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NRK

Norway channel slammed for Jew clause joke

A TV sketch lampooning the banning of Jews from Norway in the country's first constitution has been condemned as "shocking" and "embarrassing" by a leading politician in the country.

Norway channel slammed for Jew clause joke
Atle Antonsen in the Jew Clause sketch - Screen Grab/NRK
The sketch, which starred comedian Atle Antonsen, imagines how it came about that Norway's founding fathers added a notorious clause outlawing Jews from the country to the 1814 constitution. 
 
"It is shocking and embarrassing to create humour from this clause which shut the Jews out of our country!" Dagrun Eriksen, deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, said on Sunday night as the sketch was broadcast on NRK.  
 
"The Jewish clause is part of our dark history," she told VG later, adding that the events remained "painful" for Norwegian Jews.  
 
"As a nation, we must take responsibility for this, and not make flippant skits out of it," she said. 
 
Charlo Halvorsen, entertainment editor for NRK, rejected the criticism of the programme, which was part of the channel's coverage of the start of celebrations of the bicentenary of the constitution on Sunday. 
 
"She is interpreting the sketch in the opposite way to what was intended," he said. "We are ridiculing the people who wrote the paragraph, not the Jews." 
 
"This also happened 200 years ago, and I think it must be allowed to make humour of it," he told VG. 
 
The clause prevented Jews from entering the Kingdom of Norway from the signing of the constitution in 1814 until 1851.
 
For Norwegian speakers, the offending sketch is below: 
 
 

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NRK

Norway TV flooded with complaints after Eid broadcast

Norway's broadcasting ombudsman has received close to a hundred complaints this week after state broadcaster NRK gave the Muslim Eid celebrations the sort of coverage normally given to Christmas.

Norway TV flooded with complaints after Eid broadcast
The Norwegian journalist Rima Iraki led the Celebration atfer the Fast programme. Photo: NRK
According to Erik Skarrud, the ombudsman's secretary, the organisation received 93 reports after the broadcast of “The Celebration after the Fast” on Sunday night, of which only a handful were positive. 
 
“Someone called it 'propaganda for Islam' and a large number of them used the same sort of expression. There's probably a text somewhere that people are cutting and pasting from,” he told Kampanje magazine.
 
Others complained they “did not want to pay for something that could lead to terror”. 
 
Over 300,000 people tuned in to watch the broadcast, which was helmed by the popular journalist Rima Iraki, the former presenter of NRK's Dagsrevyen news programme. 
 
Eirik Sandberg Ingstad, who led the project, said he felt the experiment, the first such broadcast by a major Western TV channel, had been a huge success. 
 
“We are pretty pleased with it. The response from the audience during and after the broadcast has been overwhelmingly positive, which indicates that we succeeded in creating a party where everyone felt welcome,” he told Kampanje. 
 
 
The controversy prompted Norway's culture minister Abid Raja to write an opinion article, “When can I say 'my Norway'?, on NRK complaining of people's unwillingness to accept Muslim citizens as truly Norwegian. 
 
He said that he himself had fasted on-and-off for Eid all his life, despite “not being the best Muslim in class”, and had found it emotional to see it celebrated by the nation. 
 
“It was a historic event when our public broadcaster, as the first in a western country, dedicated an evening to the celebration of the end of the fast,” he said. 
 
But that feeling had changed to “discomfort” as he learned of the complaints, he said, reminding him of the kind of abuse he received growing up in Norway, and still today as a minister: “You are not a Norwegian. This is not your Norway. Go back where you came from you Muslim bastard, you Paki.”  
 
He said he had always tried not to provoke those who felt only ethnically Norwegian should use the term. 
 
“For many years I lived with a kind of compromise. Instead of calling myself a 'Norwegian', I chose to use the terms 'new Norwegian' or 'brown Norwegian', in an attempt not to provoke people who are put out by me saying 'I am Norwegian',” he wrote.
 
But he said he wanted to change that. 
 
“I was born in Norway, in Oslo, and with the exception of one academic year in Oxford and one working year at the Norwegian Embassy in India, I have lived all my life in Norway,” he said. 
 
“My wife, Nadia, has too. My children are Norwegian. And I want to be buried in Norway when that day comes. From cradle to grave, I am Norwegian.”