Norwegian immigration authorities have finally allowed 19-year-old Mustafa Hasan, who was brought to Norway as a child by his refugee mother, to remain in the country where’s he’s grown up. After 14 years of uncertainty and threatened deportation, the young man known simply as “Mustafa” can finally heave a sigh of relief.
“I collapsed on the floor when the attorney said ‘you’ve been granted opphold (permanent residence),'” Mustafa told state broadcaster NRK Tuesday afternoon. “I was so shocked when he said that.”
But also overjoyed and relieved. His case has engaged thousands of Norwegians who supported him, with even the mayor of the suburban Oslo community where he’s lived for years calling Mustafa “a tried and true Asker resident.” Football star Martin Ødegaard and the hit music duo Karpe also supported Mustafa’s request to remain in Norway after spending 14 of his 19 years in the country.
“I really don’t think folks spent time on this, donated money and gave my case lots of attention because of me,” Mustafa told NRK. “I think folks just had a feeling that this (his threatened deportation on the grounds his Palestinian mother had wrongly brought her children to Norway) was not right. Why should someone who speaks as good Norwegian as they do, who sounds and looks as Norwegian as they do, be thrown out of Norway?”
After being threatened by immigration authorities for years, because of a mistake his single mother (who later left Norway with Mustafa’s little sister who was born in Norway) made, a court in Oslo ruled last year that neither immigration agency UDI nor its appeals commission UNE had adequately considered Mustafa’s ties to Norway, or his mental health. His family had already been torn apart, two older brothers also had to leave Norway, yet Norway is the only home Mustafa has known. He has gone through the Norwegian school system, has many friends in and beyond Asker, yet strict immigration authorities ruled that he had to relocate to Jordan, the last country of his mother’s residence.
The court ruling forced UNE to reconsider, UNE eventually dropped an appeal and its decision on Mustafa’s fate was changed to permanent residence, indicating he’ll also be able to apply for full citizenship. Another brother had earlier been granted residence based on some special needs, so now at least the two of them can stay together.
“He was one of the first I called,” Mustafa told NRK, “so we’ll get together soon and have something to eat.”