Oslo: Muslim discriminated for religious reasons

Oslo: Muslim discriminated for religious reasons

A real estate agent in Oslo wanted to appraise an apartment. But when the owner found out that the agent was Muslim, he was clearly told by e-mail: 'Muslims are unwanted!'

Saqlain Qayum is a 26 year old Norwegian citizens who works as a real estate agent for the Eie company in Oslo.

Two weeks ago Qayum was supposed to appraise the apartment for a woman in the capital. After agreeing about a visit over the phone, he sent an email. Then the answer came from the woman that she didn't want an appraisal.

"For religious reasons I can't receive Muslims and others who don't keep to the Bible's teachings in my home, so as not to become an accomplice in the evils they do".

The young man has been working as a real estate agent for three years, but never experienced discrimination before.

"I was shocked and didn't manage to go to work for two days after the incident," says Qayum to TV 2 Nyhetene.

His boss, head of Norway's Real Estate Agents Association (MNEF), also responded sharply by e-mail.

"We decided to go on with the case to the Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman," says Christian Dreyer of MNEF.

The Norwegian-Pakistani agent thinks the hijab-debate created increased Islam-fear in society.

The Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman confirm they've received several reports from Muslims recently.

"We call on everybody to immediately report such cases to us. Whether it's discrimination in residence or the job market. Things like this are unacceptable," says Beate Gangås to TV 2 Nyhetene.

The Organization against Public Discrimination has also seen an increase in complaints from Muslims. they think a passive government should take some of the blame.

"We see a number of inquiries from young men in particular who experience aggression from the majority society. This became pronounced after the hijab debate," says deputy head Anity Rathore.

But despite the hateful e-mail, Saqlain Qayum has no plans to change jobs.

- Maybe you'll change religion and become Christian?

"No, I will never do that," answers the 26 year old.

Source: TV 2 Nyhetene (Norwegian)

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