A real slip of the tongue

This last week, we Norwegians have been more concerned with the fate of our countrymen who have been taken hostage in Algiers (desperately awaiting news about them, alas so far not forthcoming), than with whatever is going on in the rest of the world or other areas of the ME, specifically Israel, which is heading to the polls on Tuesday, in all likelihood renewing probably also strengthening Netanyahu’s mandate. However, one story had most of Norway’s polite elites (which then by definition cannot include all of our elites) choke on their coffee; Dagsavisen brought a scoop of a story with the imam and leader of Norway’s largest Mosque, when they claimed that Jews are behind Norwegians’ negative attitude towards Islam. (apologies for bad google translate but you get the gist)

Imam blames Jews  for media coverage
Controversial: Jewish media power means that many Norwegians have a negative view of Islam. The imam and leader of the largest mosque in Norway state this

Published: 17 January
Updated: 17 January
Kristoffer Gaarder Dannevig
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We are visiting Central Jamaat-e Ahl-e Sunnat mosque to speak to the spiritual and temporal leader of the mosque which has the most members in Norway. The mosque was founded in 1977 and has over 5,000 members. The Culture  Center at Grønland  in Oslo has room for 2500 people. Nehmat Imam Ali Shah does not speak Norwegian fluently, so the chairman Ghulam Sarwar translate from Punjabi in between.

- But we hold essentially the same views, says Sarwar while the imam nods and smiles – he looks stern and mild at the same time.

The topic of the interview is the relationship between the major religions and Norwegians towards Islam. The imam begins by explaining that all three religions are sacred to them. This is Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Not everyone knows it, says Sarwar. But then follows an argument that many will find far more problematic.

- Jews destructive

- Schoolchildren often visit here in the mosque. Some students may think that we are against Christianity, says Sarwar.

Both Sarwar and Nehmat Ali Shah believe school visits show that Norwegians have a wrong impression of Islam and Muslims.

- Students, journalists and people like you ask the same questions over and over again – forced marriage, hijab, whether women can be imams. No one can be forced to marry in Islam, but parents can help to find a good partner for marriage. Women can not be imams. People lack the knowledge because they have only received information from the media, and the media writes only negative about Islam. Judaism has more media control, says Sarwar.

- Why does the media write only negative things about Islam?

- Because the media has Jewish roots. It’s the Jews who are behind the media -this is what’s so destructive. Those who made the film about Mohammed in the U.S. were only a few and did not have much money. So who is behind them? Who’s behind them? Sarwar asks, referring to the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims”, created by a Christian Egyptian Copt living in the USA.

“Troublesome people”
- Who are the Jews behind this, do you think?

- I ca not say, I don’t know exactly who. But there are not many Jews. I read that seven million Jews were killed in World War II, so there are not many today. And they were not very many back then either.

- How the Jews have attained such a media power?

- Because of education and business.

Sarwar translates question to Nehmat Ali Shah.

- Jews have great commercial power in the world, the Imam repeats through Sarwar.

- What is the relationship generally between Jews and Muslims?

- Never been any good.

- Why not?

- Why Germans killed them? One reason is that they are a troublesome people in the world, says Sarwar.

Want Dialogue
- But at the same time you say something positive about the Judaism – it is sacred?

- Yeah, we’re not saying that Jews should be killed or something. Moses is our prophet. However, some individuals will only ruin things, says Sarwar.

- Quran says we should accept all the prophets of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – from Moses to Jesus. If we speak ill of the prophets, then we go against our own scriptures. But it’s not like this for Jews and Christians, adds Al Shah.

- What does the media want to achieve by writing negatively about Islam?

- They write so that Islam will not grow.

The Imam confirmed that Sarwar said.

- Dialogue is very important to us. There may be areas of disagreement but that does not mean we should stop talking together. Dialogue is the only right way, says Chairman Ghulam Sarwar while Imam Ali Shah Nehmat nods affirmatively.

