“Papirlos” in Norway: Meeting Palestinian Asylum Seekers in Oslo

I just completed a week long speaking tour through Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, Sweden.  One highlight was giving a talk on our book Our God is Undocumented to church activists and service workers in Oslo.  To my surprise, immigrant rights has become a huge issue in Norway, as there has been an increasing inmigration of eastern and southern Europeans as well as folks from the Middle East, Africa  and Far East.  
For the first time Norwegians are having to deal with undocumented people.  The issue came up sharply during my seminar at Church House, as several young Palestinian men attended the talk to publicize their plight.  Asylum seekers from Gaza who were denied, they and other stateless and undocumented (in Norwegian, “papirlos’) persons have been camped out in the yard of an Oslo church for 17 months.  I was asked to “mediate” in an interview in the daily church paper between the Palestinian spokesperson and a church official who had been told by Oslo city officials that the camp had to be broken up; the spread is pictured above.  Though after I left the country the camp was torn down, it’s an incredible story; you’ll find it on their website.  
It was a poignant reminder that immigrant rights is a global issue.