Norwegian armed forces show cultural sensitivity

by , under Enrique

Since July 1, the Norweaign armed forces have relaxed rules for religious headgear, writes the Local, quoting daily Stavanger Afterbladed. It is now possible for Sikh soldiers to use turbans as well as for Jews to use skull-caps while serving in the Norwegian armed forces. Muslim women are permitted to wear a hijab with their uniform. 

Objection to the new military dress code has been voiced by Jan-Arlid Ellingsen of the populist anti-immigration Progress Party.

”The armed forces should be kept independent of ethnic and religious affiliations,” he was quoted as saying on Norwegian news agency NTB. ”It’s fine having symbols to denote affiliation, but it’s entirely unnecessary to show them.”

Ellingsen forgets an important point: The uniform that the Norwegian armed forces uses shows cultural and national affiliation. There is no such thing as “culturally neutral” clothing.

  1. tp1

    This is exactly what I am against. I heavily oppose changing something BECAUSE of a religion. If muslim migrates to a non-muslim country, he should learn how to live there by the rules of that country. We should never change the rules because of immigrants.

    And this is exactly what causes lots of people to hate immigration, because they are let to dictate the new rules.

    • Mark

      tp1

      And this is exactly what causes lots of people to hate immigration, because they are let to dictate the new rules.

      I find this statement interesting. You acknowledge that some people HATE immigration, and I guess, by lieu, also immigrants. And the reason is they perceive that immigrants are allowed to ‘dictate’ the rules. Name me a rule that has changed because of immigrants? I’d be interested to discuss this in detail.

      I heavily oppose changing something BECAUSE of a religion. If muslim migrates to a non-muslim country, he should learn how to live there by the rules of that country. We should never change the rules because of immigrants.

      Well, a society is organised to meet the needs of its demographic – pure and simple. If that demographic changes in regard to its religious believers, then expect some changes too in regard to that, i.e. more places of worship, faith-based schools, and advocacy groups. These are perfectly legitimate democratic expressions of a free people. The idea that you would limit that is frankly very worrying. It seems you do not understand what makes you free, even while you claim to defend that freedom.

  2. Mark

    tp1

    We should never change the rules because of immigrants.

    Do you think that the blood rituals of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs should have continued even after the ‘immigrants’ arrived from Europe?

    Do you think that the gasing of Jews should have continued even after Germany was overrun with American, British and Russian ‘immigrants’ dictating to them?

    Clearly, there are times when a country’s customs and practices are only seriously challenged by outsiders, and that much of the advances of nations occurs when that nation comes into contact with outsiders who can challenge those practices.

    To say Finland should ‘never be changed’ because of outsiders shows what an ideological position it is that you hold, and not a pragmatic or realistic understanding of how societies evolve. I’m not hugely learned about Finnish cultural or historical icons, but I bet there have been a fair few ‘immigrants’ who have gone on to make positive contributions to Finnish society that has led to significant changes to Finnish society.

    • tp1

      Mark

      Do you think that the blood rituals of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs should have continued even after the ‘immigrants’ arrived from Europe?

      Haha, so are you mixing now something up here 😀

      Are you asking this from the Incas point of view or from the immigrants point of view?

      Incas would have wanted to keep their cultures and traditions but immigrants came and changed that. So are you seriously saying that immigrants should be allowed to come to Finland and change whatever traditions that THEY don’t like?

    • Mark

      tp1

      Incas would have wanted to keep their cultures and traditions but immigrants came and changed that. So are you seriously saying that immigrants should be allowed to come to Finland and change whatever traditions that THEY don’t like?

      Is that the only possibility that you can imagine? I don’t see that it’s an either/or scenario here, that they either come here and have no effect and make no proposals for change, or that they come here and change whatever they like.

      I’m not taking an ideological position here. If you look at what actually happens, then you can clearly see the pragmatism and the principles that lie behind it. Specific groups of people in Finland advocate socially and politically for the interests of that groups – from trade unions, to political parties, to youth movements, to charities, to corporations etc. They all seek to change things to their own benefit, and government policy making is all about weighing up the interests of one group against another, and allocating resources effectively and efficiently, while maintaining the principles of human treatment and sensible limits and regulations. This is all NORMAL stuff, and so I really don’t see any reason to ask immigrants to not take part in those activities. In fact, i think that asking them to limit these normal kinds of social activity is a gross violation of their basic freedoms.

    • Jssk

      Cultural or social norms. Maybe “cultural aspect” isnt the exact word to describe it

    • Mark

      So your question is do I think that gasing news was a social/cultural norm in Germany? Well, it is a fact of history, don’t you think? Clearly the Final Solution was accepted and supported by a great many, though not all Germans.

      Is there a point to this question?

  3. tp1

    I find this statement interesting. You acknowledge that some people HATE immigration, and I guess, by lieu, also immigrants. And the reason is they perceive that immigrants are allowed to ‘dictate’ the rules. Name me a rule that has changed because of immigrants? I’d be interested to discuss this in detail.

    There is one error in your questions. You are mixing immigrant with immigration. I was talking about immigration being the reason, not the immigrants.

