In His Name, Exalted
Thank you, dear brother, for your kind interest in the case.
- The Royal Palace of Norway, in an unusual approach, decided to revoke the King’s Service Medal which was awarded to you for years of efforts in rendering social services. What was the reason for this strange action in your opinion?
I was awarded the King’s Service Medal, as stated in the approval documents from the King’ Place, because of my life-long work for immigrants in Oslo, Norway. I started Urtehagen Islamic Foundation, and I am chairman of that institution. Most of the work mentioned for immigrants has been done through that trust.
We have for many years been operating full time care services for many children, aged 1-6 years. There are kindergartens and pre-schools, now 6 institutions in all, for some 300 children daily. Most of them are immigrants or have immigrant background. Quite many of them are from Muslim families. However, due to good quality of our work, many non-Muslim Norwegian families now also send their children to our institutions. We are very happy with this. We have also a farm for the children, with horses, sheep, goats, chicken, lamas and other animals.
We operate an intermediate school, for 80 immigrant women (most of them Muslims). Our aim is to develop them as Muslims, and at the same time teach them about the Norwegian society. This is in our opinion, good integration.
We operate a TV-channel and also a radio-station. We write, print and distribute books on Islam and other matters.
I am myself a medical doctor, and have many patients, most of them immigrants, and a majority being Muslims.
For this work I was awarded the Medal.
After the award was announced, there was a strong pressure on the King’ Court to have the award revoked, mainly from Zionist circles. They did not focus on my work, the quality of which was not doubted. Focus was set on my person, or rather; on political views that I have. I am against the Zionist ideology and the Zionist state of Israel. I am a supporter of the Palestinian people. I consider it a must that the Palestinians regain their rights; and that oppression and expulsion must be stopped and the refugees return to their Palestinian land.
I have expressed that many (most) Jews today unfortunately happen to be Zionists. But it does not have to be like that. I myself have invited anti-Zionist Jews like Israel Shahak some years ago, and more recently Rabbi Moshe Hirsch from the Neturai Karta, to Norway; and brought them around to newspapers and other media in this country to let them express their views. I am inviting others now.
I have also expressed views against homosexuality as a “normal phenomenon in society”. I have furthermore expressed my support for the Islamic Revolution of Iran and its leader, Imam Khomeini.
And then, because of my political views and positions, I was called an “anti-Semitic” and given other labels. The King’ Council then decided, on behalf of the King, that I was not “deserved” to be candidate for the Medal. The award had been given, and the Medal was in my position, but the award was then revoked.
- You are viewed as being anti-Semitic by the Palace while your activities are not anti-Judaism but anti-Zionism. Is there not any difference between these two concepts?
The difference between being anti-Semitic or anti-Judaism on one hand, and anti-Zionism on the other, is of course fundamental. The terms of anti-Semitic or anti-Judaism relates to a group of people, or a certain religion, while the term of anti-Zionism concerns a political ideology. You will find Jews who are Zionists or anti-Zionists, and you will find non-Jews who are the same. Among strong Zionist groups you will find fundamentalist Christians. The Zionist ideology must be studied and exposed.
There is a comparison with the previous (racist) system in South-Africa. A group of white immigrants, the Christian Boers, considered the land to be theirs, and established an exclusive state for themselves, oppressing and expelling the black. This apartheid system in South-Africa was the root for promoting tensions and wars, and so is the situation with the Zionist State of Israel. This is the basic problem.
- On the one hand, Norway’s Royal Palace claimed that you do not ‘deserve’ to be a candidate for this award. On the other hand, the Parliament of Norway awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union whereas there is much criticism against EU by people of the world and even the member states, and many believe that EU does not deserve the award. Thus, the question arises as to what actually ‘to deserve’ means in the literature over there?
The question of “deserving” is of course an ideological question. Those “deserve” an award who are considered to be and function within the prevalent system. Any concerned Muslim being conscious about his or her Islamic values, will be in the outskirts of the prevailing system, and maybe sought, pushed out, or of course, be attacked.
On the contrary with the EU, President Obama, Menachem Begin and others who were awarded the Nobel Prize, were approved in ruling circles.
- After the Nobel Prize was awarded to EU, there came up demonstrations in Norway as a protest against this measure. Were there also any protests by Norwegian personalities, citizens, or popular organizations against the revocation of awarding the King’s Service Medal to you?
There was a lot of arguments here for the award being evoked. I am glad to say that several well-known Norwegian personalities supported me strongly. I got many supportive e-mails and much vocal support from Muslims and non-Muslims.
- Royal Palace has announced that your viewpoints and statements in support for Palestine could not be reconciled with the intentions behind the Service Medal after all. Then, what is the real intention behind it?
The intention behind the Service Medal is in a way sincere: to honour persons in this country doing “life-long and eminent social work”. The person however, must not be controversial, in viewpoints and opinion.
- Mr. Grutle, the palace’s chief of staff, has called the awarding of the medal to you as a serious mistake, unfortunate negligence, and even a scandal! It is also said that the admitted negligence had put King Harald into an embarrassing position. Are the Zionist lobbies so strong in Norway to force the Palace’s officials to make such weird confessions?
I am afraid that you are right. The Zionist lobbies are strong.
- Another reason for the cancellation of the medal has been your statements in support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was considered as anti-democratic. As you know, Iran is a country with an average of one election per year; nevertheless, European states call it an anti-democratic government; but the same European states establish ties with countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, or Emirates where no elections are held. Even for 40 years, they had good relations with Qaddafi who did not let a single election be held in Libya. What is the reason for this kind of dual standard by European politicians?
This is an ideological and political question, and not a moral one. “Democracy” is a term used by Western powers when it comes to promoting their interests. Sometimes they claim that they are fighting for “democracy”, and other times for “stability”, or for supporting “friends”. The words may change, but great-powers’ interests are at the core.
- Does the revocation of your medal not mean a violation of ‘freedom of expression’?
Oh, yes! And this should be very clear. There is no really “freedom of expression”, not even in democratic countries. You may be allowed to talk for a bit, but your voice will hardly be heard in comparison with the dominant media, which bring out their ideological message continuously every day. Their differences are rather minor. And if you are in opposition, to the dominant secular system, you will be personally attacked.
- Don’t you intend to complain or file an appeal in a European/Norwegian court or any other international legal body against those who made such accusations against you?
I don’t think this will be very useful. And furthermore, I don’t really care about personal accusations. The situation has, to some extent, allowed me to talk about Palestine and the State of Israel; and that was very important.
- As the final question, do you have any new plans for rendering services to immigrant minorities, or any new projects at Urtehagen Islamic Foundation?
Thank you for asking the question. We first want to maintain and to strengthen the activities that we already have. We think they are very important. We want to start a social project for immigrant children with family problems, being more or less without parents. And we have started an important project to translate the Holy Quran into Norwegian language.
Thank you for participating in this interview.
We hereby acknowledge that, in fact, you have been awarded the Medal of Honor by Palestinian & Lebanese children and immigrant minorities who have taken advantage of your services during long years. You do not need the Zionists’ medal!