While Muslims in the United States seem to constantly be making the headlines for being kicked off of planes by paranoid airline staff, Norwegian law isn’t entertaining any such Islamophobic sentiments.
Merete Hodne, owner of a hair salon in Bryne, southwest Norway, refused service to 24-year-old Malika Bayan and threw her out of her salon. Bayan had requested to have her hair colored.
Hodne, 47, now faces up to six months behind bars in what seems like a harsh potential sentence for refusing service to a customer, the Independent reports. Bayan is pressing charges for discrimination, but Hodne isn’t daunted. She says she will take the case straight to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary to prove she was right.
Bayan was wearing a headscarf when she went into Hodne’s salon, Comeback Hardesign, and Hodne reportedly told her that she didn’t want “this evil” in her salon, referring to her hijab. In an interview with Norway’s TV2, Hodne said, “Evil is Islam’s ideology, Mohammedanism [sic] and the hijab are the symbols of this ideology, like the swastika is for Nazism.”
She further stated, “I fear the totalitarian symbol of the hijab which says that I should be killed, and for me it is quite unnatural to provide good service in my situation… As most people know hijab-clad women do not get to show their hair to men… It would have been deeply discriminatory if I had banished men from the lounge because of a woman who could not show her hair to them.”
It’s apparent that Hodne is confusing Islam with terrorism, which has nothing to do with religion. With parts of Europe up in arms over Muslim women’s mode of dress, it’s refreshingly decent of Norwegian law to show such a hard line on religious discrimination to which we are becoming desensitized.
Banner photo credit: Facebook, Merete Hodne