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.