Islam overshadows integration in Norwegian debate

In a contribution to a debate in Norwegian Aftenposten, Editor and Media Researcher Knut Olav Åmås writes that ethnic and religious minorities in Norway are being categorized – and tend to categorize themselves – in terms of their religious or ethnic belonging.

Columnists of Muslim background feel forced to discuss religious issues and claim to be manouvered in to a defense position. Åmås also reports that many Muslims feel reluctant to parttake in debates in fear of threats.

Knut Olav Åmås notice two voices amongst Muslim-Pakistani immigrants. One that claims the debate in Norway is conflict-oriented and promotes strong views and posts. But there are also warnings of an victim mentality amongst Norwegian Muslims.

By Norwegian standards, the large Pakistani immigrant minority is generally successful and economically well integrated. But maybe, Åmås says, they play an unproportionally big role in media. This leads to a debate where the issue of integration is overshadowed by discussions about Islam. Åmås calls for voices of other religious and ethnic minorities in Norway.