Norway and Rapes: Ask imams to help

This year there have already been 16 attack rapes and rape attempts in Oslo. Thre men are suspected of four of the attack and they have one thing in common: they are of “foreign origin”. The man suspected of trying to rape three women last week was described as African (likely Somalian).

"There’s a need to work on prevention in the community that is overrepresented i the statistics. It best thing is if the immigrant community itself would put it on its agenda", says Rita Sletner. Formerly State Secretary of Justice and Police, she is now head of Voldtektsutvalget, an organization working to better the situation of rape victims and to get more reports of attacks.

Sletner points specifically to the imams. They are an important spokesperson in the immigrant community that can contribute constructively to the prevention work. "We can’t allow people to run aground because of political correctness," she says.

Fouzia Hashi, a member of Voldtektsutvalget, is originally from Somalia. She has lived in Norway 19 years. “I’ve seen that there are many immigrant rapists in the recent past and we must talk about it.” She says.

Statics from 2004 show that about 65% percent of rapists responsible for rapes and rape attempts in the Oslo district were not ethnic Norwegians. Among that foreign atacker the most were Iraqi and Somalians.

The analysis from 2005 and 2006 is not yet complete but show a similar tendency. According to police lawyer Anne Maria Haarr, who is a secretary at Voldtektsutvalget, an additional tendency is that rapists of foreign origin prefer the tendency is

Immigrants currently comprise 23% of Oslo’s population. They are also clearly overrepresented in the violence statistics.

"Regardless of cultural affiliation, rape is unacceptable. It must be clear and apparent to all that safety in the streets is part of Norwegian welfare" says Sletner.

Fouzia Hashi explains that in some cultures the woman is the one responsible for rape. It can be sufficient that she is out alone or dressed provocatively.

”Women are citizens, with the same rights as men. We must raise children to understand that.” She says.

- ”What with grownups?”

Hashi: ”We must inform Muslims here in Norway. For me, a Muslim, that is first the meetings in the mosques. Imams can influence their members, therefore the Norwegian government must have an open channel and dialog with the imams. Imams should be included in the solution to the problem.”

During the New Year’s holiday there were five rapes and rape attempts. Since it has hardly been a weekend in the capital without a woman being exposed to rape or attack. In only two of the cases suspects have been arrested. In all other cases, the attackers are still free.

”It is often difficult for the victim to identify the attacker, but there are many that interpret from that that these are people who are not established here” says Terje Kristiansen, head of the violence and vice department of the Oslo Police.

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

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