Radicalism climbs to Europe's northernmost regions.
(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/03/IMG_0921.jpg)Finnmark is the northernmost county in Norway, as well as the northernmost part of continental Europe. Apart from a few Arctic islands such as the Norwegian-controlled archipelago of Svalbard, the next stop is the North Pole. Even in the near-Arctic region of Lapland in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, you can now encounter significant numbers of Muslim immigrants from as far away as Somalia or Pakistan.
In 2013, it was announced that a specialist abattoir in northern Norway had slaughtered the country’s first ever halal reindeer meat, with a view to selling it to top-end restaurants as far afield as Dubai. Mehtab Afsar, the General Secretary of the Islamic Council of Norway and one of those who oversaw the slaughter, was pleased with this.
The problem is, halal meat is not the only thing available once Islam enters a given territory.
In February 2014, Lieutenant-General Kjell Grandhagen from the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) warned that the terror threat against Norway is rising due to the return of battle-hardened militant Muslims who return after participating in Jihadist activities during the civil war in Syria. Benedicte Bjørnland, the head of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), in early March 2014 warned that Norway had “failed” as a society due to the dozens of young people becoming radicalized and going abroad to fight in conflict areas such as Syria.
Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway, as well as the world’s northernmost university town. There was strong public resistance a few years ago when the sizable Muslim community in Tromsø wanted to build a mosque there with financial support from Saudi Arabia.
Those who currently travel to Syria from all over Western Europe include Muslim immigrants from many different countries, as well as a few white converts to Islam. In Norway, many of the volunteers come from the Oslo region, where the bulk of the local Muslims live. However, it has been confirmed by the security services that some of the Syria-bound Jihadists come from as far north as Troms county, far above the Arctic Circle.
Jørn Holme, as the then head of the Police Security Service (PST), stated in 2007 that native Norwegians are “stupid” and inexperienced concerning diversity and Multiculturalism. This makes them confuse Islam with Islamism. Since native Norwegians are allegedly stupid, Holme feared a lynch mob against Muslims in the event of an Islamic terror attack in the country.
Knut Storberget of the Labour Party agreed with Holme on this issue, fearing that Islamic terrorist attacks might create “stigmatization” of Muslims. Storberget served as the Minister of Justice and the Police in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg from October 2005 until November 2011.
Notice how these two individuals, who were at that time in charge of their country’s security, seemingly feared potential verbal abuse by Muslim immigrants more than the possibility that their own countrymen might get killed by Muslims.
Hugh Fitzgerald, an insightful critic of Islam, in 2007 called for the resignation of PST leader Jørn Holme over his comments and for suggesting that Islam is no more violent than Christianity. In Fitzgerald’s view back then, in order to improve the security situation in Norway Jørn Holme “should be immediately fired. He should be replaced by someone with a solid grasp of Islam, and therefore of the permanent threat that Islam represents to the legal and political institutions of Norway, to its social arrangements, to free inquiry and to art, to the physical well-being of Infidels.”
What Jørn Holme and Knut Storberget did not say in 2007 is that an attack carried out by a Muslim man had already taken place in Norway and very nearly succeeded in killing many people. For some reason, this is not always classified as terrorism, even though it had many of the hallmarks of being an Islamic Jihadist terror attack. Moreover, this event did not lead to widespread stigmatization of Muslims in Norway. The writer Elin Ørjasæter later published an insightful reader’s comment about this subject.
On September 29 2004, Brahim Bouteraa, a rejected Muslim asylum seeker from Algeria, entered the cockpit of an airplane in northern Norway and attempted to crash it. The plane was flying from the town of Narvik to the town of Bodø in Nordland County, north of the Arctic Circle. The lives of all those on board were narrowly saved solely due to the resolute intervention from a couple of male passengers. The plane was literally seconds away from crashing when the pilot finally managed to regain control over it, 30 meters above the ground.
One of those who intervened was Odd Eriksen, a politician from the Labour Party. After this incident, he served briefly as Minister of Trade and Industry in the government of PM Jens Stoltenberg. Eriksen is no coward and deserves full credit for taking action. He physically struggled with the attacker and tried to hold him down, but he didn’t fully succeed in doing so. It was only when another passenger, Trond Frantzen, intervened that they finally managed to get the Muslim attacker under control and gave the pilots enough breathing space to save the plane from crashing.
Afterwards, the two men who attempted to overpower the attacker said very different things about how they had experienced this dramatic episode. Eriksen, who tried but failed to hold the hijacker down, stated that he “felt so sorry” for the Muslim asylum seeker who very nearly killed him. Frantzen, on the other hand, the man who actually succeeded in restraining the attacker with the aid of Eriksen, stated that at that moment he was “fully intent on killing him.” Frantzen grabbed the man by the throat and shouted “Lie still or I will kill you!” straight to his face. At this moment, Trond Frantzen was thinking about the Islamic terror attacks and airplane hijackings of September 11 in the USA three years earlier. He was also looking at his 15-year-old daughter Marlene at the back of the plane, and desperately trying to save her life.
The interesting thing is that if you ask random Norwegians about this attack, more people will probably remember Odd Eriksen than Trond Frantzen. Odd Eriksen is a good Social Democrat who feels sorry for everybody, even those who try to murder him. He is a man of good intentions, exactly as many educated Scandinavians see themselves or want to see themselves.
Trond Frantzen, on the other hand, is the hero who actually saved the day and ultimately the lives of all those on board the plane. However, he is a man who would use anger, aggression and lethal force to protect his own life and the life of his daughter. He is therefore a man of action who is sadly out of place in the age of “dialogue,” a relic from a past of traditional masculinity.
As one Norwegian reader commented, we have become a society nearly devoid of aggression. We feel sorry for those who try to murder us. This makes us very vulnerable when faced with brutal aggressors. We as a society have to recognize that force and aggression are sometimes needed to protect what matters most to us.
Another point worth emphasizing is that this Muslim man, Brahim Bouteraa, has been partly written off as crazy, even though he was judged sane by psychiatrists and sentenced to 17 years in prison. He was described as a very devout Muslim who wanted to become an imam and open a mosque in the town of Narvik. Bouteraa had been member of a militant Islamic group in his native Algeria. Before his attack in Norway, the security services (PST) had been warned about his “religious excesses.” He cited some texts in Arabic, possibly Koranic verses, immediately before the attempted hijacking, and then screamed “I’m going to crash this plane.”
Yet despite all of this, there is a tendency in Norwegian mass media, if they talk about this case at all (they rarely do), to view it as an isolated incident involving a mentally disturbed individual as perpetrator. This trend is, sadly, not unique to Scandinavia. It is endemic all over the Western world today.
In the USA, Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army Major, murdered 13 people and wounded 29 others during an attack at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5 2009. There is every indication that this pious Muslim man, who shouted “Allahu akhbar!” during his massacre, carried out an Islamic Jihadist attack. Despite this, the Obama Administration labeled the shooting a case of “workplace violence,” refusing any mention of Islam or Jihad.
After a trial where he was found guilty on all accounts, Nidal Malik Hasan was sentenced to death on August 28, 2013. He has openly and repeatedly given a specifically Islamic justification for his mass murder and said he did it on behalf of Islamic militants abroad.
It is easier to pretend that the Jihadist threat does not exist, of course. Yet for how long can we keep up this illusion, while continuing to import en masse Muslims who long for Jihad?
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