This article was published in Vart Land on 2004.12.08.


Context information and abstract: Mr Carl I Hagen is a high-profile member of the Norwegian Parliament. This article takes issue with the claim that the problem of people who are concerned about the rapid advance of Islam in Europe, is really nothing more than ignorance and a lack of confidence in their own culture.


Competing with Islam


On the 25th of November Mr. Arild Knutsen criticized MP Carl I. Hagen and others who are expressing concern over the rapid advance of Islam in Europe. Writes Mr. Knutsen: “It is widely known that people with little knowledge of, and consequently little confidence in, their own religion and culture are those that most vehemently and in the most irrational ways are defensive about it. They are afraid of different ways of thinking and different assumptions, and they believe they have to defend their own religion as if it does not stand up against competition.”


This argument has been used by many over the years, and at first glance it appears quite reasonable. However, one is overlooks the crucial fact that the “competition” between Christianity and Western values on the one hand, and Islam and Muslim values on the other, takes place on unequal terms.


Simply put, the situation is such that we are a good four million Norwegians who are supposed to “compete” with several hundred million Muslims in the countries from which the majority of our immigrants continue to come, by systematically finding spouses in their own country of origin. There can be absolutely no doubt about what the long term outcome of this process is going to be, namely that Norwegians will become a minority in their own country.  


This will not necessarily be bad. Perhaps in the course of a few decenniums we will see the new Muslim majority, having come from different countries and various denominations within Islam, living in peace and harmony with each other as well as with Humanists, Christians, Hindus, Buddhist, and other minority groups. Admittedly, this is a possible scenario.


But the current national immigration policy can only be defended if there is a reasonable assurance that the above scenario is likely. That again presupposes that in the future   religious, ethnical, and cultural background will play a subordinate role concerning key issues such as identity, belonging, and loyalty. 


Unfortunately, there is little reason to believe that human beings function like that. In particular, it looks as if religious belonging, in a wide sense of the term, plays a much more significant role than what the majority of our politicians seem to have realized. As on of Vart Land’s editors, Mr. Erling Rimehaug, points out in his article on the 25th of November, it is not possible to understand European humanism and culture without reference to Christianity.


Therefore, what is currently going on is a gambling with our children’s future unlike anything that has been seen in modern history. Our leaders are turning the blind eye to ever stronger indications that things are about to go wrong, while invoking the high ideals of human rights in order to cover up for their lack of courage and forceful action.


A recent incident that puts this whole issue in a quite interesting perspective is the awarding of the 2004 Rafto Prize to Rebiya Kadeer. This year the prize is given in support of the struggle of the Muslim Uighures to withstand the pressure of systematic immigration from of the numerically superior Chinese.


Thus, there appears to be wide agreement that the Uighures, just like for example Iraqis and Afghanis, should be entitled to autonomy and self determination in order to maintain their ethnical, cultural, and religious identity. But can anyone explain why it is laudable to work towards such goals in the third world, while it is deplorable to do so in the Western world? 

Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, editor of