Interview with Hege Storhaug, Norwegian writer and human rights activist, the author of “Islam: The Eleventh Plague”
Natalia Osten-Sacken: You had a chance to visit Poland a year ago. What changes have you noticed since then in Europe and Norway, especially in the matter of policy making?
Hege Storhaug: It gets harder for politicians to deny the existence of troubling news because they are so apparent. For example, crime statistics regarding sexual assaults, affecting mostly women and children, are no longer a secret. The system of public care is under tremendous pressure. Politicians aren’t able to provide protection for their citizens the way it was possible before. The whole situation affects the current school and health care systems that suffer from staff shortages. There aren’t enough teachers and qualified workers. In neighboring Sweden, the crisis undermines also the housing situation. 250,000 retirees live there below the poverty line, and it’s impossible to hide these numbers any longer. And yet, Sweden used to be the strongest welfare state in the world. Now some of its retired citizens are homeless, forced to pick through the content of garbage containers to survive.
But there is another problem that is growing and intensifying in Scandinavia: women start to feel unsafe even in public places. They no longer have the courage to leave the house after dark. It is a growing trend and it is glaring from the statistics data. However, the situation in Sweden is still much worse in comparison to what is taking place in Norway. In my country, we look at Sweden and we are simply horrified. We keep mentioning the so-called “Swedish conditions”. And we say: “We do not want to end up like them.” Recently, people in Germany are starting to notice the problem, the same happens in France and finally even in Sweden itself. We have an increasingly clear picture of the situation, politicians can lie all they want, but people now can see what is true. Denying the existing situation is no longer possible because everyone is aware of what is going on.
Islam remains a taboo in our Norwegian parliament. It wouldn’t even become a topic in the election campaign of the Swedish Democrats. However, our parliament opened just now a discussion on how to reduce control over women and girls in the society, without mentioning Islam of course. Parliamentarians only describe it as social control, but everyone knows the real cause of it. In the last month, they postulated a solution that would allow the presence of city observers in Koranic schools in Norway. Mosques rejecting it would lose the economic support from the state. I wrote an article about it titled “Parliament attacks Islam.” In it, I point that people are aware that in Koranic schools in general something is going on that negatively impacts children. For me this is a historical moment. This is the first time in Norwegian history, when politicians say indirectly: we have a problem with Islam. The mainstream media would not mention it, they are too scared. But of course we have alternative media and social media.
The mainstream media may continue their way of informing, as long as other sources of information are available. We now understand more and more and, for example, in cases of gang rape, we begin to guess what origins these men were. Interestingly, one can also notice change in reporting in the mainstream media over the past year caused by the loss of subscribers. True, they continue to write lies, but with less frequency. Naturally, it is purely dictated by economics and it is quite simple – if you have no readers, you lose money. Simultaneously, they begin to feel pressure from various groups, such as ours, and we gather a large number of subscribers. We have been reporting online for 18 years and recently we have been registering a growing number of visitors. In May, one of the leading journalists of our mainstream media published a letter about the loss of about 400,000 readers. He closed his letter with a summary: “This is because we do not write about immigration and Islam like them.” Norway is a small country and here 400,000 is a huge number. This is a sign that something is shifting. As a press group, we are pressing the mainstream media and we are successful in not allowing them to continue to write untruths about what people can see every day with their own eyes.
People are afraid for the future. This is the reason why my books are currently selling so well in Norway. But this fear started earlier – in November 2016, when my book “Islam. The Eleventh Plague” came out, I traveled all over Norway. I talked with ordinary people, cultural centers were full at our meetings. I was asked the same questions everywhere – “Why our politicians do nothing?” “Why wouldn’t the media talk about it, we are so worried about the future.” Many people in Norway are really preparing to leave.
To Eastern Europe for example. Look, my Swedish translator has already sold a house in Stockholm and left for Lisbon because she lost faith in Sweden. She told me: “I would never have thought that I’d leave Sweden since my roots here are so deep. I love my country. But I live in fear in here. I am depressed seeing our politicians ignore the problems and instead keep playing games among themselves. They only keep fighting for seats in the parliament, instead of trying to do something good for their country.”
People are leaving and it is an increasing trend. In my opinion, it will even accelerate. The more Muslim migrants arrive, the higher the number of specific problems that arise, which is what we keep talking about. Ordinary people are now afraid for their families. The positive change is that many of them are recently waking up, which is reflected in the polls more frequently, and which also puts pressure on the politicians. For the past 20 years the public discussion has been dominated by the academia. Where are they now? They disappeared because they realized that they were wrong. People no longer believe in false messengers.
Who are the current messengers then?
People now refuse to allow others to play on their emotions by inventing false stories. It is not like it used be. They rather tend to reach out for statistics and historical sources. Professor Terje Tvedt from the University of Bergen wrote a book on the whole history of migration to Europe, including government plans, the behavior, the way of thinking and argumentation of the European politicians, titled “International Breakthrough. From a Homogeneous State to a Multicultural State.” Nothing can be hidden now. Professor Tvedt proved that already in the 1980s the parties from the left started warning immigrants against sending their children to kindergartens and urging them not to learn host languages in order to avoid integration. This is our modern history! Our elites from back then belonged to the generation ‘68, idealizing Third World and proclaiming that we should not believe that our culture is better than others. These people strongly identified with communist values, looked down on their own country and did not respect European culture, blaming it for all the problems of the Third World. They worked to arouse a sense of shame in us for colonial and Nazi times. This lasted for the past 30-40 years. And now everything has been published and it has ceased to be a secret.