Reacting sharply

Professor of Journalism Rune Ottosen at the University of Oslo reacted strongly when he hears remarks to the two mosque leaders:

- This sounds like the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the worst kind, says Ottosen.

He points out that the Norwegian media system is dominated by NRK, TV 2, Schibsted and A-press.

- That even think this way is so remote from  reality that I almost can not take it seriously. It is not possible to discuss on such a basis, say Ottosen.

He can agree that that media coverage can be skewed and refers to his own research about the coverage of Islam and Muslims.

- It is clear that there is prejudice. We should  have a debate about that. But this needs to be based on actual knowledge of the Norwegian media conditions. These allegations are entirely different. When prominent people say something like that, it just confirms that there is a fundamental anti-Semitism in the large Muslim communities.

samfunn@dagsavisen.no

Rightly, the two gentlemen in question have been ridiculed right, left and center, but worryingly, leading academics and politicians try to wiggle out of what is an embarrassing admission that indeed large swathes of the Norwegian Muslim community hold disappointing views on Jews and Judaism. Kari Vogt, professor emerita in history of religion, whom I hold in high regard for her academic prowess, was disappointingly trying to smooth over this major hiccup by claiming that there is nothing is Islam that contributes towards anti-Semitism  (whereas she was right to point out that the learned Imam is utterly ignorant on Norwegian realities and is unable to read, comprehend, write or even speak Norwegian, even after some 20 years in the Kingdom!) Professor Vogs has been firmly put in her place by others who helpfully have supplied numerous examples where the Qur’an and/or numerous hadiths explicitly state the opposite. Of course, Egyptian president Morsi has also done his bit to ensure that the world in informed about the disturbing views on Jews and Judaism prevalent in the Muslim world.

The leader of the now nearly decimated Socialistic Left Party, Audun Lysbakken, ridiculously tried to impress on NRK listeners that although these two geesers indeed could be said to propagate anti-Jewish sentiments among their congregants, these sentiments would by no means be shared by the majority of Norwegian Muslims. Where he has this knowledge from is in itself questionable, since there has been no study on Norwegian Muslim’s attitudes to Jews (this feature was conspicuously  absent from the 2012 survey on anti-Semitism in Norway), but based on his own frightening experience only a few days earlier, when he was threatened on live broadcast for having insulted the prophet, he should have known that the sentiments uttered by the top leaders of the largest Muslim congregation in Norway indeed would be an indication of what members of said organization take to be true. The Frontpagemag article also helpfully listed the largest mosques in Norway and their troublesome views and attitudes to Western society in general, Jews in particular.

Even more worryingly, this mosque has been the most frequented mosque by leading Norwegian politicians, clergy and even royalty, even after it has been known for a very long time that this particular house of worship has a particular taste for blood and terror.

it would be nice to dream that after we have found out the fate of our missing countrymen in In Amenas, the powers that be in the new multiculti Norway now also find the courage to strongly condemn these statements and follow up with a boycott of said congregations until they have hired clergy who are knowledgable about Norway and the Norwegian language, and also understand the gravity of spreading such hate speech at a time when social tensions are on the rise in Norway, now fueled by the fury of the Islamist attack on Norwegian professionals in Algiers.

11 comments for “A real slip of the tongue

  1. : )
    January 21, 2013 at 12:40 am

    AUST VÅGØY (fra diktsamlingen “VIDERE”, skrevet i mars 1941) -

    De brente våre gårder.
    De drepte våre menn.
    La våre hjerter hamre
    det om og om igjen.

    La våre hjerter hugge
    med harde, vonde slag.
    De brente våre gårder.
    De gjorde det i dag.

    De brente våre gårder.
    De drepte våre menn.
    Bak hver som gikk i døden,
    står tusener igjen.

    Står tusen andre samlet
    i steil og naken tross.
    Å, døde kamerater,
    de kuer aldri oss.

