Norway: Eid service on TV

Norway: Eid service on TV

Norwegian broadcaster NRK will broadcast a Muslim sermon for the first time. The historic broadcast is from the Muslim Eid prayer at the Islamic Cultural Center mosque in Oslo and can be seen on NRK1 on Thursday and NRK2 on Friday.

This is happening more than a year after Dagbladet reported of NRK's decision to abolish the Christian monopoly and open up to sermons from other faiths.

"We worked one year at this project. This is certainly new material for us, but now we begin here and and there will be more eventually," says Helge Gudmundsen of NRK who was behind the project.

When Dagbladet reported abolishing NRK's Christian monopoly, Rolf Kjøde, general secretary of mission agency Normisjon, was critical, but Kristin Mile, general secretary of the Norwegian Humanist Association, thought it was about time. [ed: More accurately, she said there should be no preaching at all, but that if there's already preaching, it should not be only Christians doing it]

"We have only received positive reactions," says Gudmundson.

Q: Are there reactions now that the first program will be broadcast?

A: There might be some who don't want NRK to broadcast from other religions, but it will surprise me a bit, since I see that the recognition that we live in a multicultural society is becoming bigger," says Gudmundsen.

He thinks that broadcasting radio and TV sermons of different faiths can counteract prejudices and racism.

"It's about taking people seriously and conveying knowledge of what they believe in. Such a religion dialog increases understanding between us who live in a multicultural Norway," says Gudmundsen.

The Eid celebration is a prayer of gratitude, where Muslims thank Allah for his mercy. In many ways it's a sort of Christmas Eve, were they give each other presents and enjoy family company.

The NRK program will start with a report about Arslan F. Mohammed (34), who was born and grew up in Norway with parents from Pakistan and who tells why the Eid holiday is important to him.

Most of the hour-long prayer in the mosque will be broadcast with Norwegian subtitles. That will be the imam's sermon, but also something as rare as a sermon in Norwegian.

"This is an NRK program were we try to give the Muslim a face," says Helge Gudmundsen.

Source: Dagbladet (Norwegian)

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