Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Religious Right Around the Globe: Students Complain in Norway

The Oslo International Bible College (OIBC) in Norway is an English-language vocational college that offers training in church and organizational leadership, mission and humanitarian work, and creative communication. Recently, the school has come under fire from dozens of students over allegations of threats and religious pressure.

According to the Norwegian newspaper Universitas, 70 students have accused management at OIBC of harassment and threats. According a letter sent by 70 OIBC to the Norweigian National Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (Nasjonalt Organ for Kvalitet i Utdannigen or NOKUT), students have accused college staff of forcing them to speak in tongues, accusing students of having the "spirit of the devil," and claiming that some students engage in "witchcraft." Students also claim that they felt pressured to attend religious services and felt stigmatized if they attended other churches on Sundays. The Local reports that NOKUT has met with college management to discuss the issue and awaits the results of an investigation by the Norweigian Ministry of Education.

In an interview with Universitas, OIBC founder Henrik Larsen admitted that dozens of students could have had such experiences, but also expressed doubts that signatories knew what they were signing. (Via Google Translate)
"I have asked myself how this could happen. And I asked the student council if they could figure this out. I have heard that those who signed the letter did not read the whole letter before signing. When you look at some of the complaints so it is also possible that 70 students have experienced all these things."
These allegations are worrisome. Let's hope the investigation gets to the bottom of the matter.

Hat tip to the Local. To learn more about OIBC, visit their website at www[dot]oslointernational[dot]org

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