Norway: Somali author criticizes Somali community

A Somalian woman who came to Norway more than 10 years ago is harshly criticizing her fellow Somalian immigrants and Norwegian authorities. In a new book, she claims Somalians themselves don't want to integrate into Norwegian society, and that Norwegian welfare programs make it easy for them to remain isolated.

The book written by Amal Aden, a pseudonym for the Somalian author, is already creating an uproar. Amal Aden wouldn't use her own name because of fears for her own safety.

In an interview with newspaper Aftenposten, the author said she hopes to launch a new debate on immigration and what can be done to further integration.

"I wrote the book in the hopes that children will get better lives," she said. "I want to see more integration, and the responsibility for that lies with the Somalians themselves and with the authorities."

She claims that resistance to integration is widespread especially among Somalian men, who fear losing their culture and religion. Many are afraid of Norwegians and view them as infidels who can't be trusted.

In her book, entitled "See us!" (Se oss!), Amal Aden claims the Somalians also exploit the Norwegian welfare state and have many children in order to qualify for more welfare payments. Many couples also "divorce" under Norwegian law in order for the women to receive even more welfare payments as single mothers, only to continue to live under Somalian customs with their Somalian husbands and have more children, the author claims.

She writes that violence is a part of life in Somalian homes, that young girls are often molested and women and children are intentionally kept isolated. Many Somalian men, she claims, prefer to live on welfare than accept jobs seemingly below their social status.

"I'm tired of being patient with a situation where children aren't getting enough food at home, where women are beaten by their husbands, where welfare payments to the (Somalian) families are used by the men to buy (the narcotic) khat, where the willingness to simply obtain more welfare money is stronger than the ability to care for children," writes Amal Aden. She accuses many spokesmen for the Somalian community of hypocrisy, saying they say they support integration when in reality they don't.

Several Somalian activists in Norway are already rejecting the book and blasting Amal Aden for criticizing immigrants traumatized by war and poverty in their homeland. "Half of the Somalians in Norway have been here less than five years, have little education and have problems integrating," claims Said Abdulwahab. "It doesn't help to criticize them."

Abdulwahab has five daughters himself aged four to 14, but has sent them all to school in Kenya. Not, he claims, because Norwegians can't be relied upon but because he wants them to get a good education.

Major publishing firm Aschehoug has put out the book, saying that while it may be accused of stigmatizing Somalians, it's important to "release new voices" on the issue. Aschehoug editor Halvor Fosli said Amal Aden had "a brave pen."


Source: Aftenposten (English)


Anonymous said...

You guys should read the < 'Somalis in Shelbyville' series from the Shelbyville Times-Gazette. Interesting stuff. The author's family hosted several Vietnamese boat people when they were new in America when was a kid, so he has an interesting perspective on how some immigrants from very different cultures are so appreciative of the opportunity to start over that they've been granted in the free world, just try their best to fit right in and assimilate, and then succeed, and some, well, do not and then overburden every social service, the police, etc., not because of their number (they basically replaced a Hispanic population that moved on) but because of how they behave, the kind of culture they come from, and a patent characteristic ingratitude and hatred toward their host culture which has if anything done way too much to accomodate them.

Anonymous said...

And I screwed up the link: