Recently the Partij voor Moslim Nederland (Party for Muslim Netherlands), which already enjoys a significant presence in various municipal governments in that country, announced that it intended to run candidates for the Dutch Parliament. An article in Forbes listed the party’s major principles, which included limits on “offensive” speech about religion; the criminalization of blasphemy and of the destruction of religious texts; immediate admission of Turkey to the EU; an end to support for Israel; and the free and unimpeded importation of Muslim brides from abroad.
Whether to work within existing parties, or to concentrate on forming and building up separate Muslim parties, has always been a key strategic question for the soft jihadists of Europe. Though there are Muslims in Norway who are prominent members of several large traditional parties, the country now has a Muslim party too. Founded in 2009 as the Independent Labour Party, it was obliged later that year to change its name to the Samtidspartiet (Contemporary Party) because of official concerns that it might be confused with the Norwegian Labor Party. When outlining the party’s goals, its founder, Norwegian-Pakistani Ghuffor Butt, focused on a desire for lower taxes, gas prices, and the like – making it sound like rather a libertarian party for Muslims. Formerly a cinema director, producer, and political journalist in Pakistan, as well as an actor in some twenty Pakistani movies, Butt ran – and, as far as I know, still runs – a successful store in Grønland, a largely Muslim district in Oslo, that sells Bollywood films.
Yet lest these credentials suggest he was a “liberal” and “modern” Muslim, Butt made it clear, in answer to a Dagbladet journalist’s questions, that his party’s other objectives included lifting the ban on hijab in the police force, establishing exclusively Muslim schools and hospitals, instructing immigrant-group children in their parents’ native tongue rather than in Norwegian, easing residence-visa rules, using taxpayer money to fund the building of mosques and pay the salaries of imams, punishing those who had reprinted the Danish Muhammed cartoons, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, and prohibiting homosexuality. (Later, presumably loath to offend some of his allies on the left, Butt made a phone call to Dagbladet to walk back the bit about gays: while homosexual conduct is forbidden by Islam, he said, the party did not intend to change Norwegian law on the subject. Yeah, right.)
“If Norwegians didn’t drink alcohol, have premarital sex, and eat pork,” Butt told Dagbladet, “they’d be the world’s best Muslims.” He also suggested that Mossad was responsible for 9/11 and echoed the popular myth that Jews hadn’t shown up for work at the World Trade Center that day.
It is interesting to note that the official launch of this putatively Norwegian political party took place in Pakistan – yet another apparent indication of the way in which many Norwegian-Pakistanis view their relationships to their old and new homelands. As Butt explained, it was easier to reach Norwegian Pakistani voters in Norway this way because they didn’t watch Norwegian TV: thanks to satellite dishes, their sets are tuned to the Pakistani channels on which he was planning to do interviews. “In three years, Oslo’s mayor will be a Norwegian-Pakistani,” he predicted (wrong so far), and expressed the hope that within fifteen years a “second-generation immigrant” would be Norway’s prime minister.
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