Monday, December 05, 2005

Samira Munir - Champion for Muslim Women

Samira Munir, Norwegian politician of Pakistani origins, died on November 14, 2005. 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. The website of Human Rights Service brought the shocking news that Samira had died under circumstances which still seem mysterious. Officially, she was killed by a train at Kolbotn station, one of the suburban lines outside Oslo. However, there has been quite a lot of speculation unofficially that the details surrounding her death don't add up, and that she may have been killed or even was dead before she was hit by the train.

Muslim men go to great lengths in Western European nations to control their women from outside influence and signs of independence. In Denmark recently, a number of taxi drivers with immigrant backgrounds were spying on female immigrants who were hiding from their families. Taxi drivers using mobile phones are photographing females, who are seeking asylum in crisis centres, and their whereabouts are being sent onto their families. A group of Taxi drivers informed a Pakistani man recently, who was looking for his sister, where she could be found. The man murdered his sister outside Slagelse train station because she had married a man from Afghanistan against her families orders. Samira Munir invoked the wrath of very powerful people with her fight against the veil and for the liberty of Muslim women. A Pakistani by birth, she was even threatened by Pakistani authorities and Pakistan's ambassador to Norway on several occasions.

Munir received many death threats against herself and her family because of her work as a champion of the rights of Muslim immigrant women. In an interview earlier this year, she claimed to receive threatening phone calls on an almost daily basis, and that Muslim men would stop her in the streets, intimidating her and threatening to kill her. She told that Muslim girls who refuse to wear the veil are seen as whores. She also claimed that there was widespread cooperation between the Socialist parties and Muslim communities during this year's elections in Norway. "The heads of families and the mosques would decide how entire groups of immigrants would vote. They made deals such as "How much money will we get if we get our people to vote for you?", and the deals were always made with the Socialist parties" said Munir, who was a local politician and a member of the city council in Oslo.

But Munir's own party, the Conservatives, were far from blameless in courting Muslims. Even as she lived with death threats for her fight to ban the veil, her own party leader managed to pass a law that would make any opposition to the veil "discriminatory" and illegal and that those accused of discrimination have to mount proof of their own innocence. Former Cabinet minister and leader of the Conservatives Erna Solberg, who has earlier called for the establishment of a sharia council in Norway, proposed the new act. In a recent case, a local furniture store wouldn't allow a female employee to wear a head scarf, arguing that it violated the store's dress code. Solberg argued that existing law already made it illegal for employers, for example, to prevent women from wearing head scarves if their religion calls for it. Her new law "would make this even more clear."

Samira Munir thus received no support whatsoever from her party in her struggle for the rights of Muslim immigrant women. Quite the contrary, one of her party colleagues, a Muslim, threatened her with a lawsuit for some of her statements. Her proposals to improve the conditions for Muslim women in Norway were continuously sabotaged and backstabbed by the rest of the party. She spoke about how Muslim girls who in public said they wore hijab of their own free will in private confided in her that they were being forced to do so, and urged her to carry on being a voice for those who had neither the possibility nor the courage to speak for themselves.

There are many uncertainties about Samira’s tragic death. But even if it was a suicide it does not add up. A healthy 42-year-old woman and the mother of two does not just jump in front of a train for no reason. As a matter of fact there has to be a very good reason. If that is what actually happened we will probably never know the true reason in detail, but a few facts we do know. We know that both she and her family were being harassed and received death threats, and we know she was being very concerned about the development of the Muslim immigrant community in Norway, which is becoming ever more radical and extremist. The pressure against her, and the bleak outlook for the future can surely be enough to drive a person to commit suicide, and the lack of support from within the Conservative party most certainly did not make it any better. So even if the final act was one of her own choosing her blood remains on the hands of Norwegian Muslims and their appeasers on both sides of the political spectrum.

Perhaps the real question isn't whether Samira Munir was pushed in front of that train, but whether she was pushed physically or just mentally. The night before she died, Samira Munir had expressed great satisfaction on Norwegian radio with the European Court of Human Rights upholding a ruling banning the veil in Turkish universities. She was a brave woman, and will be missed. Her death puts this country to shame. May she rest in peace. But first of all, she is a symbol and a tragic reminder of just how bad the situation is becoming for Muslim women in Europe, and how hypocritical "Multicultural" Europeans are. Even in Scandinavian countries priding themselves of being champions of women's rights, Muslim women who stand up for their rights receive too little support and risk ending up dead in front of a train. Samira Munir's death is thus a warning to Europeans of how dangerous things are starting to become, not just in France, but all over Western Europe.



Oslo politician felt pressured by Pakistan's ambassador


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 two calls from Pakistan's ambassador to City Council member Samira Munir have raised eyebrows. It's highly unusual for a Norwegian citizen to be asked to meet up in another country's embassy to draft political issues with an ambassador. "It crosses the line, to put it mildly, if pressure is put on our politicians," said the city's top elected politician Erling Lae. "An embassy has nothing to do with what a politician on Oslo's City Council may believe." Lae, Petersen and Munir all hail from Norway's Conservative Party (Hoeyre). Munir has lived in Norway since the early 1970s and has been a Norwegian citizen for more than 20 years. 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. Newspaper Aftenposten Aften understands that Pakistan's ambassador, Shahbaz Shahbaz, noted in his second meeting with Munir that she still has family in Pakistan. Shahbaz confirmed he has had two meetings with Munir in his office since she went public with her position on religious head scarves called hijab in February. They had no contact prior to that point.

3 Comments:

At December 05, 2005 7:52 PM, Blogger Jude the Obscure said...

I regularly read your posts and am interested in women's affairs. Can you direct me to any other European blogs which will continue (or which already do) to focus on what women are doing to achieve or maintain their status as full citizens in Europe?
You may have wondered why there are so few comments on your posts which deal with cruelty to women and girls. If murderers in prison were treated thus, there would be an international outcry. I think women do not have the words to describe their feelings in response to the outrages perpetrated on their sisters in the world. We are subsumed in law as a weaker, less reliable species and there has long been a myth that the men of a women's race are their protectors. Until this myth is exploded ('scuse the term) with the appropriate rhetoric things will not change. Does anyone agree?

 
At December 05, 2005 9:00 PM, Blogger Franze said...

Fjordman, I have said in my blog this chapter too, itçs very worrying. I think that this "suicide" is very suspictious.

 
At December 05, 2005 10:56 PM, Blogger erp said...

Perhaps Samira Munir will become the martyr Moslem women needed to spur them into taking action.

 

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