She's not a Muslim, but people assume she is.
Lene Langemyr is city council secretary for FTP on environment, communication and traffic. She's been adopted from India and grew up in Grimstad, a Norwegian like any other. Radio Norway reports that now she demands to a stop to the increasing discrimination characterized by Muslim men.
Langemyr tells of unpleasant experiences in shops, in the city and in taxis and says that most are not for print. The men comment on everything from her choice of food like ham and bacon, to the length of her summer dress to more intriguing offers.
"these men harass me most coarsely, when they think I'm an immigrant." She says her "Norwegian" behavior crashes with her perception as a good Muslim woman. "They don't understand that I'm Norwegian and not a Muslim."
Q: Is it just men from South Asia who practice this lack of respect?
A: Well, it's men from Muslim countries.
Langemyr also says that she specifically avoids certain parts of oslo. "I was once out in Grønland and never more, since I was met by a series of dark skinned men with very discriminating sentences." She avoids Holmlia and other areas with large concentrations of immigrants.
"When I know which insulting and male chauvinistic comments await, in any case I don't need to go for it myself," she tells Nettavisen.
Q: do you feel imprisoned in your own city.
A: Yes, very clearly, and it shouldn't be like this.
Q: When and were began this type of harassment against you?
A: When I moved to Oslo, in 2002. I never experienced such condescending attitudes in any other Norwegian city.
Langemyr knows other adopted girls with similar experiences. "They confirm that I'm not an exception."
The young politician calls for an immigration stop. "Now we must concentrate on those who are already here."
Q: Which concrete proposal do you have?
A: We should teach them what is acceptable behavior and what isn't here in Norway.
To the radio she told that the harassment is worst in the summer, when everybody walks about in shorts and dresses.
She also criticizes immigrant men of their treatment of their own women. "These men have an attitude towards women that is totally distorted, they show that certainly with this lack of respect as is shown towards me."
She pities the many immigrant women who must live under such sexually discriminating regime. "I would like to be a fly on the walls by some of the Muslim families here in Oslo, since it must be a terrible culture to live."
Nettavisen has spoken with AP politician Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim man of Pakistani background, and he thinks that Langemyr's experiences are special case.
He says he likes to meet up with Lene, that she's a good colleague and that they like to joke together. But he's never heard her talk about this problem before.
He says that many immigrant women, even Muslim girls, also dress in modern and tempting fashion, and that Langemyr stigmatizes Muslims in her interview.
"She must live in a different world, or it must be a misunderstanding. Norway today is a multicultural society and the FRP must understand this." He thinks this represents the typical FRP way of dealing with things.
"Islam is based on equality between men and women. This behavior doesn't have a basis in Islam."
"This is reprehensible," thinks Afzal Khokar (33) and Ramiz Razzak (20), both Muslims of Pakistani origin. "How can she know that the people who practice such treatment are Muslims? Even if they are dark skinned it doesn't follow that they are Muslims."
The two think that she's doing the same thing back, she's generalizing about all Muslims. They don't know of such cases, "But this has happened to Lene Langemyr we think it's a sin." Both decide to send her a card, as a sing of respect.
"Bullying is a general problem, regardless of which form it has, it shouldn't be acceptable," they think.
Fredrik Nordby, head of the administration forum tells Nettavisen that she's worked nine years in adoption and has 20 years of background with child welfare. He has never met with such problems in the past, but he knows that there exists all types of racism and discrimination. Adopted children can be vulnerable to different types of harassment, based on their appearance. they often think of themselves as 100% Norwegian, but look like they're from abroad, he says, "but acceptance is different in Norway then it was several years ago and we see a positive development."
Sources: Nettavisen 1, 2 (Norwegian)
See also: Lancashire: Female Muslim councillor harassed by Muslim men, Norway: You're Muslim, aren't you?