Today starts the Norwegian Government's Integration conference, with several invited experts. It is, according to the invitation, because of up to three times as many asylum seekers came to the country last year, compared with a "normal" year.
Even before Prime Minister Erna Solberg opened the conference, Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug set the tone with an update on Facebook:
"I believe that those who come to Norway must adapt to our society. Here we eat pork, drink alcohol and show our face. One must abide by the values, laws and regulations that are in Norway when one arrives," the Norwegian Integration Minister wrote on her Facebook page.
She links to an interview in Dagbladet. In it she says, among other things, that everybody have a responsibility for their own behavior. Since one does not go to a job interview in jogging pants and a baseball cap, one can not do so in the niqab."
The niqab is the Muslim veil that only shows the eyes.
There are, as usual, those who criticize the Minister for her integration. Usman Mushtaq is active in the Foundation Eat, and writes on Twitter:
"Norwegians are not a homogenous group! We value diversity. Some eat pork and drink alcohol, while others do not."
Listhaug explains later that no one is forced to eat pork or drink alcohol, but says no one can refuse to have contact with the materials at work.
To Dagbladet, Ann-Magritt Austenå, secretary general of the Norwegian Organization for Asylum-seekers, says the niqab is a marginal issue in Norway.
- But Sylvi Listhaug makes it easy for her herself when she says that use of the niqab and aversion against pork and alcohol are the main reasons why many immigrant women are struggling to get work.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg supports her minister, according to NRK.
She believes that anyone working, for example in a restaurant, can not choose if they want to work with pork or not. It is not their right to have, she says.
Solberg admits that use of the niqab and the burqa is a very small problem in Norway, and she believes that those who do wear it do so to make a political statement. She says they "want to challenge the limits of the Norwegian society."
- Then we must set the limits, she says to NRK.
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