With Muslims in the role of needy victims and Norwegians as heroic benefactors
March 14, 2010 7 Comments
Though immigration and integration have become major points of contention in Europe, they weren’t even open for discussion when I was first living in Oslo. On these topics, the “one idea” of the “one-idea state” was clear: Muslims in Europe were a colorful and enriching asset – period. In Norway, the expression on everyone’s lips was “fargerik felleskap” – “colorful community”. On the rare occasions when immigrants were mentioned on TV or in the press, you could be sure these words would figure prominently. Norwegian journalists, professors, and politicians loved to use the term. But from the beginning, I found it offensive. Its fixation on the skin color mocked Martin Luther King’s dream of a color-blind society, and its reduction of immigrants to their most superficial aspect turned them into mere window-dressing – an outward sign of ethnic Norwegians’ inner virtue. Often, hearing and reading comments on immigration by Norwegian establishment types, I nearly gasped at their grotesque condescension, their inability to see immigrants as individuals, and their view of the whole business as a morality play; with Muslims in the role of needy victims and Norwegians as heroic benefactors.
– Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept