Prime Minister has just released a statement that agreement has been reached on forbidding face coverings in all levels of school in Norway:
This rule will apply to every school from kindergarten to university, and private schools. This is in
Arbeiderpartiet, KrF, Senterpartiet and Venstre, so it is pretty universal and certain it will pass. They also agreed to make it easier to get
temporary work permits for asylum seekers to combat poverty/hopelessness. Hopefully some more good news toward integration and happiness!
The best thing about this is that it is not singling out religion or trying to persecute a group, as it applies to balaclavas (finlandshette), costume
masks, niqab, any face covering. It is about psychology. The Education Ministry believes that face coverings on teachers will hinder communication and
connection to the students, and students will become ostracised and be seen as different.
This is absolutely true. Even infants recognise faces
and in studies it has been proven that abstract faces (2 dots, dash and a line for mouth) will elicit a response from babies. Reading the face is a
necessary part of communication development.
Ministry of Education accepts that before termination/expulsion for violation, there is to be dialogue on the matter. The Ministry believes that
clothing covering part of the face can not be regarded as such a serious breach that a person should be terminated. So it sounds like not a very
serious, unenforceable matter. They also implied that this effects so few people that it is more of a political move than meaningful.
The Student Union believes this will lead to students having to choose between higher education or religion, and would lead to trouble! I have to
agree. The only cure for extremism is education/exposure that shows people that we are all human. If a youth is forced to choose between liberal
education and traditional religion, they will likely not want to disappoint their parents. And if they are wearing a face covering, their parents are
very conservative. A more likely outcome is that they resent the system that discriminates against their parent's choice.
So there has to be a balance, between culture and psychology. It is a catch-22 though. If you want someone to see that secularism is the answer, they
need to be exposed to it. And in order to be exposed to it they need to be dressed secularly. Hmm. Where do they turn then? Islamic educator? If we
turn people away we may end up making the problem worse.
Note that this is not about 'headscarves' or anything, just face covering, so I fully support it. But people are still calling to ban anything
religious everywhere because they want to live in a fascist state where adults are told what to wear!