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Monday, September 26, 2005

Norway Teens Aware Of Muslim Threat

Teen tolerance declines.

A new survey suggests that Norwegian teenagers are less tolerant towards immigrants and more concerned about immigration than their parents. The amount of those who are skeptical about immigration has almost doubled in the past six years.
These students at Bergen Cathedral High school were surprised by the survey's results.

Four of 10 teenagers questioned said they think immigrants represent "a serious threat to the national character." Their answers came in a questionnaire handed out in connection with school elections earlier this month.

That's nearly double the number of teens who responded the same in a similar survey in 1999. The survey was conducted by Norwegian Social Science Data Services (Norsk samfunnsvitenskapelig datatjeneste, NSD) and is based on answers from 5,000 high school students.

Boys were the most skeptical, with around half saying they agree that immigration threatens the national character. Three of 10 girls answered the same.

"We have to look at this in connection with the recent years' terrorist events in London, Madrid and the US, where immigration has been tied to terrorism and terror threats," said Knud Knudsen, a sociology professor at the University of Stavanger.

He's surprised by the survey results, however, even though he's been following Norwegian attitudes towards immigration for several years.

Some teenagers are surprised, too. "I was more skeptical earlier," said Monica Fagerås, a student at Bergen Cathedral High School. "Now I've changed my mind, after living in the US for four years and seeing how different cultures live together."

She and others think media coverage and terrorism fears are behind the increased skepticism. Martin Ratcliff, age 16, said the skepticism may stem from fear that closed Muslim communities will spring up in Norway.

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