Hadia Tajik becomes first Muslim minister of Norway

Oslo: A young Muslim woman has been named a culture minister for the first time in the history of the Scandinavian country.

We have made these changes to make room for new values, new force and new ideas,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters, Reuters reported. “It is a combination of renewal and continuity“, he added.

Hadia Tajik, a 29-year-old Muslim, was named Friday, September 22, a culture minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

Hadia replaced Anniken Huitfeldt, who became the new Minister of Labour and Social affairs.

Born to Pakistani parents, Tajik is a member of parliament for the Labour Party.

Tajik, the youngest government minister in the Scandinavian country, said culture diversity would top her ministry’s program in the coming period.

Tajik had served as a political adviser to Minister of Justice Knut Storberget from 2008 to 2009.

At the time, Tajik played an active role in a decision to allow police women to wear hijab while in service.

The decision, however, caused a storm in the country, forcing the minister to withdraw the decision.

The cabinet reshuffle also saw moving Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere to the health ministry, a key position for a government hoping to strengthen the extensive social safety net.

Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide was also moved to take the foreign ministry portfolio.

The reshuffle is seen as a last big effort by Stoltenberg to shape up the team that would campaign for Labor’s third straight term.

Norwegian Muslims are estimated at 150,000 out of the country’s 4.5 million population, mostly of Pakistan, Somali, Iraqi and Moroccan backgrounds.

There are nearly 90 Muslim organizations and Islamic centers across the northern European country.

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