The Norwegian social welfare system is to blame for the high percentage of unemployment among immigrants in the country
Hanne Nabintu Herland, who specializes in religious history, told newspaper VG on Tuesday that Norwegian society has developed into "a rock-hard segregated society, where people are evaluated in terms of ethnicity, not competence."
Herland, who grew up in Africa and says she often feels like an immigrant herself, has a master's degree in cultural studies and has worked with ethnic minorities in Norway for many years.
"To criticize the foreigners is like criticizing the symptoms and not the problem," she claims, while accusing earlier generations of social workers of "waiting at the airport and doling out social services available for asylum seekers and immigrants," instead of immediately sending them to Norwegian classes and instilling in them a sense of opportunity for those who work for it.
"Lots of people have interpreted this as an invitation not to work," she said. "Many have viewed Norway as a country where the state pays your monthly salary and where housing is provided."
Herland claims Norwegians "automatically feel sorry for people with dark skin. We put them on welfare, instead of putting them to work."
In her book Ny sjanse (New Chance), published through Norway's Conservative Party (Høyre), Herland claims many immigrants are bitter towards the Norwegian system because it's kept them out of the job market by being "too kind" with welfare.
Norway: 50% of original immigrants on welfare