Asylum seekers from Muslim-majority countries are being offered voluntary classes in Norway aimed at teaching them about what constitutes sexual violence in the Scandinavian nation in order to fight what many consider to be an epidemic of sexual assault.
According to a new report from The New York Times, asylum centers in Norway have been mandated since 2013 to offer the courses to participants — largely young men from African and Arab nations — in order to teach them to “at least know the difference between right and wrong” when it comes to interacting with women.
As Per Isdal, a clinical psychologist involved in the program, told The Times, many of the asylum seekers “come from cultures that are not gender equal and where women are the property of men.”
“We have to help them adapt to their new culture,” Isdal added.
Course material aims at teaching participants that women in Norway have more freedoms than in their home countries. One course manual informs asylum seekers that “to force someone into sex is not permitted in Norway, even when you are married to that person.”
Norway’s first program started after a string of rapes between 2009 and 2011 in Stavanger, a city that sits at the center of the oil industry and attracts many migrant workers.
“People from some parts of the world have never seen a girl in a miniskirt, only in a burqa,” Stavanger’s former police chief, Henry Ove Berg, told The Times.
Of the 20 rape convictions handed down in the city, only three native Norwegians were convicted. The rest were immigrants, The Times reported.
“We had some problems in Stavanger because some of the refugees had sexually violent episodes with Norwegian girls in the centre of the town,” Linda Hager, who runs 34 asylum centers in Norway, told The Local, a Danish news website published in English. “So the police, the immigration department and Hero Norge launched a project to teach refugees about Norwegian behavior.”
Similar programs are being considered in Denmark.
According to The Local, in 2013 and 2014, 34.5 percent of convicted rapists were immigrants or descendants of immigrants. That despite those groups making up just 12 percent of Denmark’s population.
As The Times notes, most European nations have avoided implementing similar programs for fear of stigmatizing Muslim and African immigrants.
Hanne Kristin Rohde, the former head of violent crimes with the Oslo police department, told The Times that she ran into resistance when she went public in 2011 with data showing that a disproportionate number of rapes were committed by immigrants.
“There are lots of men who haven’t learned that women have value,” Rohde said. “This is the biggest problem, and it is a cultural problem.”
Political correctness has already proved disastrous in at least one community marred by sexual violence.
At least 1,400 children — mostly girls — were exploited in a sex ring operated mostly by Pakistani men in Rotherham, England between 1997 and 2013. Whistleblowers came forward to claim that city officials turned a blind eye to the scourge because of fears of being seen as racist.