Here’s a nasty piece of news. One that as far as I can tell has had zero attention in Anglophone newsmedia or blogs.
I’ve written to Azam and Homa and Maryam about it, and to Nick Cohen. Let’s hope it stops being a story in Norway and nowhere else.
Samira Munir, Norwegian politician of Pakistani origins, died two weeks ago. All the details surrounding her death have not been revealed, but the police have hinted that it may have been suicide. It is not impossible that this could be the case, but she had received death threats many times from the Pakistani community in Norway because of her courageous fight for the rights of Muslim immigrant women, and for banning hijab, the Islamic veil. Regardless of what caused her death, it is a fact that she received far too little support from Norwegian authorities and even her own party, who were afraid that her outspoken defence of women’s rights could cost them Muslim votes and damage the country’s glossy, Multicultural self-image. Her death thus puts this country to shame. She was a brave woman, and will be missed.
An English version of Aftenposten had this article in March 2004.
A member of Oslo’s City Council who was born in Pakistan but now holds Norwegian citizenship has twice been called to Pakistan’s local embassy. Both times, Pakistan’s ambassador to Norway questioned her political standpoints, and now Norway’s foreign minister Jan Petersen has been told that she felt pressured…The calls from Pakistan’s embassy came after Munir became the first known Muslim woman in Norway to support a proposed ban on the use of head scarves and other religious symbols for youth. She then became a target of criticism within the local Pakistani community. She declined to comment on the issue after receiving several anonymous and bothersome phone calls.
And now she’s dead – after an encounter with a train.