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In the case of Norway, however, such statistics are especially outrageous. For this is a country that likes to think of itself as being extremely gay-friendly. It was the second country in the world to recognize same-sex partnerships. It was the sixth to recognize gay marriages. When it comes to native Norwegians who happen to be gay, the Norwegian state is very clear about where it stands on the rights and dignity of gay people. Gay Norwegians deserve no less than every right granted straight Norwegians, up to and including the right to marry.
But when it comes to a person like “Azad,” a person from a country where he may well be imprisoned and even executed for being gay, all bets are off. For in such cases the Norwegian state’s respect for individuals takes a back seat – in a big way – to its respect for “different cultures.” A gay person who happens to have been born into an Islamic culture cannot expect from the Norwegian state any deliverance from his culture’s values, even if those values condemn him to death.
The situation is actually even worse than I have already made it sound. Consider this: one of the five million residents of Norway is an Iraqi-born man named Mullah Krekar, who founded the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam. He is a brutal monster who has spoken out in support of Osama bin Laden and the actions of 9/11 and who is known to have ordered the torture of children. He came to Norway many years ago as an asylum seeker and was granted asylum. He now lives in Oslo, where he has a comfortable apartment, receives a generous subsidy from the government, and is able to move around the city freely without supervision. He lives with his wife, who works in a day-care center, and his children, who are being given as good an education as Norway can provide. There have been efforts to return him to Iraq to face justice for his manifold crimes. Yet Norwegian authorities have repeatedly refused to send him back on the grounds that he might be imprisoned or otherwise punished.
In other words, Norwegian authorities are able to defend – are, indeed, zealous about defending – what they see as the individual “rights” and “dignity” of a terrorist, so long as those “rights” and “dignity” don’t appear to conflict with any cultural “norms” or “values” that they’re afraid of offending. But when it comes to “Azad”? Well, sorry, fella – this way to the plane.
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