Norway: developing blood feud

News from Norway has been following up on a developing blood feud in Norway between two Afghani families. After one kid called the sister of another names, the families from both sides convened to fight it out.

"All of my closest family members have been arrested," one of the teenagers told the paper's web site "This is about my own and my family's honor."

It started with a violent quarrel outside a fast-food restaurant in Storgata (Main Street) in Lillestrøm on Friday evening. That culminated with one of the boys making indecent remarks about the other boy's sister.

On Saturday morning, representatives of both families reportedly agreed to take up the quarrel at 6pm at Nebbursvollen. Around 30 people using both knives and other weapons were involved in what developed into a massive street fight.

One person was killed and the killer and his family are now being threatened. Blood revenge laws require that if a person from one "family circle" is killed, somebody from the killer's "family circle" will be killed in response or blood ransom paid in lieu of it.

We’ve taken some precautions, but I don’t want to go into specifics. We just hope that the families will start to see reason, and solve this conflict by peaceful means says the police superintendent.

I don't think "hoping" or "precautions" will help here. This issue can be dealt with on various levels, but it must be dealt actively before any more bloodshed occurs, in order to prevent a blood feud. So, how to prevent it? As a first stage, force the families to come to a mutual agreement. Do not wait for them to do it on their own. Approach community leaders and demand that they take immediate steps. It is in the interests of the Afghani community in Norway to resolve this quickly. Make it clear that any continuation of the blood feud would result in terrible consequences for both families involved.

I had recently read a book about blood revenge, and it is interesting to note that external circumstances do affect the willingness of families to come to a compromise and to a resolution of the conflict. As long as there are no consquences, both families are off to a very hard time, and they'll be dragging their entire community and Norway in general with them.

In related news, Aftenposten brings an article about how Norwegian-Pakistanis applaud gang crackdown.

Hamid and Bashir are among those who are appalled by the criminal gangs that have been clashing in Oslo and other Norwegian cities lately. The two main "A" and "B" gangs are closely tied to the Pakistani community, the majority of which condemns their operations.

"The gangs are stamping all Pakistanis as negative," Hamid told newspaper Aftenposten. "I think it's sad every time I read about it. Pakistanis haven't come to Norway to commit crimes, but to work and get an education."

It's just a shame that a major Norwegian newspaper had to find two kids on the street to be the voice of the "majority which condemns gang violence". I'm sure there are many leaders and educators in the Pakistani community who feel the same and would speak out against the gangs, no?

The immigrant community, in this case both Afghani and Pakistani, must take a stand. They came to Norway to get a job and an education, but by doing so they accepted upon themselves Norwegian law. A law which does not recognize "honor" as an excuse for violence and bloodshed and a law which does not recognize blood feuds. I'm sure that many of those who immigrated to Norway, did so because they prefer living in such a country.

Sources: Aftenposten 1, 2 (English), News from Norway

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