Norway: Psychologists should consider using niqab

The niqab debate in Norway continues.  If nobody in Norway wears a niqab it might be futile to debate it, but banning it won't affect anybody either.


Professor Fanny Duckert thinks that in special situations psychologists should use a niqab, for better contact with their patients.

Duckert thinks students who want to become psychologists should have the ability to have 'respectful curiosity'.  She says that in very special cases psychologists can consider using a niqab to reach out.  She stresses that psychologists should only in extreme cases consider a niqab and that they should not integrate it as part of their ordinary working methods.

Duckert is head of the Psykologisk institutt at the University of Oslo.  She is strongly against forbidding the niqab at universities and colleges.  She thinks a legal ban would hinder dialog between the cultures.

Lars Gule, dean of the Oslo College of Art, caused a stir earlier this year when he suggested such a ban.  He was supported by Minister of Education Øystein Djupedal.

Gule and Duckert took part in a panel debate on a niqab ban at the University of Oslo.  Gule thinks it is wholly unlikely that Norwegian psychologists and teachers will be allowed to work with a niqab.  The students should therefore not wear the garment.

Gule thinks that those who wear the niqab transfer the weight of being masked to others in society.  He was dejected because he got much scolding and no support for the burqa ban from the others in the debate panel.

According to Gule all debates about religion and culture are squeezed into a context where the issue becomes if you are for or against immigration, and it is terribly sad.  He thinks the niqab debate is the mark of an enormous educational loss.

Two women who didn't want their names mentioned, got students to liven things up when they showed up in niqab during the panel debate.  They had signs saying "the niqab ban will hinder women rights to education and employment" and "the freedom to choose niqab, hijab or kebab"

One of the women criticized Gule for being undemocratic.  She disclosed that she did not usually wear the niqab but took the niqab because she didn't think she'll find real niqab wearers.  The protesters think that the almost total absence of niqab wearers in Norway illustrate how Gule construes problems which don't exist.

Source: Dagsavisen (Norwegian)

See also: Norway: Debate about the niqab , Norway: Minister suggests banning niqab in education

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