The first ever Muslim minister in the Norwegian Cabinet is Hadia Tajik of Pakistani origin, who was handed the culture portfolio
On Sunday, with no precedent in Norwegian history, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appointed Hadia Tajik, a 29-year-old Muslim woman, as minister of culture, making Tajik the youngest minister in the Norwegian Cabinet and the first ever Muslim in the Norwegian government.
Tajik, of Pakistani origin, anounced that her programme will focus on cultural diversity as part of the Norwegian people’s daily lives and how this reflects on Norweigan society as a whole. The programme will delve into the protection of minority rights, whether cultural or racial, including the right of Muslims to wear the veil in public places, among other issues.
The new focus, however, will not be unopposed. Most right wing groups are against these policy changes, considering the increase in diversity in society a challenge to European culture.
Last year Anders Breivik randomly shot 69 people at a summer camp organised by the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party after blowing up a Norweigan state building. During his trial, Breivik reasoned that multi-cultural policies are harming Norway, adding that he considers Islam his enemy.
Born in Strand, Norway, on 18 July 1983, Tajik studied human rights at the University of Kingston in the UK and holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Master’s in law, the latter awarded by the University of Oslo this year.
An activist from a young age, Tajik led the Young Workers Movement between 1999 and 2002. She also worked as a political advisor to Norway’s minister of justice, 2008-2009. During this time Norweigan women members of the police were afforded the right to wear the veil at work. The decision was, however, rescinded due to harsh criticism from conservative parties.
In 2009, Tajik was elected to parliament as a member of the Labour Party in the Oslo constitutency. She was placed on a list of six seats generally considered safe for the party.