It emerged today that the largest Islamic organisation in Norway, Islamsk Råd Norge, IRN (Islamic Council of Norway), has chosen to front the organisation with Leyla Hasic, who wears a niqab. She has been hired to "drive communication efforts and build bridges to the larger society."
Now even the most liberal react.
In an editorial in Norway's large mainstream liberal newspaper ]VG, IRN gets an unusual hard round between the ropes. One almost suspects the newspaper of liking Le Pen, as it's more or less the same rhetoric for once. One must of course have a little sympathy for the newspaper. The disappointment and betrayal, as the organisation reveals that it is in fact an Islamic organisation with Islamic core values, which collide head on with the moderate cultural integration success the newspaper has helped portray the organisation as for years. Others, who saw and warned about this exact development years ago, have been called names and held down. But now it's all falling apart for VG, and the rest of the mainstream media, who have gone apeshit over this today. Because this organisation is the mothership for mosques and Sunni Muslims in the kingdom, and also the one behind the lucrative halal certification scheme, which is big business in Norway. The newspaper writes:
"When the Islamic Council chooses to front the only woman on staff behind a veil, it is a deliberate provocation.
We hope that most of the mosques and the groups affiliated with the Islamic Council of Norway, put pressure on the male-dominated management to get them to understand what country and century they find themselves in.
The Islamic Council of Norway has appointed Leyla Hasic to engage in communication activities and IT operations. Hasic is the only woman in the organization's staff. Unlike her male counterparts, she is tucked away behind a veil, called a "niqab."
That a Communications Assistant is hiding in such a way has its comical aspect, almost like a sketch by the British comedy group Monty Python. We need hardly repeat all the arguments that can be argued against the use of nikab, it is a barbaric idea to to hide women from men's sight, it signals the total lack of courtesy and transparency not to meet the surroundings with a visible face, it is a further contribution to the anonymity of the public, which unfortunately has been a feature of sectarian groups in recent years.
In this case it is not niqab and what it represents in itself that is the worst, but the totally deliberate choice the Islamic Council of Norway choose by this employment. By hiding the only woman on staff behind a veil, the organization shows a contempt for all the work that has been done in recent years to promote understanding, dialogue and respect between Norwegian Muslims and the Norwegian society. It is a deliberate provocation by an organization that once played an important role in this work, but that in recent years under its current leadership unfortunately has had a negative development.
There are only two groups who may find joy we this. Reactionary and fundamentalist religious forces who want a society where a woman is a man's property and not able to appear in public. And extremist anti-Muslim groups who takes this as further proof that Islam can not be integrated into modern society. We hope that most of the mosques and the groups affiliated with the Islamic Council of Norway see the destructive role the organization is in the process of adopting, and put pressure on the male-dominated management to get them to understand what country and century they find themselves in."
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