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World wide protests after claims of religious persecution

A Romanian-Norwegian pentacostal couple losing custody of their five children has sparked international outrage.

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Approximately 40 CPS protesters gathered outside the Norwegian Parliament on Tuesday 5th January. The demonstration included posters supporting the Norwegian-Romanian family.

Foto: Peter Mydske
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In november last year the Norwegian Child Protection Service (CPS) removed the children of a Norwegian-Romanian couple from their home in Sogn og Fjordane in western Norway.

Shortly after claims arose from supporters of the pentacostal couple, that the CPS' reason for removing the children was fear of religious indoctrination. The claim is repeted in a petition that has gathered more than 50.000 signatures from around the world. The campaign was initiated by a Romanian pastor of a Pentecostal church in Chicago in the US.

Before Christmas Norwegian police charged the couple for domestic violence. In an interview with the Romanian TV channel Antena 3 the couple admitted that there have been incidents of corporal punishment.

Religious practice

Several of the pastors supporting the couple argue that corporal punishment is part of a Christian upbringing, and that the CPS violated religious freedom by taking the children away on the grounds of what the pastors view as religious practise.

Supporters of the couple have organized several protests. In the coming weeks, protests in 20 countries have been announced, including Washington and Copenhagen.

Hav not contaced Norwegian Pentecostal leader

The Norwegian-Romanian couple are Pentecostals. Sigmund T. Kristoffersen, who coordinates cooperation between Norwegian Pentacoastal churches in Norway, has heard of the case, but has not been contacted by any of the parties.

- If this really is religious persecution, I find it odd that we have not been contacted for assistance or to clarify the matter, he said.

RELATED ARTICLE: Don't use the word «persecution» lightly

Attorney declines to comment

The couple's attorney, Ragnhild Torgersen, declined to comment.

– That is their wish. For the case to be handled by the approriate bodies, and the decision to be reached there. We will therefore refrain from discussing the matter in the media.

- What do you say to the allegations that CPS reacted due to fear of Christian indoctrination?

- That is among the things I do not wish to comment on.

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Political contact

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of the matter and informs Vårt Land that it is working hard to make sure the right information reaches politicians and media with an interest in the case.

- There has been contact between the Norwegian ambassador and Romanian authorities in this matter. The embassy has had several meetings with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both at political level and senior official level. Undersecretary Tore Hattrem has, on December 30th, had a telephone conversation with his Romanian colleague George Ciamba, writes Ragna Marie Fjeld, Communications advicer at the MFA in an e-mail.

Letters to the Royal Palace

Lately, the Norwegian CPS has faced massive criticism over dealings with minority children - especially children with ties to Eastern Europe.

- This case does not differ much from the other issues that have gained international attention. We have handled similar cases before, that have also generated a lot of attention from media and in social media, writes Fjeld.

Several bodies of the Norwegian goverment, among them the the Royal Palace, have received noumerous letters regarding the case.

According to police prosecutor Sissel Kleiven with the Sogn og Fjordane police distict, the couple is still charged for domestic violence. Kleiven would not specify what kind of abuse the couple is charged for.

ANNONSE

BILDER

Approximately 40 CPS protesters gathered outside the Norwegian Parliament on Tuesday 5th January. The demonstration included posters supporting the Norwegian-Romanian family.

Foto: Peter Mydske
Vis bildetekst
Nyhet

In november last year the Norwegian Child Protection Service (CPS) removed the children of a Norwegian-Romanian couple from their home in Sogn og Fjordane in western Norway.

Shortly after claims arose from supporters of the pentacostal couple, that the CPS' reason for removing the children was fear of religious indoctrination. The claim is repeted in a petition that has gathered more than 50.000 signatures from around the world. The campaign was initiated by a Romanian pastor of a Pentecostal church in Chicago in the US.

Before Christmas Norwegian police charged the couple for domestic violence. In an interview with the Romanian TV channel Antena 3 the couple admitted that there have been incidents of corporal punishment.

Religious practice

Several of the pastors supporting the couple argue that corporal punishment is part of a Christian upbringing, and that the CPS violated religious freedom by taking the children away on the grounds of what the pastors view as religious practise.

Supporters of the couple have organized several protests. In the coming weeks, protests in 20 countries have been announced, including Washington and Copenhagen.

Hav not contaced Norwegian Pentecostal leader

The Norwegian-Romanian couple are Pentecostals. Sigmund T. Kristoffersen, who coordinates cooperation between Norwegian Pentacoastal churches in Norway, has heard of the case, but has not been contacted by any of the parties.

- If this really is religious persecution, I find it odd that we have not been contacted for assistance or to clarify the matter, he said.

RELATED ARTICLE: Don't use the word «persecution» lightly

Attorney declines to comment

The couple's attorney, Ragnhild Torgersen, declined to comment.

– That is their wish. For the case to be handled by the approriate bodies, and the decision to be reached there. We will therefore refrain from discussing the matter in the media.

- What do you say to the allegations that CPS reacted due to fear of Christian indoctrination?

- That is among the things I do not wish to comment on.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Political contact

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of the matter and informs Vårt Land that it is working hard to make sure the right information reaches politicians and media with an interest in the case.

- There has been contact between the Norwegian ambassador and Romanian authorities in this matter. The embassy has had several meetings with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both at political level and senior official level. Undersecretary Tore Hattrem has, on December 30th, had a telephone conversation with his Romanian colleague George Ciamba, writes Ragna Marie Fjeld, Communications advicer at the MFA in an e-mail.

Letters to the Royal Palace

Lately, the Norwegian CPS has faced massive criticism over dealings with minority children - especially children with ties to Eastern Europe.

- This case does not differ much from the other issues that have gained international attention. We have handled similar cases before, that have also generated a lot of attention from media and in social media, writes Fjeld.

Several bodies of the Norwegian goverment, among them the the Royal Palace, have received noumerous letters regarding the case.

According to police prosecutor Sissel Kleiven with the Sogn og Fjordane police distict, the couple is still charged for domestic violence. Kleiven would not specify what kind of abuse the couple is charged for.

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