One Mosque in Tromsø — One Church in Mecca

A reader in Norway sends this delightful news about a display of uncommon common sense by the Norwegian government, translated from VG Nett:

Norway refuses to allow mosque-building millions from Saudi Arabia

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre [also known as “bin Gahr Støre” since he caved in and hung a newspaper’s editor-in-chief out to dry and ran around apologizing during the Mohammed cartoon crisis — translator] has made a surprising about-face today.

The Saudi government and a rich private person want to build mosques for tens of millions in Norway. They have the full right to do so, according to Norwegian law. However, there is a clause in the law that the Norwegian government has to approve the financial support.

The Foreign Ministry does not just refuse to accept the mosque-building contributions. In an answer to Tawfiiq Islamic Center, the Ministry writes: “It would be a paradox and unnatural to accept funding from sources in a country where there is no religious freedom”.

“We could just have said no, by principle the Foreign ministry doesn’t approve such a thing. But when we were asked, we used the opportunity to add that an acceptance would be a paradox while its punishable in Saudi Arabia to establish a Christian congregation,” says Jonas Gahr Støre to VG.

Equal treatment

The state secretary Espen Barth Eide is visiting Saudi Arabia today, and will discuss the topic of financial support.

“I know many of my European colleagues have the same problem, and Norway will bring the issue up in the European Council,” says Støre.

Does this mean a limit may be put on the possibility of financial support for faith groups?”

“That will be a debate the government and council will have to take.”

The answer from the Foreign Ministry was given to Tawfiiq Islamic Center, but Støre also indicates that the Alnor group which wants to a build a giant mosque in Tromsø with support from a Saudi businessman will get the same reply.

Last week the newspaper Nordlys published a series of articles about Alnor with headlines such as “Muslim leader in Tromsø linked to terrorist network” and “Islamic fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia sponsoring mosque in Tromsø”. [Due to this newspaper’s excellent investigative journalism, the mayor and ruling parties of the city council in Tromsø have now switched from all being useful idiots to opponents of the mosque project, and want to stop it. — translator]

“Is it the Saudi strain of Islam, Wahhabism, that’s too controversial for Norway?”

“I have noticed that the Saudi version has a strict view on Islam, but I’m not making myself judge of what schools or versions of Islam establish themselves in Norway. We have freedom of religion. This is about what the laws are in the country that the money is coming from,” says Støre to VG.

The council of the Tawfiiq Islamic Center doesn’t want to discuss the case or comment, lawyer Shazad Nazir states on behalf of the group.

The translator adds:

In other news: The Norwegian Minister of Justice Knut Storberget announced yesterday that the ministry is targeting and working against “Islamic extremism” with the same methods used against neo-Nazi groups in the recent years. Meaning they will watch them for a bit, and if they show tendencies towards extremism, they will call them in, have a sit-down and basically in a school-principal sort of way say: “We see what you’re doing, and we don’t like it; shape up young man or else…” [Taking the example from the terror-planning case on Norwegian soil, the “else” part is to let them out of jail to walk free — with full social benefits, of course — and have the leftist media run story after story saying they’re not bad guys, just devout Muslims, you know, buying fully into the “I’m the victim!” part.]
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