…there are plenty of new Trojan horses. One of them is a hijab-wearing young woman named Sumaya Jirde Ali. Born in 1997, she came to Norway from Somalia at age six. Two years ago, she stepped onto the national stage with an opinion piece in Aftenposten. She had just been in London, and was impressed by the “diversity” on display there. By contrast, she charged, Norway is way behind. “During the last few decades Norway has become more multicultural,” she wrote. “Why is it that in 2016, there aren’t more non-ethnic Norwegians in advertisements, movies, magazines, and in government agencies?” She maintained that “for integration to work, it must go both ways. It’s not enough for immigrants to adapt.”
No, there was nothing new about it. By 2016, her argument was an embarrassing cliché, a platitude. But in 21st century Norway, the cultural elite eats this sort of thing up, at least if it’s under the byline of a teenage girl in a hijab. If Sumaya had written a piece about how grateful she was to have been brought up in a free and prosperous Norway rather than in her native Somalia, would Aftenposten even have published it? No, too sappy. And anti-African! What if she’d submitted an article critical of female genital mutilation in her community? Or honor killing? No, that’s old hat. But her familiar whining about insufficient Muslim visibility in today’s Norway was right up their alley.
Sumaya wrote more pieces. Last year came an item headlined “Muslim on your premises? Never.” Complaining that her devotion to Islam is too often associated in Norway “with something negative,” she wanted readers to know that “I am not your socially constructed phenomenon. I am myself.” She insisted that her wearing of a hijab has nothing to do with obedience, that she is “not obliged to follow or like all the rules/norms of my own religion,” and that the Koran teaches all this. Which led one to wonder: does she really believe this, or is she consciously trying to present infidel Norway with a picture of Islam that makes this totalitarian religion look like Episcopalianism?