Noted Homophobe Named Norway's "Role Model of the Year"

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 14, 2010 3:53 PM GMT
    http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/12/noted-homophobe-named-norways

    From the article:
    "Hassan told the newspaper Arbeidets Rett that he wants a ban on homosexuality, based on the Koran." Does he support the death penalty for gays? That's "up to each individual country to decide."
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 14, 2010 6:31 PM GMT
    A few things to clarify (though yes, this was / is an embarrassment for the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion):

    • while the Ministry bestowed the award, the jury that decided who would receive the award consisted of four non-governmental organizations; the Ministry itself did not decide who would receive the award
    • neither the Ministry nor, the Ministry suspects, the jury was aware of Mahdi's attitudes toward homosexuality and LGBTQ persons at the time of the bestowal of the award; if they had, they would not have bestowed it on him, regardless of his work with integration and immigrant youth
    • while the head of the local Socialist Left party of Tynset municipality simply supported Mahdi's right to his opinions (a kind of cowardly way out), the national Socialist Left party has condemned Mahdi's attitudes and clearly states that they are not attitudes the party supports

    Source: Gaysir

    As for the Reason article, it has its own garbage with which to contend. This award is not evidence that religious fundamentalism is not on the rise in Norway; rather, it's evidence of some of the difficulties tolerance brings with it due to the complexity of human beings (such as being able to be a discriminated minority and yet oneself actively work toward the discrimination of other minorities). The Norwegian Socialist Left party struggles with this as it is one of the most immigrant-friendly parties, with some members believing that support for immigrants must include a blanket immunity from criticism regarding attitudes and actions (some times out of fear of being deemed "racist").

    As for its snide remarks regarding the Ministry itself and "Big Brother," they showcase more of the problems facing US "libertarians" and their dependence on "reason" over active efforts to bring about the equality and inclusion libertarians so often take for granted.
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    Mar 14, 2010 8:44 PM GMT
    good points nick, but i wouldn't let the guy off the hook too quick -- he's not just anti-gay for reasons of personal religious belief, he activily wants to outlaw homosexuality (presumably for all norwegians, not just muslims) and is open to the death penalty -- which norway doesnt even have!

    thats not the kinda dude who should get a prize...

    also, in light of the recent flareup of the the cartoon story (jihad jane, etc) i think it's appropriate to call out further instances of scandinavian apologists for religous extremism...


  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 14, 2010 9:23 PM GMT
    evilgemini saidgood points nick, but i wouldn't let the guy off the hook too quick -- he's not just anti-gay for reasons of personal religious belief, he activily wants to outlaw homosexuality (presumably for all norwegians, not just muslims) and is open to the death penalty -- which norway doesnt even have!

    thats not the kinda dude who should get a prize...

    also, in light of the recent flareup of the the cartoon story (jihad jane, etc) i think it's appropriate to call out further instances of scandinavian apologists for religous extremism...

    I didn't aim to defend Mahdi, but to share the explanation the Ministry itself offered in response to learning about Mahdi's anti-homosexual bigotry after giving him the award.

    I don't think he should have received a "Role Model of the Year" award either. His explicit anti-LGB bigotry ensures that he is not only not an advocate for LGB youth, but part of the oppression against them; he supports some discriminated youths, yet discriminates against the most vulnerable.

    Which Scandinavian religious extremist apologists are you thinking about, beyond the municipal party leader? My annoyance was with the idea that religious fundamentalism is on the rise in Norway (Sweden is another matter, though the fundamentalism there seems to be more of an increase in anti-Semitism). What we instead have is the conflict that seems inherent to tolerance: should we tolerate the intolerant or should we confront them on the basis of their intolerance?

    We had a bigger brouhaha the other year when Fritt Ord, an organization ostensibly dedicated to freedom of expression and the promotion of courageous speakers, gave its annual award to Nina Karin Monsen for her willingness (her "courage") to go against the tide and speak up against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Fritt Ord, like the municipal party leader, took the stand that our celebration of the freedom of expression should be unbiased and celebrate all expression just about regardless of content (or so I read them).

    I disagree with their assertion as not all expression is really worthwhile or worth celebrating. I see no reason to celebrate social regression or expressions supporting social regression; I do not wish to ban such expressions, but that does not mean that I must embrace them either.
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    Mar 15, 2010 12:30 AM GMT
    Sloppiness is pernicious. So is not withdrawing an honor from someone who doesn't deserve it. This is exactly the kind of elision/groupthink that Northern Europe is famous for, with such disastrous and murderous consequences for Jews, gypsies and homosexuals.

    Any country that was controlled by Nazis has a special obligation to speak out against intolerance. A country that stood by, if not encouraged, the murder or deportation of half its Jewish population should do better than this, no matter what its apologists say.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 15, 2010 3:15 AM GMT
    NNJfitandbi saidSloppiness is pernicious. So is not withdrawing an honor from someone who doesn't deserve it. This is exactly the kind of elision/groupthink that Northern Europe is famous for, with such disastrous and murderous consequences for Jews, gypsies and homosexuals.

    Any country that was controlled by Nazis has a special obligation to speak out against intolerance. A country that stood by, if not encouraged, the murder or deportation of half its Jewish population should do better than this, no matter what its apologists say.

    I don't know if it's necessarily particular to Northern Europe, though Norway certainly has a combination of small poppy syndrome (Janteloven) and an unwillingness to assertively confront a source of disagreement, a kind of desire to find commonality and work off from it. A semi-example of this was when the Norwegian Minister of Development brought up LGB rights with the Malawi government (I started a thread with article link here). The failure to withdraw Mahdi's award also comes under this, an unwillingness to correct mistakes (a failure we also see prominently in the US with the unwillingness to prosecute the crimes and misdemeanors with the Bush administration) and an insistence on moving on; a problem in this case is that Mahdi has, apparently, done lots of commendable work for immigrant children in Norway and retracting his award could reek of cultural imperialism (with which many people do not want to be associated).

    Norway's obligations toward liberal and inclusive values should themselves set the foundation for arguing against Mahdi's and others' intolerance.

    With regards to Nazism though, many other countries took part in that anti-Semitic group-think you're referring to (the UK, the US, and more). Do you, for example, believe Poland (which was occupied by German Nazis and then Russian Soviets) has a special obligation to speak against intolerance? I'm also curious about your assertion that Norway "stood by, if not encouraged" the sending of Jews, gypsies, and LGB persons to the concentration camps; are you referring to pre-Quisling Norway or to the Norway under his Nazi-imposed rulership?
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 15, 2010 3:27 AM GMT
    Here's an appropriate Bill Maher clip:



    And another one:

  • shutoman

    Posts: 505

    Mar 16, 2010 7:13 PM GMT
    Any country that was controlled by Nazis has a special obligation to speak out against intolerance.

    NNJfitandbi if you haven't studied the history of the Norwegian resistance to German occupation and the astonishing heroism of the overwhelming bulk of the population then, I'm afraid, the sloppiness lies with you and you owe an abject and unqualified apology to some people on this site.