On Aug. 24 unknown gunmen fired shots at an Oslo restaurant owned by the family of a Pakistani-born woman comedian who has won notoriety for lampooning conservative Islam. Shabana Rehman, the 28-year-old comediene whose sister owns the restaurant, called the incident as “an appalling act of terror” and said it would not deter her from continuing her work. The shots, fired at around 4:00 AM, struck the windows of the restaurant. Nobody was injured.
Rehman has made a career of joking about the cultural divide between Norway’s majority culture and its 76,000-strong Muslim community. She made headlines last week by dropping her pants and baring her buttocks at a film festival in Haugesund.
“I want to show that in Norway, you can do such things without being lynched or arrested,” she said. “I get really angry when I see cultural conflicts, suicide bombers, all these kinds of threats. You can’t do a stunt like this in Karachi or Kabul.”
Rehman then went on to plant a kiss on Norway’s female Culture Minister Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, seeking to make a point about a debate raging in the country’s Pakistani community over a film scene showing a young Pakistani girl kissing a Norwegian boy. Oslo police said it was too soon to make a link between the shooting incident and the comedian’s film festival antics, but Rehman herself clearly saw one. “I’m going to continue doing my job despite what has happened,” she told Norway’s NTB news agency. Police said she was being protected, although they did not give details.
Rehman, who was one when her parents moved to Norway with their seven children in 1977, has often courted controversy since 1999 when she went from writing jokes for a comedian friend to doing her own show. She typically begins her act wearing a burqa, which she then strips away to reveal a tight, red cocktail dress. (AFP, Aug. 26)
See our last post on the politics of Islamic extremism.