    But with that change, I can answer your question.

    For example in many schools, they have done changes to christmas parties and the songs which have been sung there because of immigration.

    • Mark

      tp1

      For example in many schools, they have done changes to christmas parties and the songs which have been sung there because of immigration.

      I need some more details please before i can comment.

  4. tp1

    Mark

    tp1I need some more details please before i can comment.

    Many schools have decided to drop traditional christmas party programs, which involve stories based on christianity (Jesus and stuff) in order to not offend muslims and other religions.

    • Mark

      tp1

      Any links? Any source data?

      It would be remiss to comment without seeing at least some of the reasoning given by the schools for these decisions first hand.

      …in order to not offend muslims and other religions.

      And atheists. Remember, the vast majority of people in Finland are either atheists or non-religious or agnostic, meaning that they don’t care too much for schools taking the opportunity to indoctrinate their kids into religious activities with absolutely no legal sanction to do so. After all, we live in a secular society where state and official religion are separate.

      If a school is founded on religious principles and parents send their children there with the expressed purpose of giving them a religious education, then that is perfectly in keeping with a free society.

  5. tp1

    Mark

    And atheists. Remember, the vast majority of people in Finland are either atheists or non-religious or agnostic, meaning that they don’t care too much for schools taking the opportunity to indoctrinate their kids into religious activities with absolutely no legal sanction to do so. After all, we live in a secular society where state and official religion are separate.

    Yes, there are lots of Finnish atheists who also don’t like those traditions. But the point here is that those atheists have been around also earlier, but still the traditions have remained. Traditions are being put aside only after the amount of immigrants have risen.

    http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1288357564529.html

    I don’t care about christianity myself, this is just an example things that are changing BECAUSE of immigration.

    To me christians and muslims are all the same, they are people with lower level of intelligence, who let imaginary persons to do the thinking on their behalf.

    • Mark

      Yes, there are lots of Finnish atheists who also don’t like those traditions. But the point here is that those atheists have been around also earlier, but still the traditions have remained. Traditions are being put aside only after the amount of immigrants have risen.

      I don’t necessarily see that the two are linked. For example, it is becoming clearer that many atheists are becoming more vocal today in challenging the ‘sky wizard’ paraphernalia.

      To me christians and muslims are all the same, they are people with lower level of intelligence, who let imaginary persons to do the thinking on their behalf.

      Says the man that can barely think his way through the significances of a ‘joke’. 🙂 There have been and are a lot of religious people around who are a lot smarter than either you or I, tp1.

    • Mark

      Thanks for the link.

      Now lets get one thing straight – the issue has raised a lot of debate within Finland and among Finns, obviously with differing opinions. While immigrants are mentioned as one factor in the metropolitan area, it is by not means the only factor:

      Enkeli taivaan -virren vastustajiin lukeutuu myös joukko suomalaisia tutkijoita, taiteilijoita ja älymystön edustajia. Esimerkiksi semiootikko Vaula Norrena ja rap-artisti Steen1 ( Teemu Lampela ) vastustavat sitä ankarasti. Norrena ilmoittaa olevansa “pöyristynyt” virren esittämisestä. – Virsihän on evankeliumi tiivistettynä, jos se ei ole uskonnollista julistusta, niin mikä sitten on, Norrena katsoo. – On hyvin epäeettistä kertoa satuja, joita lapset pitävät totena, Lampela puolestaan sanoo.

  6. tp1

    Thanks for the link.Now lets get one thing straight – the issue has raised a lot of debate within Finland and among Finns, obviously with differing opinions. While immigrants are mentioned as one factor in the metropolitan area, it is by not means the only factor:

    I already covered that one. There has always been Finnish people also who opposes christian traditions in schools. But that factor hasn’t been taken in any account. Only after the immigration factor came in the picture, actions have been taken.

    This gives a signal that immigrants are being treated as more important than Finnish people and this propably causes negative attitudes againsts immigrants, while it’s not even their fault.

    • Mark

      tp1

      I already covered that one. There has always been Finnish people also who opposes christian traditions in schools. But that factor hasn’t been taken in any account. Only after the immigration factor came in the picture, actions have been taken.

      It is naive to assume that because there have always been atheists in Finland that that has always meant their views were respected or heard.

      This gives a signal that immigrants are being treated as more important than Finnish people and this propably causes negative attitudes againsts immigrants, while it’s not even their fault.

      Well, people tend to see what they want to see. The key issue here is whether religious activities should be part of the mainstream in schools. If anything, a Muslim position would say ‘yes’ to that question, so the debate has somewhat gone away from the interests of some Muslims who may not wish to see such secular practices (remembering that many Muslims are in favour of secularism). The answer is faith-based schools, where parents have the choice for their children to receive as much or as little religious instruction or activity as they want.

      Also, it’s dishonest to say that immigrants are deciding this. This is a debate that is taking place among Finns, and decisions are made in the interests of Finns as much as immigrants. It is possible that the presence of immigrants helps to bring the issue back into the spotlight, but it’s certainly a distortion to present it as a situation where immigrants are dictating to Finns. It’s simply not possible or real.

