Oslo (Norway) stops Mosques from helping refugees

Oslo, (IINA) – A decision to bar Oslo’s oldest mosques from helping refugees has sparked ire among Norway Muslims, after government immigration authority ruled that only neutral organizations were allowed to provide assistance, according to media reports.
One of Oslo’s leading mosques has been banned from accommodating refugees after the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) ruled that organizations providing emergency help should be “neutral”, The Local Norway’s News reported.
At least 700 new refugees, mainly from Syria, are expected to arrive in Norway this week and the UDI is coordinating with charities and other organizations who can provide temporary accommodation for those arriving.
The Islamic Cultural Centre, Norway’s oldest mosque, had offered the UDI assistance by providing shelter, an offer that has now been denied.
“We have enough volunteers and sanitation is in place. If we can help, we are ready,” Arshad Jamil of ICC told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK.
The UDI’s call for organizations to offer accommodation to make up for its shortage of beds has already been met by the Norwegian Red Cross for assistance, which has offered 60 beds for overnight visitors, and the Norwegian Armed Forces, who have pledged to make available disused military barracks.
Frode Forfang, the UDI’s director, said that the directorate could not use religious organizations.
The actual offer needs to be neutral,”  he said, adding that in the ICC’s case, the building itself was religious and therefore not suitable
Jamil said he did not believe the ICC’s facilities were in any way different from those of the Church City Mission.
“This building is a cultural centre. The Mosque is just a small part of that,” he said.
SM/IINA

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