Norway: Muslim tricked into drinking alcohol, then arrested for drunk driving

What started as a bad joke ended up badly for a 23 year old Muslim man from Moss, Norway.

In a company party in Sept, 2007, he experienced his life's nightmare. The deaf man was sitting at the table with his immediate boss. They managed to communicate in a good way and had a good relationship of trust. The man, a practicing Muslim, was uncertain of what he could eat and drink at the party. He asked his boss, who gave him a bottle marked plum-wine.

The man drunk a lot from the bottle and helped himself to the buffet, after he had made sure with the boss that he wasn't eating pork.

During the evening the man noticed that more and more people were starting to point and laugh at him. The reason was that the boss had tricked the man to drink alcohol and eat pork. The man got upset and got into his car to drive home.

On the way home he began feeling bad and thought it was because he had eaten pork. An attendant at a gas station saw the man's conduct and called the police. A breath analyzer test showed he had blood alcohol content level of 0.096%. [the law allows driving with up to 0.02%]

During his court case, his boss confirmed the story. The young man lost his job as a result of the episode. However he is still friends with his (former) boss, who is fighting for him to get his job back, and had meanwhile given him a good recommendation.

The judges in Moss concluded this week that even though the 23 year old didn't drink alcohol of his free will, he should have made sure that what he drank was safe. Even if he had never drank alcohol before, he should have noticed the taste of the plum-wine and found out before he drank it.

He was sentenced to 16 days conditional jail time and 5,000 kroner in fines. Additionally, his driving license was taken away for six months.

The man's company, Fretex, part of the Norwegian Salvation Army, was very concerned to hear about the story. The company boss in Moss was on holiday, but Eivind Madsen, from Fretex Øst-Norge was interviewed saying that this was a private party, since alcohol is banned at company events, and the man was not fired from a permanent position, as Madsen would have had to approve it.

Fretex says they are looking into the story. On their website they say they are taking the story very seriously. they also add that the man was tricked by a colleague, not by one of the bosses.

The man's lawyer, Per-Markus Grundesen, says his client had trouble getting into the job market, due to his deafness. This was his first regular job.

SOS Rasisme in Moss planned to protest outside the company offices.

Sources: Moss Dagblad, Dagbladet, Fretex (Norwegian)


Anonymous said...

This is about a dysfunctional Norwegian legal system and irresponsible practical jokers. Religion is irrelevant to the issue.

Esther said...

Hi Chalons,

I think that is true for most issues.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Chalons, it's more than that. Tricking a disabled man into breaking his religious obligations and laughing at him is not an "irresponsible practical joke". It is deeply un-humane and cruel. Meanwhile the victim is fined and looses his job while apparently those responsible suffer nothing. Leaving the Islam/Anti-Islam aspect to one side the story (if correctly reported) is sickening.

Anonymous said...

If the story is true it is despicable. But could it be that he had a bit too much to drink. got caught then thought of this way to get out of it. The story has changed from his boss to a colleague. And if the story is true why was he sacked and not the person who spiked his drink.

Anonymous said...

Just reread the story. He had an alcohol level of .96%. Is that a misprint. He would not have been standing let alone driving with that amount.

Esther said...

Hi anonymous,

Indeed it is a misprint. It should have been 0.096%. I'll fix it in the article as well.

In Norway the legal limit is 0.02%.