    -Inger Hagerup

  2. Martin
    January 21, 2013 at 4:58 am

    As has been pointed, even royalty has visited the mosque.

    Prof, has the King ever visited the synagogue?

    I remember back in the very early 70′s that the Oslo community invited the small Muslim community to buy kashrut (which Muslims are permitted) from them. This is typical gratitude by Muslims. Typical? Yes, when Israel pulled out from Gaza leaving farms, houses, factories, machinery, warehouses, and modern farming esentials, what was the response? Ask the people of Sderot!

    So the head of the mosque is from the Punjab, which means he is a P{akistani (or from India) and these are the among the most hateful of all towards the Jewish people.

    Perhaps, the interviewer needds to question why in the Kuran it mentions that the Jews, because of Moses are entitled to Israel and why Muslims are taught to murder the jews. Yes, that too, is in the Kuran. What delightful people. They make their own disgraceful picture of Islam and nobody else is to blame. Algeria is all part of the idiotic named Arab Spring. Nightmare is far more correct.

  3. January 21, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Certainly HM the King and I also believe the rest of the Royal Family have visited the synagogue. On more than one occasion, so there is no reason to believe that the Jewish community has been slighted in the very least.
    Also, it is important to understand that in our constitutional monarchy, the role of the Royal family is very much symbolic, and contrary to what post modernists believe, symbols are important. Our Royal Family uphold a proud tradition where they provide a sense of national unity, a common purpose, and help to integrate groups that somehow have fallen, or perhaps not quite made it into the warm national midst. In this spirit, the first King in modern times, King Haakon, wisely stated that he was the king of communists too (after a very ugly spat which could have left our then new nation split in two feuding sides), King Olav became a very important person in recognizing the particular responsibility Norway had in accommodating the Sami people their cultural and national rights as a vulnerable national minority. So it is only fitting and right that our current Royal family, who incidentally stay out of politics for the sake of national unity and not because of a specific Law that bans them from taking political sides, do their outmost to reach out to minorities, and to bring them into the national fold (but their advisors could have done a better background check before they arranged a visit to this most controversial mosque). I do believe that your wonderful Queen Elizabeth more or less follows the same working strategy, although I doubt very much she would have been whisked off to the Finsbury Park mosque,if you get my point. You already know my view on the multiculti hysteria, myself being both an immigrant and belonging to a religious minority.

  4. : )
    January 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

    McG,
    respectless as usual from me, for most people in Norway the Royal family are fun news in Se og Hør. But what is very sad now is that the fear start to grow her in Norway for what is unknown and might happen.
    http://www.vg.no/nyheter/utenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10074438
    This will only let the terrorist win. How can one help people that fear and misstrust others? Its not so simpel to just give them what they want.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9eQwKAXVIs
    Martin I doubt Freud would have been very pleased to see how much focus there is on emotions today. I think he would have join Einstein and sad KISS! Hm, seems like our future will be filed with cameras and reports, urk! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tym0MObFpTI

  5. Martin
    January 21, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Prof, although I am not a royalist, quite frankly when I consider what a load of crap politicians we have and had i.e. Blair, Brown and cameron etc, it begins to make moree and more sense. By the was re constitutional law. Here it was and still is to a large extent based on the Common Law.

  6. : )
    January 22, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Martin,

    read this:
    http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/01/22/nyheter/innenriks/algerie/gisseldramaet_i_algerie/statoil_and_gass/25372327/

    I hope and pray that no one will say that you are an extremist because you warn about extream Islam anymore on this page : ) That they have problems with your culture is their own problem. As I know you you are just good : ) But you act where other good men just talk, that is odd to someone. Hope you don’t worry about me anymore, because everytime you do. Your friends make contact and ask if I’m fine, its very shamefull dear : )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1drdq7MX28Y

