Payan, whether deliberately or not, is helping the Islamic Council of Norway, which is a rather radical body, achieve official status as representing Norwegian Muslims.
Amir Payan, politician for the Socialist Left party and a Norwegian-Iranian, will lodge a complaint by the Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman against the Islamic Council since many Norwegian mosques separate men and women during prayer.
He says that Basim Ghozlan, head of the Islamic Association, said that the Koran doesn't say anything about whether men and women should be separated.
Payan, who sits on the Bergen city council, says that it's a very deliberate exclusion of women and that it's not allowed.
The Equality Ombudsman Ingeborg Grimsmo says that a religious community has a right to separate men and women if it's an established practice. They will talk with the Muslim communities and see whether it's a common practice.
General Secretary of the Islamic Council, Shoaib Sultan, describes Payan's action as "too dumb", and says that it shows a lack of understanding about both religion and religious freedom.
Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)