A European blog has translated a Norwegian newspaper article discussing the failure of a Norwegian Muslim Brotherhood organization to reject the death sentence for homosexuals. According to the translated article:
“It’s of course completely unacceptable not to reject the death sentence for homosexuals. To take up this debate now is important, not least of consideration to young homosexual Muslim who struggle with their own identity,” says the Children and Equality minister Anniken Huitfeldt to Dagsavisen. The minister is sending a strong signal to the heads of the Islamic Council of Norway that they must distance themselves from the death sentence for homosexuals. Huitfeldt’s party colleague, parliament member Thomas Breen of the justice committee, demands to stop all state financial support to the Islamic council. “There have been enough opportunities for the Islamic Council to enter the homosexuality debate. Now it’s time that the state stand up for some values and remove all financial support from the organization till they distance themselves,” says Breen. The Islamic Council of Norway says they’re waiting for the European Fatwa Council to rule on the question. The council, which met three weeks ago in Paris, didn’t deal with the issue. The Islamic Council is an umbrella organization for Islamic faith societies and organization in Norway, and is led by Senaid Kobilica. “I have noticed that the head of the Islamic council himself is against the death sentence for homosexuals. This shows they’re going in the right direction. I hope that the Islamic Council therefore acts as an instigator for homosexual’s standing in Islam and towards the European Fatwa Council,” says Huitfeldt. Thomas Breen stresses that the Islamic Council does an important job for many Muslims in Norway and that he first and foremost wants a debate about the homosexuality issue with the Islamic Council. “I can understand that the homosexuality issue is difficult, but I don’t accept that the Islamic Council can’t reject the death sentence which conflicts with basic human rights,” says Breen.
An earlier post provided extensive background to this issue identifying both the Muslim Brotherhood ties of the Islamic Council of Norway and the role of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who has called for the death penalty for homosexuals. This post also raised the issue of the dilemma facing the Islamic Council as it decides whether to contradict the opinions of Qaradawi or risk a major public relations setback for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.
The newspaper goes on to discuss the controversy over State funding of the Islamic Council of Norway given its position on the issue:
The Culture and Church minister Trond Giske decided last year that the Islamic Council will get half a million kroner in state support. Parliamentary Secretary in the Culture and Church ministry, Wegard Harsvik, says that they understand the impatience with the Islamic Council but they don’t tie financial support to what a faith society or an association of faith societies, like the Islamic Council, think. He rejects the possibility of using economic sanctions against the Islamic Council. Former Children and Equality Minister Karita Bekkemellem was in her time in the cabinet very clear that the government shouldn’t support organization who carry on with what she thinks is clear discrimination and breaking the law. Bekkemellem says that it’s a misunderstood tolerance from the state’s side, and uses the society’s money to support opinions which conflict with Norwegian and European principles of justice. Therefore all state support should be immediately stopped. She thinks the Islamic Council, but not taking a clear standpoint, are trying to pander to the more extreme powers internally and in the Norwegian Muslim community. “Why haven’t they immediately rejected it?” she asks.