Muslim immigrants coming to Norway have been adding costs to the economy, PEGIDA leader Max Hermansen tells the Oslo Times
Max Hermansen, is the leader of the Islam hostile organization PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) and a teacher at two public schools in Oslo. PEGIDA is a German far right political organization founded in October 2014.Since its conception it has been organizing weekly demonstrations against what it considers the Islamization of the Western World, calling for more restrictive immigration rules, particularly for Muslims.
Hermansen in an exclusive interview with The Oslo Times International News Network’s Editor-in-Chief, Hatef Mokhtar, spoke about the PEGIDA movement in Oslo.
Excerpts below give us an insight into the interesting talk that followed:
Firstly sir, thank you for joining us here today, before we start could you please tell us something about yourself?
I am Max Hermanson, a 54-years old former Norwegian naval officer, who has spent 20 years in the navy. For the last 15 year I have been teaching, and in the last six years I have been giving vocational training to students in the secondary school, or high school. I started there in 2009, teaching logistics to people who want to become truck drivers or work with logistics.
We have heard a lot about this anti-Islamic movement in Germany, how did the ‘Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West’, begin in Norway, can you tell us a little more about the movement you are leading?
PEGIDA, in many ways, is same as it was when it started in Western Germany. I heard about the movement last autumn. People marched every Monday at half past 6 to protest against the actual Muslim invasion or Muslim immigrants to Germany. They protested stating that the Muslims were taking more and more space in the German society where Sharia was gaining prominence overshadowing the basic values of our societies.
Norway is a country that respects and defends human rights along with being the host of the Nobel Peace Prize. In such a context, why is this movement targeting the Muslim population?
More than 200,000 Muslims have became part of Norway during the last three four days and with this immigration there have been also lots of problem. These problems are related to women’s right or their oppression; or with the homosexuals and their rights; with their hatred towards Jews. They have come from total different society than the Norwegian and this has led to lot of problems and the integration is not functioning at all.
Muslim also work in various capacities such as taxi drivers, bus drivers and pay taxes. Many of them are educated in Norway and are integrated in the Norwegian society. So what do you want? Do you want them all to leave Norway.
No, I don’t agree your way of putting this. If you look at the ratio of Muslims in Norway against the actual numbers of working Mulims in Norway, its not that high. However the same ratio in terms of Norwegian is about 68 per cent, in terms of Pakistani persons in Norway, its about 49 per cent and if you look at Somalis in Norway its about 28 per cent. Even though it is very easy to get job in Norway, not many of the Muslims in Norway actually at work. Muslim immigrants coming to Norway from non-Western countries have been adding costs to the economy. Persons migrating to Norway from these countries cost about 4.1 million Kroner’s (around 500,000 Euros) per person and since not so many of them are working we will have to pay these costs.
What do you think about the Islamic belief, ideology? Do you think it is separating Norway or endangering the Norwegian society?
Well I am not calling it a religion. What I learnt about Islam at school was that it was a religion of peace. I learnt about Mecca and Muslims giving money to the poor people and so on. But as I started teaching in 2009 in vocational schools, I heard lot of Muslims saying that it would be nice for all the Jews to disappear from the surface of earth and many of them had very strong anger towards the homosexuals and they had also the belief that women were supposed to serve men. These are not the values that we share in Norway.But many Norwegians, including your Prime Minister, former Prime Minister disagree with your concept.
A poll in a major Norwegian newspaper about Pagira was conducted. Of the total participants, 40 per cent supported Pagira stating that the Muslim immigrants and the influence of Islam is a threat to Norwegian values. Another 41 per cent did not support the movement claiming that Muslim immigrants were not a threat to Norwegian society. The remaining 19 per cent did not have any opinion. So we believe that quite a lot of the Norwegian population sees that there are some problems with the Muslim immigrants.
Don’t you think your views are against all the principles of human rights? 57 countries exist under the territories of the Muslim society. And Norway has a good relation with most of those countries. What do you think about this? Don’t you think that your views are somewhat racist?
I don’t think so because we see that there are lots of problems with the Muslims in Norway and we have to address them. We cannot just sit still and watch them develop these problems that are affecting the Muslims themselves in Norway. We have to discuss these problems. For instance, lots of Muslim youngsters do not even finish their secondary education. We have to start discussing to figure out why don’t they complete education and how can we make assist them in completing their education and in getting jobs. They have to really integrate in our society and not be something on the side of our society.
Suppose your movement succeeds and you become the Prime Minister of Norway, what will you do to the Muslim population?
First of all I will stop more Muslims coming into Norway.
What will you do to those immigrants who are already here and are very much a part of this society?
Some people believe that I want to throw them out, no absolutely not. This is based on humanism and human rights. We want to stop this immigration of asylum seekers.Not throw those who are already here out.
Does this apply to only Muslim immigrants or does it apply to anyone seeking refuge in Norway?
Everyone, most of the asylum seekers coming to Norway are Muslims. We know that a lot those who come to Norway pay as much as 10,000 Euros to come here. Mostly they are welfare seekers who want a better life. Of course everyone wants a better life for themselves, but we should help people who really are in need of help. Then we could help lot more people closer to where they have escaped from.
If someone is in danger in Afghanistan, Syria or Pakistan or in some other part of the World. Can they not seek asylum here or do you want to sue them?
No. I don’t want the asylum seekers to come to Norway. What I believe is that there are lot of Syrians who have fled their country. We should use more of our money for Syrian asylum seekers in Turkey and in Jordon to help them have a better life there instead bringing them here, to a high cost country where they don’t fit in.
Have you studied Islam?
I have not studied the Quran completely but I know quite a bit about Quran. I am also an historian. I studied history at the University of Oslo. I know quite a bit about history and how Islam has evolved over 1400 years, that it has been part of our earth.
Since Fall 2014 the PEGIDA movement has been creating a stir in different places across Europe, can you tell us about your movement’s focus here in Norway. Are you only against the Muslim population or do you have other agendas too?
PEGIDA protesters in Oslo. Photo:Sources
We have accused the Norwegian mass media for not being fair to us and for not doing their duty as journalists. They are not telling us about these problems that the Muslim immigration has caused. The first thing that we have to do to solve the problem is to accept that there is a problem. So, we want the Norwegian mass media to start bringing the different sides of these problems, to light.So, do you think that Norwegian media like Vague, Aftenposten, among others are impartial?
No, I think they are very partial. They are not telling people about this huge problem and not trying to find out how we can solve them.
The attack in Utoya in 2011, was not carried out by a Muslim immigrant, Anders Behring Breivik, was a Norwegian right-wing extremist,what do you have to say about him?
Well I never discuss him because he was a lunatic. It was terrible what he did. And that made it even more urgent to address these problems and try to find good solutions to them.
Do you have a message that you would like to give to our Norwegian and international readers.
We should start having serious discussion about these problems arising due to people coming from countries that are very much different from ours. We are trying to find good solutions. One thing is to accept that these young Muslims have different upbringing than the Norwegians have. They need a different school, different education and different way of education.
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