Thursday, August 25, 2005

Shots fired at Pakistani-born comic’s Oslo restaurant

I've mentioned before that the most famous Norwegian of Pakistani background is incidentally a very Westernized woman, humorist Shabana Rehman. She is known, among other things, for pulling a stunt where she lifted up Mullah Krekar, the controversial former leader of the militant group Ansar al-Islam, who has lived on welfare in Oslo for years. She later declared that she was no longer a stand-up comedienne, but a lift-up comedienne. Shabana has been controversial for years. She started her career by appearing naked, with a Norwegian flag painted on her body, on the front page of Norway's largest newspaper. It looks as if somebody thinks she's gone too far this time, by dropping her pants and baring her buttocks at a film festival in Haugesund, in southwest Norway. Shabana has been threatened before, but I believe this is the first time somebody has fired shots and threatened her family, not just herself. This would have been unheard of only a few years ago, and shows that this is no longer the safe country I grew up in. The Muslim forum is full of hateful posts about her, and respected blog asks whether Shabana risks becoming another Theo van Gogh:

Shots fired at Pakistani-born comic’s Oslo restaurant

Unidentified assailants on Wednesday fired shots at an Oslo restaurant owned by the family of a Pakistani-born female comediene who has achieved prominence for lampooning conservative Islam. Shabana Rehman, the 28-year-old comediene whose sister owns the restaurant, described the incident as “an appalling act of terror” and said it would not deter her from continuing her work. The shots, fired at around 4:00 am, struck the windows of the restaurant of Fahrina Rehman, the sister of Shabana Rehman. A police spokesman said the establishment was closed, and nobody was hurt. Rehman has made a career of joking about the cultural divide between Norway’s people and its Muslim community. She notably made headlines in the popular press last week by dropping her pants and baring her buttocks at a film festival in Haugesund, in southwest Norway. “I want to show that in Norway, you can do such things without being lynched or arrested,” she said. “I get really angry when I see cultural conflicts, suicide bombers, all these kinds of threats. You can’t do a stunt like this in Karachi or Kabul.” Rehman then went on to kiss vigorously Norway’s female Culture Minister Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, seeking to make a point about a debate raging in the country’s Pakistani community over a film scene showing a young Pakistani girl kissing a Norwegian boy. Oslo police said it was too soon to make a link between the shots at the restaurant and the comedian’s film festival antics, but Rehman herself clearly saw one. “I’m going to continue doing my job despite what has happened,” she told Norway’s NTB news agency. Police said she was being protected, although they did not give details. The young woman, who was one when her parents moved to Norway with their seven children in 1977, has often courted controversy since 1999 when she went from writing jokes for a comedian friend to doing her own show. She typically begins her act wearing a burqa, which she then strips away to reveal a tight, red cocktail dress.


At August 25, 2005 3:55 PM, Blogger PD111 said...

SYDNEY (AFP) - Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law have been told to get out of Australia.

"Basically, people who don't want to be Australians, and they don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off," he said.

The statements come from senior ministers of the governmement.

Read it all.


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