Facebook that “Do not love the one who doesn’t love Allah”? She is on all the major frontpages, as a symbol to be celebrated.

There are not done much research about the attitudes of Muslims and other immigrations to equality, democracy and extremism in Norway. One expert believe that probably thousands in Norway support Sharia and want this country to become an Islamic state. Attitudes easily confirmed by a Canadian news commentator that was present in Oslo at the ISIS-protest, and was surprised to find what we natives would find extremist views.

fjelltur_fongen_hcw

So all this is not easy to digest, especially because we normally want to believe the best about others, and that we all share similar views more or less on humanity, democracy and eqaulity. Yesterday we saw one of the so called moderates, a convert who have not always been that moderate, suddenly ask for a revolution within the muslim community: to make a clear separation between Islam the religion and Islam as politics. And to withdraw govenmental funding for any organization who don’t support human rights in word and action. That as a clear message to some of the mosques. She even renounced her former support for the Norwegian niqab-girls: “They take on one of the most provocative garments among both Muslims and most Norwegians, and maintains the role of victim when they are met with strong reactions. To get the “evidence” that society attack Islam.”

So now I am kind of optimistic. Light is shed on a few of the dark corners. At least it is a start. It is still not ok to criticize those who wants to transform this country in the most backward way, because it could hurt muslims in general. I will say it is the opposite. It is time we shed light on development that is undemining values that took centuries to build. Values that many have fled to take part in and be protected by. Hopefully this is changing now. Meanwhile I recommend all to read Nawaz and Akkari. According to them the difference between the nonviolent and the violent Islamist is just the violence, since the goal is the same: a global Caliphate. And how some foreign islamists are given asylum in the West, where they run organizations that are banned in their homeland. And recruiting.

Akkari tells in detail how islamists in Denmark use mosques and muslim schools to spread their fundamentalistic doctrines. Nawaz about how he and other islamists used the universities to recruit: “All the major universities had recruitment drives: Oxford and Cambridge, Exeter, Durham, Everywhere. We were fast taking over,” writes . Nawaz was later imprisoned in Egypt because of the his affiliation with Hizb al-Tahrir. Many Muslim countries have banned the group, but not UK, and last week I saw they have established a group in Sweden, and call it a political party! Yes, some go to the West to use the democratic system to abolish the same democratic system. It is time we begin to think through who needs our protection, and who certainly do not. To stop clasping our hands in surprise when yet another young person have transformed  into a deadly jhadist. And to start listening to those who warn against fundamentalism and actually shows us how they work, right under our nose.

Tur til fjellet Fongen i Tydal/Selbu, Sør-Trøndelag. 1440 moh.

64 thoughts on “Why listen to the fundamentalists?

    1. Yes, isn’t it and that makes it even more dangerous, since it happens everywere. The Palistinian-Israel is certrainly fuel for extremists, as was the war in Bosnia earlier on. We probably shouldn’t start any discussions on Israel here, it might start another “war”, and hopefully we all want peace. Peace for all. Thanks for your comment Tasty.

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  1. Bente, it is hard for me to imagine in your country, that you have Islamic threats, but I guess it is all over the world. In the USA I think we are so desensitized because it happens everyday in some place here. Extremist anything is a bad thing in my opinion. Extreme thoughts on religion, thought, food, politics, health, etc. None of this leads to anything good or productive.

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    1. Totally agree on that, Nancy, every kind of extremism is bad and nonproductive. On the contrary with an open discussion. At the moment one religion (or the misuse of one religion) is more important to discuss it seems. It used to be Christianity, but that reliegion is totally reformed in Norway. It is much harder to discuss today.

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  2. Very similar to the Red Guard of cultural Revolution in China. —– To be competitive and worthwhile in this very advanced society is
    hard, but only an alternative way to show-off own value and the authority over other people is to cling the spiritual or ideological value.
    In most of the case, it doesn’t need to know the detail in Communism or Muslim etc, but the buzz-word such as Revolution or Jihad is enough
    as long as be there as a demonstrator with a stick or soldier with a gun. —– suddenly a “nobody” become a proud Revolutionary or Jihadist
    and the one can really really feel the value of oneself. Especially this value would be (believe to be ?) guarantied to go to the paradise.
    Remain to be a nobody in the bottom of the society or just join the jihad and become a Hero ? —– This sweet illusion attract the “nobody”.
    Western social value or humanity blah blah is hard to compete with this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you are right in many cases, Yoshi. Didn’t some of these jihadists buy “Islam for dummies” before they went to fight? No knowledge and feeling like a nobody – bad combination, especially if someone with a dark purpose take advantage of this. I am still surprised how easy it is to trick all these (maninly) young people, don’t they have brains? And what happened with their humanity?

