28 March 2017

Islamic Council Norway hires woman in niqab as administrative officer

Norwegian Muslim umbrella organisation Islamic Council Norway has been criticised for hiring a woman who wears the full face-covering niqab as a communications officer.

Minister for Culture Linda Hofsted Helleland called the move “extremely ill-advised” and members of other parties have also voiced their concern about the appointment.

The appointment of 32-year-old Leyla Hasic as an administrative consultant by Islamic Council Norway (Islamsk Råd Norge, IRN) comes soon after the Ministry of Culture (Kulturdepartementet) granted almost half a million kroner ($59,000) to help the organisation with initiatives aimed at improving dialogue between Muslim communities and the rest of society, reports news media Klassekampen.

But Minister for Culture Helleland wrote in a Facebook post that the appointment by the council would “create distance and less understanding”.

"Freedom of religion is strong in Norwegian society, and it will continue to be so. It therefore takes a lot for me, as minister of culture, to make statements about internal appointments in independent organisations such as Islamic Council Norway. But here it is important to take a stand!," wrote Helleland. [The Local] Read more