Oslo: Municipality teaches Muslims about Sharia law in the job-market

Oslo: Municipality teaches Muslims about Sharia law in the job-market

Translated from TV2 Nyhetene:

Since 2009, the city of Oslo offers courses for long-term unemployed Muslim adults who find it difficult to get a job due to conflicts with their religion. In 2009, 128 people participated in the qualifications course and 130 employees attended the 'work and Islam' day, special consultant Ole-Kristian Honerud of the Health and Welfare Department told tv2nyhetene.no. Honerud says they're thinking of focusing on mosques this year, since that way they're reach more people.

He says that their experience so far shows that some Muslims job-seekers think that they're not allowed to work in shops which sell pork or alcohol. Honerud adds that according to rukhsa [ed: special dispensations] Muslims are allowed to do things in non-Muslim countries that they aren't allowed to do in Muslim countries, such as selling pork.

Honerud says that those who are uncertain about this contact an imam they trusted, and that the problems start especially when the imam in question doesn't live in Norway and doesn't know the situation in Norway.

Therefore this year the Oslo municipality will focus on mosques and imams, to explain to them about the problems some Muslims have in finding a job. Honerud stresses that it's important that the imams in Norway realize how difficult it is for this group to get a job when they decide what is allowed or not.

According to the informative booklet prepared by the Oslo municipality there are three different fatwas regarding employment. The booklet says that it is very difficult to avoid selling pork and alcohol in Norwegian grocery stores.

During the one-day course, participants were challenged to think about where welfare come from. Welfare wouldn't be possible without taxes, and tax revenues come from all parts of Norwegian society - including the wine monopoly and discos - using the same reasoning people shouldn't accept welfare if they can't work in places where there's both halal and haram products.

The booklet states that since the job itself is halal, it's not a problem to work in shops even if they have departments selling alcohol or pork. In non-Muslim countries it's allowed by rukhsa, the municipality booklet states.

The project was started by the Oslo municipality after employees in several districts saw there was a problem with religion being used as an explanation for why one can't work.

In 2009 the course was held in Nordstrand, Grorud, Østensjø, Stovner and Sagene og Frogner. In 2010 the course head was on sick leave for the year.