Labor Party, Sondre Nordstrand | Calls for Ramadan meeting: – Not in Labor Party

Labor Party, Sondre Nordstrand |  Calls for Ramadan meeting: – Not in Labor Party

In the Søndre Nordstrand district in Oslo, the local team of the Labor Party has called for an iftar on April 3. Iftar is the evening meal eaten every day after sunset during the fasting month of Ramadan.

On that day Facebook Heidi Vback Pedersen, a member of the same local team, responds. He believes the local party is breaking down the divide between religion and politics. At the time of writing, the Facebook post has 233 likes and 51 shares.

“When you add religious holidays to party meetings, I wonder if you've thought ahead about what that means. As a politically engaged person, it's in my backbone to distinguish between politics and religion,” Pedersen writes.

– To separate

A local politician tells Netavisen he is reacting to being invited to a religious event under Labour's party symbol.

– The Labor Party is a secular party. I am concerned that religion and politics should be separated. Marking religious holidays is not in the Labor Party. I would act the same way if you were invited to a party at a party gathering.

Pedersen believes that inviting iftar is not the same as organizing a Christmas party. When the local team last held a Christmas meeting two years ago, the focus of the meeting was to discuss political issues, he says. The invitation on Facebook does not contain any political content.

– There doesn't seem to be any political issues here. The invitation is primarily aimed at Muslims, members or not. When there's a party symbol there, it's a bit unfortunate.

– Do you think this event exists to attract potential Muslim voters?

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– Every party event aims to attract new members and this event seems to be aimed at potential Muslim voters.

gives his support

On Wednesday, Netavisen reached out to Oslo Op President Frod Jacobsen to ask what he thought of the event.

Jacobson explains that he is on vacation and sends a statement via SMS offering his support for the event. Netavisen therefore did not succeed in getting answers to concrete questions from Jacobsen.

Maria Qureshi is the president of Sondre Nordstrand Arbiderparty. He confirms that the event is a social gathering. She didn't mind the controversy surrounding the event.

– All members can raise the issue and if someone disagrees, that is definitely fine. But neither I nor the Board received any inquiry regarding this incident.

– A social gathering

Qureshi says that Aptar was invited last year as well. Iftar is not the end of Ramadan, it is the name of the meal taken after sunset.

– We did this at the district party last year and many other district parties have similar events. It should be a safe and open space where all comers can ask questions. He says it is an attempt to create an open and inclusive party team that will help build respect and tolerance.

– But when you did this last year, did many non-Muslims show up?

– Many came, including unbelievers.

– Beyond iftar being part of Ramadan, were political topics raised and were there any religious practices during the meeting?

– This is a social gathering where local politicians will be present, so you will have a chance to get to know the party better. It is an open meeting without any religious preaching. Similarly, apps have a habit of inviting people to Christmas events, says Maria Qureshi.

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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