“If I would go to Pakistan and burn the Qur’an they would definitely kill me, but if I go to Pakistan and burn the Bible they would honor me, they will salute me.“ – Lena Andreassen
An obscure incident in Norway is being seized upon to justify imposing international blasphemy laws.
On November 16, 2019, a violent attack triggered by the burning of a Qur’an in Southern Norway’s capital city of Kristiansand captured the attention of global media outlets. It began when Lars Thorsen, the leader of Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN) set fire to the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book in an act of protest. Thorsen was immediately assaulted by Umer Ilyas, an Islamic witness to the event, which was meant as a statement against the ongoing assault on free speech in the West.
For his perceived blasphemy, Thorson was violently beaten as police rushed to extinguish and protect the burning Qur’an. In the wake of the incident, Umar Ilyas’ violent response has been celebrated and copy-cat actions have been encouraged.
Lena Andreassen, a photographer and SIAN member, photographed the event. RAIR Foundation USA sat down with Andreassen for an exclusive interview about the organization SIAN and the state of free speech in Norway.
Andreassen sets the stage for the event (see video):
We had four speeches that went very well. The last speech was from the founder of SIAN, Arne Thumyr. He talked about how today was a historic day in Norway, and we should burn the Qur’an. Arne Thumyr threw his copy of the Qur’an into a rubbish box. At the same moment Lars Thorsen put fire at his copy. It was chaos.
Three policemen came running to extinguish the fire. At the same moment Lars was attacked by a violent Muslim. It escalated and several Muslims broke the barriers.
According to Andreassen, SIAN’s mission is to “counter, stop and reverse the Islamization of Norway.” “We are very afraid of losing our free speech,” she said, “Freedoms and our culture is being taken away from us. ” Andreassen confirmed that SIAN’s objective is to educate the public on Islam, fight against Sharia and protect women, gays and ex-muslims in Norway who are under attack by Islamic supremacists.
“Our statutes are based on democracy, the principles of the rule of law and the United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
At that rally, Andreassen describes how she was violently attacked by a Muslim female (see image below):
“I was busy taking pictures of the incident so I did not see the Muslim woman who had broken through the barriers. Earlier during the demonstration, she called me a whore and spit [at] me in the face. When I saw her behind me I asked her to go away, she grabbed my hair. She pulled and tore at it as she hit me in the head, I ended up on the ground. Two people from SIAN tried to get her away from me, but then she hit them also with the other hand. Finally, a policeman came and got her to drop me. The woman screamed that I should be burned and when she was carried away by the police she screamed that she would kill me. The policeman let her go.
Andreassen points out that burning a bible in public would be permissible in both Pakistan and Norway, but she would be killed for doing the same to a Qur’an in Pakistan.
If I would go to Pakistan and burn the Qur’an they would definitely kill me, but if I go to Pakistan and burn the Bible they would honor me, they will salute me. If someone burns a bible in Norway, no one would care because we are not violent in our religion and that is the difference. If you burn a Qur’an it make demonstrations all over the world, they want to boycott Norway, but if you burn the bible in a Muslim country they will honor you. That is the difference between the Islamic culture, and our culture we are not violent. People can burn our bibles, they can burn our flags we will not freak out and be violent and we will not make demonstrations all over the world.
In an effort to document the dangers of Islamization and Antifa radicals, Andreassen attends rallies and photographs her experiences. On several instances, she has been threatened by these radicals who have shown up at her home to photograph her and her neighbors.
After the latest rally detailed above, Andreassen’s safety has come under increased threat as she has been warned by police not to travel to the city alone.
All this have come at high cost. I’ve lost the freedom to walk around as I please. I’ve lost friends . I can no longer go to the City alone. I must be careful and keep my eyes open.
When asked to describe the media reaction to SIAN and the related protests, Andreassen explained that the media routinely malign her group by calling them racists and other slanderous terms.
The funny thing is that we have two amazing Iranian guys with us, Karim and Mansoor. Still the lefties call them nazis and racists.
As she points out, the media does not seem to understand the notion that she and others are only attempting to preserve their freedoms and ensure the safety of their LGBT and ex-Muslim friends who live under threat and regular attacks from Islamic supremacists. Andreassen also pointed out that her group is also trying to ensure that women can live freely and safely in Norway. With Antifa and Islamic supremacists aligning, these threats are only growing more dangerous by the day.
During the interview, she describes the impact that the Islamization of Norway has had on her day-to-day life and freedoms. Andreassen offered an example of recent bus ride in an area of Oslo that she described as a Muslim-dominated area. On that bus ride, a Muslim woman warned Andreassen to cover herself and asked if she realized where she was.
In addition to the physical dangers, Andreassen also comments on the international media rage resulting from burning a Qur’an. The Kristiansand incident garnered global attention and triggered many coordinated protests across the Islamic world and condemnations from their leaders. The event is being used as another attempt by Islamic leaders to intimidate and pressure the West into criminalizing criticism of Islam.
