EDITORIAL: Norway is out in the world again, setting the agenda over religious freedom this time. But while the cat is away abroad, it is being bundled into the bag and dumped out of its Norwegian home.
Labour (Ap) Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has gone to Cairo to talk persecuted religious minorities.
Aided by universal human rights, Norway’s embassies, international forums and religious freedom supervisors, amongst others, officials want to report about and help oppressed minority ethnicities, sexualities, and faiths – including Christians.
From a commonly agreed-upon western democratic point of view, this grand initiative is to be commended, both in a geo-political and humanitarian context. Foreigners of all ilks and interpretations are being given some sort of voice and representation.
Nonetheless, whilst the international attention abounds and the applause rounds, what of the domestic case of Afghan Christian convert Ali Mosavi and the Directorate of Immigration’s (UDI) faith in his religious conviction?
Mr Mosavi has lived in Norway for about eight years and has been baptized. The UDI accepted his conversion as genuine in 2008.
The waters were calm until he got married to an Afghan Muslim woman in what he says was a wedding in a private house in Pakistan.
Applying for family reunification two years later to allow his wife to live with him in Norway, his residence permit was revoked, however.
Officials no longer believed his conversion. They alleged the marriage ceremony was a Muslim one, also citing that a Muslim woman in Afghanistan cannot get married to a Christian.
Norway does not send Christians back to Afghanistan because they risk persecution. Mr Mosavi faces deportation there if he cannot convince bureaucrats of his religious conviction.
In a 21st Century social democracy, a The Foreigner reader has asked why this reminds her of “the Inquisition in Spain in 700 AD? The amazing thing is that this is Norway!”
Jonas Gahr Støre is travelling as international judge; Mr Mosavi is waiting for the Oslo District Court judgement.
The Foreign Minister should practise what he preaches.
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