“Islamists treat women like rats," Sara Berge Økland, a member of the central board of the party's youth league, told Dagbladet. "We are especially concerned with things like forced marriage, domestic violence and female genital mutilation, and that the women do not get to live out their own ambitions and desires.”
Progress, the junior partner in Norway's right-wing coalition government, has campaigned to introduce a law banning Burqas and Niqabs, which cover the entire face of women, ever since a similar law was passed in France in 2010.
At the time, party leader Siv Jensen said that a ban would “liberate women from oppression and totalitarian thoughts. Women who live in freedom-loving countries should be free from this kind of coercion”. Critics have pointed out that only a handful of Muslim women in Norway wear the garments.
The issue reached the agenda again in 2013, when the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found that the French ban on Niqabs and Burkas did not violate human rights.
According to Dagbladet, all of the parties in Norway's parliament agree that garments that conceal identity and hamper communication are not desirable in public spaces, although only Progress wants to see a ban on certain clothing.
When the issue was debated in parliament on February 17th this year, Peter Christian Frølich, MP for the Conservative Party told Dagbladet: “We are not sure that the struggle against the oppression of women should be fought through the wardrobe”.
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