Massive Coordinated International Response
Pakistan expressed “deep concern” and launched a diplomatic action over the burning of the Qur’an in Norway. Thousands of Pakistanis demanded that their government sever ties with Oslo to rectify the “Islamophobic” trend of the Norwegian society. Protesters set fire to Norwegian and American flags, as well as effigies of Norwegian leaders. Ironically, Andreassen’s photo and video of the so-called violent heroic intervention by an Islamic man named Umer Ilyas gained him public acclaim.
With remarkable speed, large and coordinated demonstrations were organized throughout Pakistan, where participants displayed glossy and expensive-looking posters featuring their violent hero, Umer Ilyas.
Watch a demonstration:
Umer Ilyas even earned high praise from the spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces, Asif Ghafoor.
Ghafoor praised Umer Ilyas’ violent “courage” and screamed islamophobia, a word thrown in people’s faces to silence them and force Western nations to submit to Islamic Blasphemy laws.
In addition, the Head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) denounced the Norwegian event and called for those behind the qur’an burning be tried in court.
“We expect that such actions to be prevented and those who are responsible to be brought to justice as soon as possible,” the foreign ministry said in a statement last week.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Norwegian chargé d’affaires in Tehran and warned Norway of serious consequences of burning their Qur’an. Iran warned against the serious consequences of such acts concerning the spread of extremism and violence. Iran also called for the “Norwegian government to prevent the repetition of such seditious acts and to deal with its perpetrators.”
Debates ensued about the Qur’an burning across Norway and other free countries as to whether burning the Qur’an is within freedom of speech – or whether it should be illegal.
Lest the reader in America feel assured over the First Amendment guaranteeing the right to free speech, there has been a growing chorus of voices calling for hate speech legislation in America. A little over a month ago for example, Richard Stengel, the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs from 2013 to 2016, attempted to make the shocking case that Qur’an burning, or indeed any “hateful speech that can cause violence,” should not be protected, as reported at RAIR Foundation USA.
Freedom of Expression
Every freedom-loving country must ask whether sovereignty and freedom should allow unpopular thoughts and expressions, including the burning of the Qur’an or the Bible or the Torah.
As an example, the ‘work of art’ known as “The Piss Christ” was a Catholic Crucifix placed in a jar of the artist’s urine. This piece of “art” was shown in national galleries and achieved critical acclaim. No Western governments demanded the criminalization of this “art”, which was even subsidized by tax dollars.
The attempt to enact special legislation to protect Islam in Western and secular nations is a joint Islamic and Marxist effort to stop any form of dissenting expression. Dissenting expression is typically any attempt to defend Western, and especially American culture, values and identity.
“Hate speech” is the Marxist version of Islamic blasphemy laws.
The Individual vs. the Collective
Calls for speech suppression in the wake of the Norway incident are reminiscent of the United Nations’ Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s [OIC] ongoing demands for blasphemy laws to be implemented across the world via multiple mechanisms. The UN resolution 16/18, an OIC initiative, as well as the Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, also known as the Cairo declaration, was presented to the UN as the official position of the Islamic world in terms of reshaping human rights away from an individual perspective, namely Western, to an Islamic and Marxist one, namely based on the collective.
Human rights have always been based on the rights of the individual against the collective or state. Islam and Marxism negates those rights by reformatting them as no rights to the individual and all rights to the group and state. But it is inserted using PC. Like Hate speech which is tantamount to blasphemy.
Predictably, Leftist leaders in the West happily oblige by requesting limits on free speech that may offend unspecified groups. German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants blasphemy laws to protect free speech:
Should “Democratic” countries allow special rights for one group and not others? Islam, perhaps above all, embodies little tolerance for other religions – or even lack of religion. Affording Islam – or anyone – special rights is the death knell for a society based on equal rights.
In fact both Islamic law (Sharia) and Marxist thought are not just incompatible with Western culture, but are designed specifically to be a destructive force to to the Judeo-Christian values historically associated with the West.
The response to the Norwegian Qur’an burn is a carefully choreographed “day of rage” conducted by the Islamic world specifically tailored to dismantle free expression.
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The people in SIAN do not hate anyone. We try to warn muslims as well as the Norwegian that Islam is a dangerous ideology. An ideology that want to take our freedom away. Look to Iran. What happened there? Islam is no freedom, Islam is violent- and if the muslims who are good muslims do not get it their way, they turn in to violence. In Norway we have freedom to say what we want about religions, and we are allowed to burn any book. The muslims have to get used to that or they have to leave our country.
SIAN will burn more Koran because the Koran is a book of shadows. We will never be quit.
Great video and photo essay, I’m sharing it anywhere I can.
Spot on! The authorities really need to ask themselves why Islam should receive special and preferential treatment over other religions and ideologies. Keep burning those qurans to keep making your point. If Islam wants to coexist we need the freedom to openly criticize its teachings.