OK, so, I am sick & tired of this whole ridiculous hijab debate. But I still can't let it go. So today's post will be on that topic too. Just a few thoughts ... some things that I feel ought to be explained to a lot of people on the other side of the fence. Some things that IMO it's incredible that no one has already explained, loud and clear. A lot of the people in this debate - mostly Muslims - are using a number of arguments that have nothing to do with the issue. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, discrimination against minorities - those are not relevant points. But for some reason there is a major misunderstanding among a lot of immigrants ... or, OK, to be honest, among a lot of Muslims. There is something very vital about our society - the society that, in the majority of cases, these people have chosen to live in - that these people seem to entirely fail to understand. I guess that's partly our fault, because we haven't forced that understanding on them, as we IMO ought to do. There can be no discussion of the fact that immigration policies in this country so far have failed to a large extent, and IMO that has a lot to do with the fact that authorities here make too few demands of and too many excuses for immigrants. But I digress.
There was a letter to the editor in this morning's Aftenposten ... or at least I think it was this morning, it may have been yesterday, there were so many newspapers lying around the lunchroom today that I hardly know which issues I read :-) ... that illustrated this fact very well. It was written by a woman who is a Muslim, wears the hijab, and works in some job where she deals with a lot of people daily ... and who of course didn't experience this negatively at all. Oh no, no one ever reacts negatively to her hijab. This may be true of course, although unverifiable, but it's irrelevant other than as an example of the casuistry so commonly applied when these people make their 'arguments' in this debate. This person was in a profession with no uniform regulations - not irrelevant, IMO. She made the argument that of course the hijab must be permitted everywhere, because it's ... I'm quoting from memory here ... it behooves a civilized nation to take into consideration its citizens' religious needs.
This is where my point comes in - this is the point where the Muslim understanding of Norwegian society seems to break down. Which is really extremely sad, because this is an absolutely integral and essential part of that society. Namely, the following: That your average Norwegian does not recognize religious needs as legitimate.
You, a random citizen, may have religious beliefs. But that is not the business of the state. You may feel that you need to do things or have things or wear things as a result of your religious beliefs. But again, this is not the business of the state. These are your private affairs, and you yourself must be responsible for them. Your religious faith entitles you to nothing.
This is what these people seem to be unable to understand ... and it's what I see as the most dangerous thing about this debate. It's really an issue that ought not to be seriously discussed at all. Someone ought to have put their foot down and said, You people, get this through your heads ... metaphysical arguments have no place in our public discourse. We cannot accept this form of argument. We really cannot accept it. These are people who in all seriousness state that they have no choice but to give up their attempts to achieve their dreams because they must wear a certain garment or the invisible man in the sky will get mad at them. And this will be the state's fault. That is what they're saying. It is an entirely unacceptable argument and it's a huge mistake that this has not been made clear long ago.
Do you live in Norway? Then you live in the most secularized society in Europe. We laugh at your God, and we drop ice cubes down the vest of Faith. We don't get where you're coming from, and we don't care. You want to express your religious identity on my tax money?? No. STFU ... and take that thing off your head if you want the general public to think you mean that line about wanting to be integrated. Like it or not.
Some articles (all in Norwegian though): here, here and here. And a fantastic new blog - at least the two posts so far are fantastic - this guy says it exactly the way it needs to be said. In Norwegian. :-)
5 minutes ago