Hadia Tajik: Norway’s First Muslim Cabinet Member

For the first time in Norway’s history, a Muslim woman has been named Minister of Culture.

On September 22, Hadia Tajik, a 29 year old woman of Pakistani heritage, replaced Anniken Huitfeldt as Minister of Culture, who became Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

“We have made these changes to make room for new values, new force and new ideas,” said Mr. Stoltenberg to the press. “It is a combination of renewal and continuity.”

A member of parliament for the Labour Party, Tajik is also the youngest minister Norwegian political history.  While working as advisor for Minister of Justice Knut Storberget from 2008 to 2009, Hadia Tajik helped secure the right of women to don hijab during government service, which was overturned due to the political controversy it stirred in the conservative country.

In Norway, which has a population of about 4.5 million, Muslims number around 150,000.

In July of 2011, Norway was attacked by the Islamophobic terrorist  Anders Behring Breivik.  Breivik killed 69 people in a youth camp organized by the ruling Norwegian Labour Party (AP).  Breivik, a former member of the right-wing Progress Party, is now serving a 21 year prison sentence.

Norway has recently seen thousands of Muslims and leaders of other faiths, such as the Bishop of Oslo, come out in peaceful protest against recent media attacks on the character of the historical figure most beloved by Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

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