Oslo: Disagreement between Jewish community and Islamic Council over religious racism report

Oslo: Disagreement between Jewish community and Islamic Council over religious racism report

A recent study mapping out religious racism in Oslo schools, grades 8-10, shows that Jews are harassed much more than other groups. 33.3% of Jewish students said they were harassed more than once a month because of their religion, compared with 9.9% of Buddhists and 5.3% of Muslims. The average was 3.5%.

62% of the students said that students called each other 'Jew' at their school. 51.5% said they heard the word 'Jew' used to describe something negative, 40.9% heard jokes about Jews, 35.2% said they heard negative comments about Jews, and 4.7% said they heard other students say that Jews weren't exterminated during WWII.

Comparing how Jews and Muslims are viewed: Muslims were viewed positively by 27.5%, neutrally by 48.3% and negatively by 15.6% of the students. Jews were viewed positively by 17.2%, neutrally by 40.7% and negatively by 33.7% of the students.

The entire report can be accessed here (in Norwegian). More info can be found at Norway, Israel and the Jews (here and here), The Foreigner, and Views and News from Norway.


Via Vårt Land (Norwegian)

Mehtab Afsar, general secretary of the Islamic Council of Norway, says that Muslim children experience harassment to a much greater degree.

"If there's a minority that is really given a hard time, it's the Muslims, and it's about time that harassment against Muslims be mapped out," he says.

Afsar emphasizes that antisemitism, Islamophobia, and general racism are destructive phenomenon that should be battled by everybody. "It's sad regardless of who is harassed, whether it's Jews, Muslims, Sami or gays," he says.

Anne Sender, former head of the Jewish community, wants Mehtab Afsar and the Islamic Council to do something about the attitudes towards Jews in their communities.

Afsar: I'm speaking generally about racism against minorities, which includes Sami and gays, while you are only concerned about yourselves and speak only of Jews. I think that isn't right.

Sender: For years we've worked together with you and against harassment of Muslims.

Ervin Kohn, current head of the Jewish community, and Anne Sender, say that the attitudes of Muslims explain a lot about the deterioration in anti-Jewish attitudes in general.

Kohn: More than half of the students in Oslo schools are Muslims. They come from Societies where antisemitism is widespread. They don't leave it at the border."

Sender says that Muslims receive their antisemitism with their mother's milk, but stresses that it's not only Muslims who harass Jews in Oslo schools.

Anne-Britt Gran, who's responsible for the report, thinks it's remarkable that antisemitism developed from zero to widespread in just a few years. She says it's encouraging that there's no corresponding Islamophobia.

"Muslims are at the same level as Swedes and Germans. It's positive from what one might expect after so much negative attention from such things as the Muhammed cartoons."

Q: Do you think harassment of Jews stands out as something special?

A: It's existed through history. Now it's a long time since the war, and things have happened in the Israel-Palestine conflict. But we must look more into it. We should really investigate a phenomenon that has gone from zero to 50%."


The muslimprosjektet (Muslim Project) blog writes that a while back he was visiting a Muslim family and was talking with the mother and 12-13 year old son. Out of nowhere, the mother said something about 'the Jews'.

Mother: You know, we Muslims hate the Jews.

He was shocked, but so was her son.

Son: What are you saying, mom!? We hate Jews? That's totally wrong! It's the state of Israel which is the problem, not the Jews as a people!

The mother thought about it and agreed: Yes, that's true. It's easy to forget that.