Norway: New proposals for integration

The Norwegian Progress Party (Frp) want to give every employer the right to forbid religious clothing and symbols at work. This is one of 62 new proposals that will sharpen the party's immigration and integration policy.

The proposal will affect for example employees who wear a turban or hijab.

Per-Willy Amundsen, integration politics spokesperson for Frp says this is because religious clothing prevent people from being hired and therefore prevents integration.

Among the other measures that Frp sees as improving integration is language testing for 4 year old and special education on equality for immigrant boys.

A committee has been working for 18 months on preparing the proposals, which tie integration to citizenship. People cannot become citizens without integrating.

Amundsen says they want to tie more benefits to being a Norwegian citizenship, economic as well as others. For example, the right to vote in local elections. Frp doesn't hide that with their policies fewer immigrants will be coming to Norway.

According to Amundsen the party wants people to keep the positive aspects of their own culture. People aren't being forced to eat Norwegian food, he says, but everybody must hold by the western values such as human rights, freedom of speech and equality. He say that integration should make clear what is acceptable, in addition to good training. He sees no problems with immigrants walking in May 17 (Norwegian National Day) processions with their national clothing, but carrying Norwegian flags.

AUF, the youth wing of the Norwegian Labor Party, is not impressed with Frp's arguments and thinks the proposals are expression of "election panic".

Martin Henriksen, AUF head, says that we won't get better integration by breaking human rights, locking people in closed immigration centers or denying citizenship to children who were born of Norwegian parents. He says it seems there are only two things Frp wants to do with non-Western immigrants: keep them out or hold them down.

The opposition parties do not support the proposals.

Bjørg Tørresdal, immigrant politics spokesperson for KrF (Christian Democratic Party), says it is sad that Frp creates a picture of immigrants as the problem when the reality is that Norway needs work-immigrants.

Source: Dagbladet (Norwegian)

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