The comment expresses the writer’s opinions.
Why have I, for so many years, written about Islam? Am I a person who hates Muslims?
There have been claims to which I would like to respond.
Basim Ghozlan, head of the Islamic Association and closely linked to the Rabita mosque, writes on his Facebook wall:
«There is a person in Norway who has become a “celebrity” solely because she writes negatively about Islam and Muslims. Every single time she writes in Nettavisen (it looks like only Nettavisen publishes for her) it’s the same mess over and over again.
Don’t you have anything else to talk about? Can you for once in your life write about your own contributions to humanity, other than spreading hate and prejudice? For once, can you show us what you have done for society? If only she knew that every time she opens her mouth, someone finds their way to Islam, or becomes a more practicing believer, thanks to her unreasonableness.»
The criticism came after a comment in Nettavisen. You can read it here.
1. Celebrity? Well…
First, let me be clear: criticizing Islam is not the way to become famous or rich. On the contrary. Critics of Islam are harassed, frozen out of the media and the public debate. One is even threatened with one’s life and exposed to violence.
We have countless examples from all over the world, the latest being Salman Rushdie. He is neither the first nor the last. In Norway, both Cemal Knudsen, Mina Bai and I go with violence alarms. Walid al Kubaisi was subjected to violence when he was alive.
I myself was sitting at the bus stop in front of Oslo City waiting for the bus, when a man urinated on me.
When it comes to prizes, scholarships, state aid, IMDI and participation on NRK, critics of Islam are not first in line. Those who put themselves first are those who write so that everyone is satisfied. But the topic of Islam must not be mentioned. And the women with the hijab have one hand on the wheel.
2. Why do I only write in Nettavisen?
For information, I can tell those of you who are wondering that I have written for too many newspapers since 2003. For example these, from Aftenposten:
These sparked great debate at the time, in various newspapers over weeks and months. But now I have an agreement with Nettavisen and I only write for them. I am very proud of Nettavisen.
Lily Bandehy came to Norway from Iran in 1988 as a political refugee. Bandehy is an author and speaker, and is particularly concerned with topics such as freedom of expression and religion. Bandehy has previously written for both VG and Aftenposten and has helped found LIM (Equality, integration and diversity) and Ex-Muslims of Norway. In 2019, she was awarded the Born Free award.
3. Themes I deal with
I write about topics such as refugees, nurses, psychiatry, asylum reception, old age, sexuality, culture and uncultured and much more. I write about people.
Read more comments from Lily Bandehy here
I have written five books in the genre of fiction and non-fiction.
But, Islamists and similar people who read my comments, read them like the hell they read the Bible.
4. Do I hate Muslims?
How dare anyone claim this? How unreasonable and baseless is that claim?
I don’t hate some human beings. I cannot hate Muslims, because my father, mother, sister, brother and my grandson are Muslims. My family and people from my village are Muslims.
I don’t hate Muslims.
I am critical of Islam, as a political ideology.
I criticize the political ideology that has been practiced from about 600 years after Christ, and after Khomeini. I criticize the Islamic political ideology that governs Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Pakistan and most other countries where Sharia law replaces law and governs society and the family.
Look at Iran, how they oppress women as thinking people. How many women have not been killed, tortured and raped as a result of the current sharia law? It is only a few days since the 22-year-old girl Mahsa Amini was killed because of a bad hijab.
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Look at Afghanistan, where girls over the age of 12 are not allowed to go to school. Look at Yemen, where a grown woman cannot leave her home without her husband, and where millions of girl children are married off to grown men every year. How many of them were totally destroyed on the first night? How many die during childbirth, because Islam, in some places, has legalized pedophilia by allowing marriage from the age of nine?
How many women have to endure violence from their husbands, without having the opportunity to divorce their husbands, because Islam does not grant the right to divorce for women, and leaves custody to the man?
Why do millions of women need breadwinners? What woman in Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan can travel alone to another city or country to run a business? Why do women have to have a guardian in all Muslim countries to get a passport?
Can someone at the Rabita Mosque answer me?
Why do we have polygamy, even in Europe? Is it thanks to their mosques?
Why do we have short marriages, even in Europe? Is it because their imams make good money from it?
Why are baby girls circumcised, and their genitals amputated, and their imams, guardians, teachers and Muslim organizations do not mention it one word?
None of you distance yourself from verses in the Koran and hadiths, which describe the killing of homosexuals, the killing of infidels and outright misogynistic formulations.
I ask Basim
One of the most important people in the mosque community is Basim Ghozlan.
Since you write so negatively about me on social media, I have to ask you: How many times have you or other imams in Norway stood up and distanced themselves from verses in the Koran and hadiths that encourage jihad, terror, child marriage, violence against Jews and converts? How many Friday prayers have been led by a female imam?
I can say with one hand on my heart that it seems that you wholeheartedly support the view of women in Islam.
Muslim leaders have stopped reformation of Islam. This gives you power and you sit under a false halo and are afraid of the truth. You are afraid that Muslims read and understand the Koran.
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You who want Islam as a political ideology, you who are excited about Yusef al-Qaradawi’s theories, you who believe that “the Koran is the word of Allah and the original is in heaven” and that Muhammad is the perfect role model for all Muslims. You practice something that fits neither the time nor the place.
I write about Islam, because…
I write and inform about hadiths, about Islam as a political ideology, about the Iranian regime, about brotherhood, about women’s rights, about gay rights, about children’s rights, about people’s rights.
I am writing about this because I have been a Muslim and because my whole family is Muslim. Because I love people, regardless of their religion or where they come from. And I believe that individual freedom is more important than all holy books and holy prophets.
These are Nettavisen’s columnists
I write about objectionable aspects of Islam because Norwegians lack knowledge about Islam. Because other Muslims do not read the Koran or the hadiths, and believe everything you imams and other self-elected leaders say.
If millions of Muslims had actually read the Koran, and not just believed in the imams, we would probably have had a reformation.
What Basim and his supporters are doing is nothing new. They want to limit freedom of speech by labeling the critics of Islam as Islam haters.
Muslims are as wise and as intelligent as anyone else. We don’t need to discriminate against them. They have the ability to understand and change with time, as long as Islam continues to face criticism. In the same way as Christianity.
And finally: I write about Islam because I was born and raised as a Muslim girl and woman. I write about Islam because what I experienced, many millions of Muslim women experience.
The purpose is to help prevent millions of girl children from being married off as children. The intention is that millions of women are humiliated every day, beaten, raped and married off, and people need to know about that. The aim is to get girls into school after they turn 12.
The purpose is that women can stand in front of their husband, father, brother and say no – without being beaten.
Basim Ghozlan has been offered to respond to this comment.