  7. Martin
    January 22, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Thank you Norwegian. Here in the UK a Liberal Democrat MP gave the score as 1 -0 between al quaida and Cameron. Yes, he later apologised, however, I fail to understand why. He only stated what he belived and only did so because his constuency will be in danger for the next elections. The LibDems are even worse thsan the Socialists and that is saying something

  8. : )
    January 22, 2013 at 8:43 am

    That was really tastless of him. RIP to the one you lost down in Algeri. SV are down, one of their best might have lost his stepfather, I know I’m soft but I still hope that they are hiding somewhere. It seems as Norway will just react and go into a new war in Mali, I really hope they wait and see that its other solutions to this problem. War poilute the environment so much, hope it can end!

  9. Martin
    January 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Yes, I feel for the young men and women who have had their lives ruined by going into lands where they are unwanted. It is impossible toconvert the Arab/Muslim nation to be westernised. Their so called democracies are just a veneer, hiding the hate towards the “infidel” under the surface.

    norwegian, you have to underdstand that most people in north Africa and the mid east really were just clans, and under Ottoman control, there wqas no palestine ot other countries. Only the Jews have a real connection to the Holy Land called Israel which goes back thousands of years. The others were Kurds, Bedouin, peasants without titles etc. Only the Jews had a real “nationality with connection to the land.

    Those who support the Arabs are advised to read Mark Twain’s “Innocents Abroad” to realise that the land was mostly desolate, as was prophesised in the bible and inhabited by a small Jewish community , very religious and the bedouin who travelled around, as armed brigands. Other more evidence produced by the various churches, archeologists and philosophers etc confirm this. There never was a Palestine, nor a Palestinian people.

  10. : )
    January 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Martin,
    I respond you on this. To me is it odd when people in ME don’t want to move on. When one meet people from China, Japan and India. They are so determined and nice to talk to in general. They talk open about their problems and what they do to solve them. The same with people from America and Russia. But when I meet people from ME in general I just get a headacke when they talk about who they really are. Its like they lack completely direction and future, think a lot on the left feels that is why they have to help them. But the one I have meet that are inteligent and smart they say the same as you, its a long way forward for the ME. Our consern is well how Israel can as a very modern state survive in the soupe ME are and will be for a long time. But to send young people to ME with out giving them proper militar education in Norway, sorry but that is only madness! Its like feeding lam to wolfs. Not odd some left has lost their mind down there, I feel sorry for them. Do understand that people want to leave ME, but its not a solution and the west do all they can to stop this. They know that they are not very wanted out side of ME so they use religion and terror to make the world understand that they do not want to coroporate before everyone get down on their level : ) Its them that dream about bombing us all back to the stone age, not Russia, US or China.

    We have a problem with the environment Martin, and that has to be solved. For us that just read the news and get angry about the situation I think it seams very chaotic and this feelings are used form a lot of organisations to ask for money to their solutions. To me all these organisations are just very boring substitutes to us rich people to feel well and that we have controll. We have to live with the fact that a lot of bad solutions are used to get the world forward. And sometimes it will remove some of confort because trade is stoped by new laws or that it is to dangerous to work in a contery.
    Young people that dislike US well their option, I have never meet many of them! But I meet very many young people her in Norway that is determined and know what they want to focuse on. That makes me proud : ) And when I meet young people form Israel that are hopefull and nice well that makes me think about perhapes one day see all the fun things down there, but I want to have lots of money before I go so that we really can have fun : ) We are only humans : )

  11. : )
    January 24, 2013 at 6:08 am

    McG,
    thank you G-d Norway is not going into a war in Marli. Really happy about that and McG Bart Eide says 90 % of what he read about Mali in the Norwegians News are wrong. Call him (please don’t) and tell how you feel about Norwegian media their news cover about Israel : )

    90% waho it must really hurt to be a Norwegian journalist now!

    http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/01/24/nyheter/carl_bildt/espen_barth_eide/forsvaret/arbeiderpartiet/25401312/

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