Flagging fortunes of Islamic Council falter at final furlong after cuts in state aid

Mehtab AfsarGeneral Secretary of Islamic Council Norway, Mehtab Afsar (right).Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Another five organizations are leaving the Islamic Council after the government cuts state aid. Some of those on the way out are considering launching a new Muslim organisation.
On Monday morning, it became apparent that the government has lost confidence in the Islamic Council Norway (IRN), and that state aid to the Muslim umbrella organisation is being cut.

There has long been turbulence around IRN, and in the wake of its collapse, several of the member organisations are reporting leaving.
‘For IRN, economics are not the most important factor, but trust within society.

Now we have no confidence from the authorities, or other partners, or from society in general’, said spokesman, Najam Saqib, at the Islamic Cultural Center to Dagsavisen newspaper.

The mosque he is spokesman for is one of five Muslim organisations, with a total of 10,000 members, it was reported by NRK news on Monday.
Thus, the Islamic Council of Norway have lost 30,000 members since September, when five other organizations, with 20,000 members signed out.

Considering new organisation

The IRN reported on its website that they represent 38 organisations, with 65,000 members, but this number has probably not been updated since the last exodus.

According to Najim Saqib of the Islamic Cultural Center, it is now said that the groups leaving will start their own Muslim organisation, which may act as a replacement for IRN.

‘We must seal the vacuum that has occurred. It’s important that our children grow up in a harmonious, and not a confrontational society, where Norwegian Muslims feel part of the wider society and not in opposition to it’, he said to Dagsavisen newspaper.


Source: NRK / Norway Today