What should we change in the European migration system?
It’s just too many people, the immigration numbers to Europe are simply too high. We have to end it. In Norway, there is quite a lot of discussion on this subject already, since some areas in Oslo experience the so-called “Swedish conditions”, the police are under attack, there is a high crime rate. Immigrant gangs are taking control over those areas and, in that sense, we are slowly approaching the situation in Sweden, but with the difference that in 2015 Sweden accepted 163,000 migrants, while Norway only 43,000. The arriving immigrants keep coming as asylum seekers, and every honest person can admit that the biggest problem is that they come from the Muslim world. Criminal statistics do not lie, at their top are migrants from Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Libya. Chinese and Vietnamese migrants are at the bottom of those statistic. It means that they commit fewer crimes than even Danes or Swedes! The data is clear – the more Muslims, the more problems. We must now repair the damage done. If the water rushes into the boat, one has to stop it immediately. Comparing it to the current situation, I suggest the pause of the right to asylum in Europe.
Do you mean halting immigration entirely?
I mean stopping the right to asylum. We need to break the flow of people from the Balkans and the Mediterranean. This is the first and most important thing. And then we have to get rid of people who can not be economically independent and who are not able to take care of themselves. If you are an immigrant and you fail to support yourself and your family, you must leave. After such a step, in my opinion, it would be necessary to check, let’s say, after five years, whether this procedure had a positive social effect. If not, we will have to apply additional methods. For example, if one has European citizenship, but is unable to sustain oneself and goes on the path of crime, one must be deprived of citizenship. That could be the next step.
Besides that, we need to start treating Islam differently to Christianity. Our principle values are interwoven with Christianity and those values have truly contributed to the development of our strong, lay societies in Europe. Islam is unlike any other religion. We ought to see Islam for what it is, as evil, totalitarian ideology, and treat it appropriately. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10-15 years, it’s hard to say precisely when, some countries ban organized Islam altogether. Islam in the streets or in court will no longer be tolerated. We see the beginnings of this policy in Austria, which is implementing deportations of imams and closings of the mosques. This is just the beginning. If Austria has the courage to act like this, further and more widespread application of their policies is only a matter of time. I hope that Eastern Europe will follow their example.
I would like to return for a moment to the question of what can be done. We talked about criminals and the unemployed, but there are plenty of Muslims who have work, who don’t commit crimes, but who, for instance, don’t let their wives leave house and force their children to wear hijab. By law, such a man interferes with the integration of his wife and children, so this should be considered a crime. There are thousands of people like this in our country. We won’t be able to eradicate it. This is really happening. I fear that because of this, our democratic system will eventually collapse.
The problem is then unsolvable?
I won’t say “yes” or “no,” but I’m afraid that there will soon come a day when the problem gets resolved in an undemocratic way. By deportations. The question is what will the citizens do? Perhaps, unfortunately, they will opt for a form of dictatorship. It is not a good solution but sometimes it may be the only effective option. Talking about it in these terms is incredibly painful, since this means a complete defeat for my country. It used be a paradise on earth and this paradise doesn’t exist any more. Just a few years ago I would try to predict what could happen in the near future; now I will not even dare, because the situation is getting so uncertain. It will all depend on the geopolitical future, mainly in the Mediterranean arena and the relationship between the Eastern and Western Europe. Will Erdogan open a corridor for migrants through Balkans? It would create enormous repercussions for Europe. The threat of terror is of course of serious importance. In 2010 our security services registered 1975 potential jihadists. Today, in 2018, this number reached 18,885. Ten times more in seven years. In Germany, there were 3900 jihadists in 2010, now it is almost 10,000. Germany, Belgium, France and Great Britain host the army of 60-70 thousands extremists. The number of likely jihadists is growing dramatically every year and soon there will be too many of them. Swedish security agencies receive information about a possible terrorist attack every other day. The situation is getting out of control in the whole of Europe.
European Parliament in June had a debate about the relocation quotas of the migrants. Are you surprised with the results?
I am not surprised, I suspected that the Europeans wouldn’t agree on any quotas. Host societies would never accept it. I was always hoping that all the various governments would be wise enough not to open their borders to this kind of immigration, since it could destroy our western societies. One cannot deceive people for so long. Europe was farmed by strong, old, nationally oriented countries and they were all different. When traveling to France, I wish to see the French culture and in Spain, the Spanish culture. More immigration will bury our world.
What should the Eastern European countries do?
You must learn from our catastrophe, which we will not be able to fix even in the next generations. My message to the Eastern Europe is: do not make the same mistake as the Western societies, do not let organized Islam into your countries. You have to say firmly: “No, we don’t want any mosques, halal food, hijabs in public spaces.” If you state it clearly, you will avoid our problems. This way you will also give a chance to all the lay Muslims, just like my Pakistani friends. They will love visiting your country and be happy to assimilate. By not letting in political Islam, one can actually help those who really need it.
The Polish original: Musicie uczyć się z naszej katastrofy