Frp’s ‘butterball immigrant’ reacts

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Liberal (Venstre) politician Ketil Kjenseth was forced to apologize on Thursday after calling Progress Party (Fremskrittpartiet, Frp) member Mayzar Keshvari a “smørbukk-innvandrer,” which literally translates to “butterball immigrant” and suggests they’re too fortunate. Kjenseth’s comments came in reaction to Keshvari’s proposal to deny free healthcare to illegal immigrants, and place mandatory reporting requirements on health staff working with immigrants.

Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, FrP) politcian Mazyar Keshvari was called a "butterball immigrant" by Liberal (Ventsre) member Ketil Kjenseth, in reaction to Keshvari's proposal to deny free healthcare to illegal immigrants. PHOTO: Fremskrittspartiet

Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) politician Mazyar Keshvari was called a “butterball immigrant” by Liberal (Ventsre) member Ketil Kjenseth, in reaction to Keshvari’s proposal to deny free health care to illegal immigrants. PHOTO: Fremskrittspartiet

“Those who have come to Norway, who have good reasons for coming and who are paperless and need health care should be offered it,” Kjenseth told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It is our responsibility as wealthy Norwegians.”

“It is very surprising from a ‘butterball immigrant’ with a red carpet into Norway to find his place in the Frp and promote such a proposal,” he continued.

Keshvari retorted that rather than having a “red carpet entry,” his family came to Norway fleeing a regime that “systematically harassed, persecuted, tortured and murdered” people. “The truth is that I and my family had to escape from one of the world’s worst regimes of terror, the Ayatollah regime in Iran,” he told NRK. “This is a regime that is known for breaking all international laws and conventions.”

Keshvari said he’d like to invite Kjenseth for a cup of tea, to explain exactly what it’s like to live in and escape from such a place. He said the Liberals had obviously run out of arguments if they were reduced to such statements.

“I thought it was an important liberal value for Venstre that people can have different opinions, totally without regard to ethnicity and skin colour,” Keshvari said. “This obviously doesn’t apply to those of us in the FrP. It’s sad.”

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Kjenseth said he’d used the “butterball immigrant” term in the sense that Keshvari was a successful and well-integrated foreigner. He said he was provoked by Keshvari’s proposal, which sought to deny free healthcare to illegal immigrants on the grounds it made staying in Norway more attractive.

Kjenseth said he’d apologized to Keshvari, and accepted his offer for a cup of tea and a chat.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate