My Europe used to be such a wonderful place. It was a place full of hope. It was a place of ethnic diversity and tolerance. Whenever I met people outside of Norway, we would find interest in each other’s cultural differences, and I believe people who travelled to Norway experienced the same. We had Jewish neighbors and two Indian kids in our primary school, and I remember being very excited about the Indian kids that morning when they first showed up. Our teacher told us about India that day, and to me it sounded like a place straight out of a fairytale.
We were so naive back then. We believed in equality, women’s rights, Swedish cars and brisk walks. Like most kids born in the 70’s, I grew up in a secular home, and I would say that Norway was mainly secular from the 80’s and at least up through the 90’s. But then strange things started to happen. Suddenly, you were a racist if you criticized that exotic, new religion islam, a religion with so many peculiarities that it’s practically asking to be included in the Norwegian parody tradition. I mean, the drunken, horny priest and «Jesus jokes» were essential parts of every comedy show here. But now, journalists and politicians invented words like «religious feelings» and «expression responsibility», words that sound a lot like Orwell’s newspeak to me. Vaguely racist words in old novels written by authors who had been dead for many years were changed to the politically correct alternative. If you used to be an anti-racist, you had to witness how «anti-racism» went from being a fight for equality to become a governmentally funded campaign for islam.