      Your negative attitude to immigrants is fuelled by your own prejudices against Muslims and Africans tp1. Remove that boulder from your eye and I imagine you’ll see things a lot more clearly.

  7. tp1

    Mark

    It is naive to assume that because there have always been atheists in Finland that that has always meant their views were respected or heard.

    So you rather believe it’s a coincidence 🙂

    Well, people tend to see what they want to see. The key issue here is whether religious activities should be part of the mainstream in schools. If anything, a Muslim position would say ‘yes’ to that question, so the debate has somewhat gone away from the interests of Muslims who do not wish to see such secular practices. The answer is faith-based schools, where parents have the choice for their children to receive as much or as little religious instruction or activity as they want.

    1st of all that was not the key issue here. Key issue was that changes have been done only after immigrant population has raised. And by the way I’m not saying that it means that immigrants have demanded it, since there are lots of Finnish kukkahattutäti’s who just decides themselves on behalf of eg. muslims, because they assume/think that something would offend muslims.

    Secondly, that is not an answer. Correct answer (in my opinion) would be to remove ALL religious elements from schools and not separate people based on their religion.

    Also, it’s dishonest to say that immigrants are deciding this.

    Ermm, didn’t you read when I said: “this propably causes negative attitudes againsts immigrants, while it’s not even their fault.”

    I already told you that this is not immigrants’ fault, but instead it’s those who are making the decisions. But immigrants are the ones that have to suffer from this because of negatives attitudes causes by these decisions.

    • Mark

      tp1

      So you rather believe it’s a coincidence?

      Erghh…no! I’ve already said that it’s probably brought the topic to the fore, but that it’s misleading to suggest that immigrants are creating the change.

      Key issue was that changes have been done only after immigrant population has raised

      But that was not your ‘key issue’ in this thread – THIS was your first comment on this post:

      This is exactly what I am against. I heavily oppose changing something BECAUSE of a religion. If muslim migrates to a non-muslim country, he should learn how to live there by the rules of that country. We should never change the rules because of [Muslim] immigrants.

      You were out to tell Muslims to live by the rules of Finland and stop asking for change. That in itself is a denial of a basic freedom that all citizens in Finland enjoy, the freedom to lobby for change or to advocate for special interests. You ignore this fundamental freedom.

      You then claimed this:

      Many schools have decided to drop traditional christmas party programs, which involve stories based on christianity (Jesus and stuff) in order to not offend muslims and other religions.

      And then the evidence you provided clearly shows that actually the reform was driven forward not by religious people or Muslims, but by artists, researchers and intellectuals who were pushing for a secular as opposed to a religious environment in schools, something that some Muslims, like Christians, would probably be against.

      Funny that. What was it you said:

      I heavily oppose changing something BECAUSE of a religion.

      See, YOU misrepresented your own source. The problem, as you later admit, is a false perception that Muslims brought about the change, and that in reality, the change was ‘not their fault’, and yet you have perpetuated that same false perception.

      Then I called you on it and now your story starts to change.

      Or is your claim now not that Muslim immigrants bring about negative changes in Finnish society, but actually that they have brought about some positive changes that you are actually in favour of, which is LESS religious activity in schools? 😀

      Next source to back up your claim please?

      EDIT: Finland is no more a ‘non-Muslim country’ than it is a ‘Muslim country’. It is a country where citizens are free to practice their religion. Suggesting it is a non-Muslim country is only presenting your own anti-religious bias.

  8. tp1

    Or is your claim now not that Muslim immigrants bring about negative changes in Finnish society, but actually that they have brought about some positive changes that you are actually in favour of, which is LESS religious activity in schools?

    Yes, you start to understand 🙂 Even if I like that particular change myself, I still feel that the change has been done for wrong reasons.

    When I am talking about 2 different issues (1: immigrants should learn to live by our rules and 2: we should not change the rules because of immigrants) they don’t contradict each other. The changing of rules very often happens because some finns just decides to do that, even if there are no initiatives from immigrants. That still doesn’t mean that issue 1 wouldn’t be valid.

    • Mark

      tp1

      Even if I like that particular change myself, I still feel that the change has been done for wrong reasons.

      The reasons having little to do with immigrants and more to do with the lobbying of researchers, artists and intellectuals? You still think it was for the wrong reasons? You are some bullshitter, sometimes tp1!

      When I am talking about 2 different issues (1: immigrants should learn to live by our rules and 2: we should not change the rules because of immigrants) they don’t contradict each other.

      Yes, well, if I’d said there was a contradiction, I’d understand your protest, but I haven’t have I?

      More obfuscation from you. I pointed out your emphasis on Muslim immigrants towing the line, not advocating for change and change not being driven by or for Muslims. The first point I responded to by pointing out that such a demand on immigrants is a flagrant violation of basic fundamental freedoms found in a free society. The other two points you presented then did not tally with the story you offered as evidence. In fact, it directly contradicted your claim that is was done for or by immigrants.

      So keep flapping.

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