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Norway and Sweden Enforce Shari’a

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Bruce Bawer tells the story of a stunning Norwegian capitulation in the face of sinister initimidation. (Hat tip: Simon.)

On February 10, in Oslo, came a dramatic capitulation that seemed a classic case of sharia in action. For days, Velbjorn Selbekk, editor of the tiny Christian periodical Magazinet – the first publication to reprint the now-famous Muhammed cartoons from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten – had firmly resisted pressure by Muslim extremists (who made death threats) and by the Norwegian establishment (which urged him to give in). But then, on that morning – the day before a planned mass demonstration against the cartoons – Norway’s Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion, Bjarne Hakon Hanssen, hastily called a press conference at a major government office building in Oslo.

There, to the astonishment of his supporters, Selbekk issued an abject apology for reprinting the cartoons. At his side, accepting his act of contrition on behalf of 46 Muslim organizations and asking that all threats now be withdrawn, was Mohammed Hamdan, head of Norway’s Islamic Council. In attendance were members of the Norwegian cabinet and the largest assemblage of imams in Norway’s history. It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom: the dhimmi prostrating himself before the Muslim leader, and the leader pardoning him – and, for good measure, declaring Selbekk to be henceforth under his protection, as if it were he, Hamdan, and not the Norwegian police, that held in his hands the security of citizens in Norway.

Selbekk, in his prepared remarks, leaned heavily on the usual soothing multicultural language, including the word “understanding.” It was clear that Selbekk had indeed come to an understanding: he understood that if he didn’t relent, he risked physical harm. He also spoke of “respect” – a word that in this context must surely have been understood by the imams to refer not to a volitional regard for a social equal but to the obligatory deference of a repentant infidel. As for Handam, he noted that “Selbekk has children the same age as my own. I want my children and his children to grow up together, live together in peace, and be friends.” This was rather chilling, given that Selbekk’s family, too, had been under threat.

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