Norwegian Ambassador to Turkey Janis Bjorn Kanavin said on Friday that Norwegian people had good relations with Muslim people, adding, “There is no place for Islamophobia in Norway.” Speaking to AA at the Norway Sea Products Symposium in Ankara, Kanavin said cultural dialogue was vitally important, adding Norway and Turkey had always had intense cultural relations.
Referring to the cartoon crisis in Denmark, depicting Prophet Mohammad, Kanavin said, “The Islamic Council of Norway and Christian Council of Norway asked for a meeting with the editor of a Norwegian journal which published the Muhammad cartoons and tried to explain how Muslim people were assaulted because of their religion. Over the meetings for 10 days, the editor published a notice apologizing to the Muslim world. Moreover, the Islamic Council of Norway accepted the apologies of the editor and asked all the Muslims living in Norway to forgive the editor. That was very brave. We have good relations with Muslims.”
Upon being asked about Anders Behring Breivik, who was the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks resulting in 77 deaths, Kanavin said, “I believe that Breivik is a sick man. He may tell or offer whatever he wants but Norwegian people will no way support him. I do not think there would be any interest in a racist party he is planning to found.”
Kanavin reminded his visit to Turkey’s central Anatolian city of Konya saying, “I find the atmosphere there very special. The discipline of Mawlana (more popularly in the English-speaking world as Rumi) teaches a lot to the whole world.”