‘Norwegian-Pakistanis misunderstood’

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It’s been 50 years since the first “foreign workers” from Pakistan landed at Oslo’s former airport at Fornebu. Two generations later, descendant Assad Nasir thinks most Norwegians still don’t know enough about their mostly well-integrated countrymen so he’s written a book to help them out.

His book, entitled Kunsten å være pakkis (loosely translated, “The Art of Being Pakistani”), aims to shatter stereotypes that Nasir thinks flourish among Norwegians. Newspaper Aftenposten reported that he doesn’t delve deeply into controversial themes but concentrates on the positive aspects of Pakistani immigration, while jokingly noting that not all Norwegian-Pakistanis are or aspire to be doctors, lawyers and engineers at their parents’ urging.

Nasir told Aftenposten he’s especially glad that there’s little discussion about “the Pakistani milieu” now. “It’s become so diverse that folks don’t even refer to Norwegian-Pakistanis as one group any longer,” he said. “No one can speak for everyone anymore, just like no one in Norway can speak on behalf of all Muslims, all Christians or all athiests.”

Nasir, age 32, is a school teacher himself, at a local high school in Norwegian and social studies. He claims his students had actually asked him why he was driving a Toyota instead of a BMW or Mercedes “‘like other Pakistanis.’ That’s when I understood there was a need for this book.”

Norwegian-Pakistanis now make up only the ninth-largest immigrant group in Norway behind residents from Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Somalia, Germany, Iraq, Syria and the Philippines. They still make up the largest group of Norwegians born with immigrant parents. Around 19,000 Norwegian residents were born in Pakistan. Another 16,700 have parents who are born in Pakistan, according to state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway).

newsinenglish.no staff