Norway: HRS accused of exploiting Muslim girls

Norway: HRS accused of exploiting Muslim girls

Human Rights Service exploits immigrant girls in order to reach their political goals, says author Amal Aden. HRS denies doing anything wrong.

Both the Ministry of Children and Equality and the Ministry of Labor and Social Inclusion held meetings this week regarding the criticism against the organization. Children and Equality minister Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor) is taking the complaints of unethical methods very seriously, reports Klassekampen.

Author Amal Aden is very critical of Human Rights Service. She accuses the organization of turning to reprehensible methods against young Muslim girls. Pressure, threats, manipulation, illegal phone taps and paying sources are some of what the Human Rights Service uses in its work, according to Aden.

"They told me: You'll be our weapon in our war to exterminate Islam," Aden told Klassekampen. In the book "See us" (se oss), which was published last year, she confronted violence and abuse of children, khat and welfare abuse in Somali communities.

Spokesperson Hege Storhaug of Human Rights Service denies all of Aden's claims. In an email to the newspaper Storhaug wrote that the claims are incorrect and that the organization can't control whether somebody accuses them without reason.

She says further that HRS was not invited to a meeting in the ministry. the organization was not informed either of the issue in any other way, she writes.

Source: Dagbladet (Norwegian)


Aden claims that Hege Storhaug and the organization uses unethical methods in its work. This includes pressuring her to do illegal things.

This includes:

* Young immigrant girls were offered a thousand kroner to say they've been circumcised, or threatened to wear a hijab.

* Hege Storhaug said she had audio recordings of Aden, and threatened that this will be used against her.

* Aden was pressured to get confidential material from the child welfare department.

* She was forced to go 'undercover' to get data, including by pretending that she was going to circumcise her children

* She was also encouraged to pretend that she was 'returning' to Islam to get material from the mosque communities. She says she's never left her religion and that she saw it as insulting that it was taken for granted that she wanted to 'exterminate Islam'.

Aden told Klassekampen: I now I don't look like a Muslim on the outside, because I don't cover myself. But inside I'm Muslim. I see it as very insulting when it's taken for granted that I've left Islam.

"I wrote the book 'Se oss' in order to help Somali children and women. Not to harm the Somali community. On the contrary. I am fond of my community. But sadly there are those who misinterpreted my book as if I oppose my community and my religion."

Klassekampen says that they've tried getting an interview from Hege Storhaug of HRS, but that they only got an email in which she says that the assertions are incorrect and that the organization can't control whether somebody accuses them without reason. She points out the extent to which it is too easy to make such accusations in the media. Nothing is verified before the newspaper is printed.

It's therefore becomes interesting to see who will use this wrong information in the future, from political and economic motives. As regarding those who give information to HRS, they do not want to comment, other then stressing that they uphold the Norwegian press standards, for example in contacts with sources, and they always put basic decency first. For this reason they can neither confirm not deny eventual source information related to working with Amal Aden.

It should also be noticed that it's interesting whether the government or ministry receives such serious information, which is afterward published in the media, without HRS being invited to meet with the authorities or being informed in any other way. They've experienced that before and it strongly reminds them of methods used in countries to which Norway doesn't want to be compared.

HRS welcomes the authorities to visit their office, so they can show documentation which paints a diametrically opposite picture of HRS' work methods and ethical standards.

Source: Klassekampen (Norwegian)

See also: Norway: Somali author criticizes Somali community

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