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  3. “This small, secular and peaceful country have produced suicidebombers …”
    Bente, I disagree with this. Your beautiful country did not produce them. People came to your peaceful home with the specific intent to entice people into extreme views and to train them to kill.
    I know you weren’t really blaiming your country, but that is a little how it sounds. I believe we must always be very clear to lay the blame exactly where it lies: with a group of extremists who will stop at nothing to disrupt and damage good society and good people.
    This all makes me so sad for all of us, but especially for my Muslim friends who have to bear the pain of their countrymen dodging such evil.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you are right, I know where to lay the blame. But we, and many other countries, are doing so many mistakes. One of them is believing that every immigrant will turn “Norwegian” as soon as the border is crossed, and expect them to love and to respect our system. Of course many will not. And what do we do with this, very little. Thanks for your comment, Emilie.

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  4. Norway looks like a pristine land with none of the problems that are infesting the rest of the world-at least that is what I thought before reading this—–we are all connected and no part of this planet is immune—-I know there is more good in this world than evil-and I also have faith in all the great people of all different beliefs that live in every corner of the globe. I refuse to give up on peace, love and understanding.

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  5. Bente, I love that first photo which is very evocative of Georgia O’Keffe’s work, yet so unique with your landscape. Regarding your editorial, I respect for your vigilance. No one, no country, can afford for a moment to be naïve. Momentum is building and there will assuredly be a price for complacency. Best to you, Vivian

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  6. An interesting and necessary post. In the UK it’s easy to see the English speaking world as the focus for Islamist extremists, but you have clearly shown this isn’t the case. Perhaps that connectedness between us all is a cause for optimism: that together we can work towards peace?

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    1. Not only English speaking world, oh no, more or less all the world. France, Germany, Scandinavia, and not only the West see this spread of extremism. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation Indonesia just ordered a ban on support for ISIL. We don’t. Thanks for your comment, Margaret21.

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  7. Excellent, thoughtful post Bente which I agree with wholeheartedly. Unfortunately the very thing that makes our societies great is the thing that is now causing the problem in our own countries, liberalism and a fear of appearing intolerant. Islamists are able to thrive in these conditions because they are the exact opposite, intolerant of anything that is not their interpretation of sharia based islam.

    I also sense from you something that I feel deeply. That the culture of extreme islam is so alien to the cultures that have emerged from our very different landscapes over thousands of years, and our right to democracy and free speech (including the right to criticise religious beliefs) have been fought for in world wars. Someone recently remarked that mine is the first generation in the UK that didn’t have to fight in a war to protect it’s way of life, and it shows. We are giving away our democracy and freedoms for fear of being labelled intolerant. We need to start reversing that right now before it’s too late.

    Hopefully someday sense and peace will prevail, and the lunancy of extremist religious beliefs will be a thing of the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for a very interesting comment, Mike. I agree in much of this. The big problem is, what do we do, and how do we do it? At least to be more aware and having an open discussion is a start. Thanks.

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      1. I think by just starting to talk openly about this issue is very important. For too long people have avoided the issue hoping that it will go away, but it won’t unless good people challenge it and talk about it. That way we can change hearts and minds gradually over time

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting to hear more about the situation in Norway. I can hear your worry and concern for your beloved country. In NZ, there are concerns, too, about some who have gone to Syria and elsewhere and what will happen if they return.

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    1. It is all over, and I just read that Australia has raised its terror alert level to high now. I thought NZ was too far away, but it is like our country, nothing is too far away now. Thanks Gallivanta.

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  9. You can wright the same story in the Netherlands, or in Germany, or in Belgium …. etc. Terrible but true. I don’t know where we are in 5 years from now, but it sure doesn’t look good.
    Great photo’s you show here by the way. The last one is realy awsome.

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    1. All over the Western World, Sandra, and increasing in other parts too. An open discussion and good journalism is one way to try to stop this, but for some reason that is too often not politically correct. Thanks for your comment.

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  10. Thanks for this great blog/column about the ISIS and the islam, it’s terrible all over the world, also in the Netherlands and I’m afraid this is just the beginning. I hope that the world can stop this on every way there is. Your photos are beautiful and it looks so peaceful! Takk og klem, Ann.

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    1. It is so important to be able to see the difference between those who wants democracy and who respect human right, and those with opposite views. We must support the first group if we want to build this world, and not destroy it. Thanks, Ann.

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      1. Dear Bente, all over the world there are people from an other religion and never they give up. The world is not longer a safe place and maybe Nostradamus was right, an other religion take it over from the Western world and it scares me. Love from me to you!

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  11. Det här är så viktigt! Att tala om det, att ta upp det till debatt. Avskyvärt skrämmande är detta att vi riskerar vår demokrati och frihet för att vi är rädda att ses som intoleranta. I Sverige tycker vi att det är så typiskt svenskt att inte begripa detta, att vara flata och bara ta emot – blåögt. Tack för att du tog upp detta mycket viktiga ämne. Vi följde hotet mot Norge och vet att det finns överallt här också. Bara genom att öka medvetenheten och att diskutera detta är vi på väg till insikt. Hur gör vi sen?

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    1. Vi trenger absolutt innsikt, særlig siden vi har latt det gå så langt uten debatt. Og ikke bare Sverige. Dette tema er jo nesten like vanskelig i Norge. Men vi bor jo fortsatt i demokratier, og da må demokratiets virkemidler være lov, som yttringsfrihet. Takk for din friske kommentar, Leya. Den var nesten overraskende, fra Sverige.😉

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  12. An interesting and very provocative post Bente, thanks for sharing this. There are some very frightening things in the world out there and we have been comfortable in our democratic homes for so long we want not to acknowledge it. Sadly those days are behind us and awareness is the first step in addressing the problem.

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  13. There always seem to be a sub-section of the population that are attracted to extreme views. It is not a modern phenomena. I think of John Knox in Scotland, born 1514. What is it that makes people become bitter and intolerant? Amelia

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    1. Extremisme is not new, not in any group of people, but I am still surprised that it is growing now, in these modern times, and that we allowe it to grow. Thanks for your comment, Amelia. There are still a lot of answers to be answered.

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  14. Thank you for this post Bente. I am muslima and it makes me so sad to see all this.. what currently happenes (in the name of a normally peaceful religion), this is the same what has always happened with religions in generel by violent and fundamentalistic people (just remember the christian crusader or something else..)..just in different shades and dimensions (so this is no excuse! just e reflection..and it also reminds me of that everything will be good…I hope). I always pray for peace and freedom, I am always trying to stay in a peaceful dialogue with the people around me, this is how we can start by ourselfes. It makes me even more angry because I am often badly affected by alle these headless terroists killing in the name of their “religion”..this means I do have problems now to live here in Germany…me and my family we´re often affected by discriminatory attacks..I understand their wrath or fear but I do not understand this generalization on muslims…I am against those people.. like them.
    this is what makes me sad as well.This world is full of a beuatiful diversity, I hope this will remain so.
    sarah

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    1. We should all pray for peace and freedom, and strive for it, no matter what religion or nation. I know of course that atrocities have been done in many religions, that Christianity have had its share. And also that people of different etnicity and religion have been able to live together in peace, for centuries. But now it seems the opposite is growing in so many countries, and like you, it make me so sad. We need to build this world for a good future for all, and one of the main tasks now must be to fight extremism and fundamentalisme and stop it from growing. And it makes me sad to hear your life in Germany is also affected. Generalization is probably also a result of the growing extremism, and even one more reason to stop this. Like you I hope for a peaceful diversity in the hopefully near future. Take care, and continue to be an optimist for peace and freedom.

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    1. Not with my perception of life, hopefully, but my perception on society and politics maybe, and I hope not to be too dissapointed with humans. We can all forget those wars and hate in nature. Thanks Vastlycurious.

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  15. Jag läste allt, och det var mkt och klokt skrivet. Det blir liksom en otrolig kullerbytta i hjärnan när du illustrerar din text med förunderligt vackra och rogivande bilder. Här i Sverige är det alltid så att om man säger ngt om muslimer så är man rasist. Är så trött på det. Jag är vän med flera, och jag drar inte alla över en kam. Men det är viktigt som du säger at inte vara naiv. Att vara påläst, och våga se.
    Kram og alt godt til deg!

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    1. Du, sånn er det her også. En skal ikke si noe! Så plutselig ble jeg trøtt på det, og prøvde. Ikke så enkelt da. Lett å trå feil (mener alt for mange), slik som i bratte fjellet. Og veldig viktig å ikke dra alle over en kam, det er sikkert. Tusen takk for kommentaren din, det er nesten ekstra hyggelig med en slik oppmuntring fra Sverige. Klem, og alt godt ønskes deg også.

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  16. Bente, I don’t understand the situation at all, not when Islamic fundamentalists are at each others throats – Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and more. But then I remember as a child learning the history of WW 1 and 2 (and earlier wars . . .) being just as confused with the protestants fighting the catholics, christian countries against each other. The ignorance, the power and throughout, the subjugation of women. All in the name of God, Allah, whoever. And how on earth do people make the move from the Middle East to Norway, the UK, Australia and forget where they came from, why they came from where they did in the hopes of “living happily ever after” when they will for generations be strangers in a strange, living the culture etc from where they have come? I absolutely despair of the barbarism taking place and after living through the Cold War and nuclear threats etc I never thought the world would revert to such base abuse of human rights.

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  17. What an incredible thought provoking post Bente, and it’s so sad to know that there are those that are hell bent to go and hurt others.

    On the other side, your images are nothing short of spectacular. Such incredible scenery and in a way seems rather unforgiving. Winter is not far away.

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