Norway: Fighting the "un-culture"

Taxi fraud among Norwegian-Pakistanis provoked the director of the film "Izzat": many lack respect for Norwegian values. Not by chance, thinks Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen (34).

Rolfsen is half Pakistani and knows the taxi field well from his relatives. He has also good insight into the criminal gang environment in the capital. His film "Izzat" is an account of the intensive and violent gangs.

Rolfsen think that it is good to fight the tax fraud among Norwegian-Pakistanis. He thinks there is an 'un-culture' in that community.

"For them the system is there for exploiting. That is the only way you can survive in Pakistan. When it is so easy like it is in Norway that it is in Norway, you're seen as a fool if you don't take advantage of the opportunity. If a Norwegian-Pakistani is caught for 'black' work or tax fraud he's not judged morally for it. In the community people think: he had bad luck that he was caught".

Rolfsen thinks Norwegians have difficulty understanding these attitudes towards the state in Pakistan.

"The Pakistani come from a society where you absolutely can't depend on the state. The state is the villain there and it doesn't pay to be honest. Honesty can be highly dangerous. People can only trust the family. You employ people from the family, you get married with people from the family. Then they come here, to a land where the only thing you can't depend on is the family. We Norwegians have a steadfast belief that the welfare state will take our hand. But these groups mistrust everything that's called state system. Additionally, this is often passed on to the children, that they shouldn't depend on the system, but rather exploit it. With that we can never go forward".

He stresses that not all Norwegian-Pakistanis cheat.

The director is convinced that the integration problems will grow if Norwegian politicians don't get a hold on things. He is especially concerned that Norwegian Pakistanis marry almost exclusively Pakistanis from Gujrat district in the Punjab, the place from which a large part of the 30,000 Norwegian-Pakistanis hail.

"Un-culture is enforced with the import of spouses to Norway. Since almost all come from the same area, they constitute a pretty homogenized culture.

He shows again that the spouses that are brought to Norway, are connected only to the family Many never learn Norwegian. So they are never integrated and the negative attitudes to Norwegian values is continuously renewed.

"Adults can learn Norwegian values through long life, but their kids start at zero again with a spouse from Gujrat.

Rolfsen thinks it is also simple to understand why so few opt out of these circles by, for example, marrying a Norwegian.

"If you don't have another social network, you are completely alone. You are dead for your family and you have additionally brought dishonor to them."

He stresses that Norwegian Pakistani youth have no sanctuary in Oslo

"Everybody knows everybody and everybody gossips the whole the time. When something happens with a family in Norway, everybody in the community knows of it within minutes, even at home in Punjab. Think also that the taxi drivers and tram workers constitute intelligence people. The only places you can be pretty sure that you are not seen are the contemporary art museum and the opera. But, you pass for the janitor.

We must realize that the values from the Pakistani villages aren't compatible with ours. That's placing people from 250 year ago in today's Norway. It's not enough to just teach them Norwegian. We must put in energy to teach them the value of our values, such as human rights"

He stresses: "This is not racism. We must call a spade a spade. Another reason that I say this is that the Norwegian society has values that must be guarded."

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

See also: Norway: Better cooperation needed with Pakistan, Oslo: Pakistani taxi drivers over-represented in tax fraud case

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