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Party fears 'Islamisation' of Norway

Party fears 'Islamisation' of Norway

Author: AFP
Publication: Dawn
Date: February 6, 2009
URL: http://www.dawn.com/2009/02/06/int8.htm

Norway's leading opposition Progress Party slammed on Thursday what it termed the "gradual Islamisation" of the country after an order allowing policewomen to wear the Islamic head scarf if they so wished.

"We've hit bottom. Once again, we see an example of Norway and Norwegian society caving to the special demands of Muslims," the populist party's spokesman on immigration issues, Per Willy Amundsen, said in an interview with a television channel.

"Sector by sector, Norway is adapting to Muslims instead of Muslims adapting to a country in which they, after all, have chosen to live of their own free will. I call that a gradual Islamisation of Norway," he said.

On Wednesday Norway's centre-left government announced that it would allow female police officers to wear the hijab if they wish.

"After advice from the police directorate, it has been decided that rules on police uniforms will be modified to allow for the wearing of a religious scarf with the uniform," the justice ministry said in a statement.

The police directorate said it was in favour of permitting the scarf to be worn with the uniform in order to improve the possibility of recruiting in Norway's Muslim community.

"We think it's necessary to recruit widely and to develop a police force which reflects all classes in society, regardless of beliefs and ethnicity, which is more important than demanding a neutral uniform," wrote police chief Ingelin Killengreen.

Several other European countries, including Sweden and Britain, have already allowed the wearing of religious headgear by their police officers.

The Progress Party, which currently holds 38 seats in parliament out of 169, is posing a serious threat to the left-wing coalition in power in the lead-up to general elections in September.


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