Oslo, the capital of Norway, has a sizable Muslim population. Not all of these Muslims are equally sympathetically inclined to Jews. Yesterday Aftenposten Aften could tell us that muslims must be tricked into visiting Jewish institutions, and that the Muslim students cannot tell their students about it afterwards.
The article in Aftenposten Aften (the evening edition) is penned by Andreas Slettholm and titled “Muslims must be tricked to visit Jewish museum“.
Muslim students can’t tell their parents their school has been to the Synagogue.
Teachers abstain from informing on visits to the Jewish Museum, fearing parents will withdraw their children from school.
“Being here is very exciting and somewhat sad. The Jews in Norway has not always been in an easy situation”, says Torunn Jolstad (18).
With school friends Nadia Mathisen and Maria Blakstad she receives a unique insight in the history of the Jews in Norway. At the museum, in Calmeyer’s street in Oslo, everything from war history to Kosher rules is to be fond underneath one roof.
Are withheld from school
Not everyone who visits are as friendly minded as the students from Arendal visiting, as Aften is present. This is because of the fact children visiting a museum of Jewish life and culture is not popular with some Muslim groups.
“We are told of teachers choosing not to tell students and parents about visiting the museum, because some children will be withheld from school. Some Muslim students visiting tell of not being able to tell of where they have been when returning home, Lars Tangestuen, historian at the museum, tells.
Teachers protecting the students
He is concerned over such attitudes seemingly having fertile soil in Norway.
“We do not know what is being said about Jews in these homes. We are aware of “Jew” being a depreciating term in schools in Oslo, and anti-Semite content in children’s television downloaded by satellite in Norway”, Tangestuen says.
The Jewish congregation in Oslo recognizes the stories told by the museum.
“Sometimes, students tell us of not daring to their tell parents where they have been, and of teachers protecting them. Some boys have trouble wearing a kippa in the synagogue, as tradition demands. However, most meeting with Muslims are positive”, Anne Sender of the Mosaic congregation states,
At the Holocaust Center, reactions are forthcoming on the stories from the Jewish institutions.
“This is concerning. We need to overcome this murkiness”, says Katusha Otter Nilsen, the leader of the educational department of the center.
She hopes the promised mapping of anti-Semitism in schools in Oslo may reveal the extent of and give knowledge about these attitudes. Sender has the opinion anti-Semitism is to a great degree a question of generations, as the young seemingly are more positive towards Jews than parents.
“The existence of anti-Semitism in Oslo is a genuine fact. We have a job to do, then such visits are a necessity”, Sender says.
Tangestuen also confirm the museum mainly have positive experiences after visits by Muslim students.
“They often recognize themselves when it comes to rules for living and food related rules, and in the history of being a minority and an immigrant”. Tangestuen says.
Teachers cannot differentiate
Tangestuen says there obviously are different environs harboring anti-Semite attitudes independent on the situation in the Middle East, some of the problem; however is a lacking ability to differentiate between the state of Israel and Jews as an ethnic and religious group
“This is not necessarily about students. At the time of the Gaza war a teacher in social sciences told us a visit to the museum was not to become a reality for as long as the Israelis bombed the Palestinians. When not even a teacher in social sciences can differentiate between Norwegian-Jewish history and the state of Israel, how can we expect students to”, says Tangestuen.