The Express Tribune
Published Date: Nov 19, 2019
Norway welcomes migrants of different religions
Over time, Norway has become a more open society that encourages immigrants of different religions and beliefs to integrate and adjust with the Norwegian culture, learning that immigrants can invigorate local religious communities and help make religion a more visible element in the Norwegian society.
This was stated by Norwegian historian Dr Kari Hempel as she delivered a lecture on ‘Migration, Integration and the Importance of Religion in the Processes: The case of Norwegians in the United States and Pakistanis in Norway’ on Monday.
The lecture had been organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad. Dr Hempel, an associate professor at the Stavanger University in Norway, said that as of 2019, there are some 38,000 NorwegianPakistanis in the Nordic state. Of these, 21,000 are first-generation immigrants, while the remaining 17,000 are Norwegian-born descendants.
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The first Pakistani immigrants arrived in Norway in the late 1960s as migrant workers. “Many Pakistanis have succeeded with regards to their academic achievements, and some Pakistanis have succeeded with participation in public and political life, including becoming members of parliament,” she highlighted.
The first mosque to be built in Norway — the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC), was constructed in Oslo in 1974 and was created by a Pakistani Muslim, she said.
Dr Hempel said that religious plurality has become a global phenomenon with people migrating with their religious or non-religious convictions.
“There are many reasons for migration. People migrate as a result of persecution, including religious persecution, as was for the Norwegian Quakers. People may also want to spread a religion and migrate for that reason,” she explained, adding that almost 30% of the population in Norway — around a million of its 5.2 million population — comprises immigrants from different regions and religions.