Islam in Norway
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 is the largest minority religion in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, which consist between 2.0% and 3.4% of the population. In 2007, government statistics registered 79,068 members of Islamic congregations in Norway, about 10% more than in 2006. 56% lived in the counties of Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 and Akershus
- Geography :The county is conventionally divided into the traditional districts Follo and Romerike, which fill the vast part of the county, as well as the small exclave west of Oslo that consists of Asker and Bærum...

. Scholarly estimates regarding the number of people of Islamic background in Norway vary between 120,000 (2005) and 163,000 (2009). The vast majority have an immigrant background, with Norwegians of Pakistani descent
Norwegians of Pakistani descent
Pakistani Norwegians are Norwegians of Pakistani descent. First generation Pakistani Norwegians, who migrate from Pakistan, are distinguished from the mainstream in several demographic aspects, while second generation Pakistani Norwegians, who are born in Norway, are well-established in Norway and...

 being the most visible and well-known group.


Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

ic annals relate the arrival of embassies from the Muslim sultan of Tunis
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 in Norway in the 1260s, after King Håkon Håkonsson
Haakon IV of Norway
Haakon Haakonarson , also called Haakon the Old, was king of Norway from 1217 to 1263. Under his rule, medieval Norway reached its peak....

 had sent embassies to the Sultan with rich gifts. The population of Muslims in the country has not been noticeable until the latter half of the 20th century, however. Immigration from Muslim countries to Norway began late compared to other western-European countries, and didn't gather pace until the late 1960s. In 1975, labor immigration to Norway was halted, but rules for family reunification were relatively relaxed for several more years.

The number of Muslims in Norway was first registered in official statistics in 1980, when it was given as 1006. These statistics are based on membership of a registered congregation, and it is most likely that the low number is due to the fact that few Muslims were members of a mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

. Historian of religion Kari Vogt estimates that 10% of Norwegian Muslims were members of a mosque in 1980, a proportion which had increased to 70% by 1998. Being a member of a mosque was an alien concept to many immigrants from Muslim countries. In Norway, it is necessary for the mosques to register their members, because government grants to religious congregations outside the state church are based on the number of registered members. The number of registered members of mosques increased to 80,838 in 2004, but have since dropped to 72,023 in 2006. Part of the reason for the drop could be a new methodology in the compilation of statistics.

In the end of the 1990s, Islam passed the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

 to become the largest minority religion in Norway, provided Islam is seen as one group. In 2004, the registered Muslims were members of 92 different congregations. 40 of these were based in Oslo or Akershus counties.


Muslims in Norway are a very fragmented group, coming from many different backgrounds. Kari Vogt estimated in 2000 that there were about 500 Norwegian converts to Islam. The rest are mostly first or second generation immigrants from a number of countries. The largest immigrant communities from Muslim countries in Norway are from Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia:
Country of origin Number
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

30 134
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

27 881
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

21 795
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

15 649
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

15 134
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

15 003
Converts 900 - 1,000

An unknown, but presumably high, proportion of these immigrant populations is Muslim. In other words, the largest group of Norwegian Muslims originate in Pakistan, but no single nationality constitute as much as a quarter of the total population.

The Turkish, Pakistani and Iranian communities are quite established in Norway. 55% of Iranians have lived in Norway more than 10 years. The Iraqis are a more recent group, with 80% of the Iraqi community having arrived in the past 10 years.

In the 1990s there was a wave of asylum seekers from the Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. In recent years most immigrants arrive as part of family reunification.

By county

County Total population Muslim population Percent Muslim
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

586,860 44,583 7.5%
- Geography :The county is conventionally divided into the traditional districts Follo and Romerike, which fill the vast part of the county, as well as the small exclave west of Oslo that consists of Asker and Bærum...

536,499 10,369 1.9%
is a county in Norway, bordering Akershus, Oslo, Oppland, Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland, Telemark, and Vestfold. The county administration is located in Drammen.-Geography:...

257,673 8,097 3.1%
is a county in southeastern Norway, bordering Akershus and southwestern Sweden , while Buskerud and Vestfold is on the other side of the bay. The seat of the county administration is Sarpsborg, and Fredrikstad is the largest city.Many manufacturing facilities are situated here. Moss and...

271,662 7,460 2.7%
is a county in Western Norway, bordering Hordaland, Telemark, Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder. It is the center of the Norwegian petroleum industry, and as a result of this, Rogaland has the lowest unemployment rate of any county in Norway, 1.1%...

427,947 6,565 1.5%
is a county in Norway, bordering Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Telemark and Rogaland. Hordaland is the third largest county after Akershus and Oslo by population. The county administration is located in Bergen...

477,175 3,721 0.7%
is a county in Norway, bordering Buskerud and Telemark. The county administration is in Tønsberg.Vestfold is located west of the Oslofjord, as the name indicates. It includes many smaller, but well-known towns in Norway, such as Larvik, Sandefjord, Tønsberg and Horten. The river Numedalslågen runs...

231,286 3,276 1.4%
- References :...

290,547 2,679 0.9%
is a county in Norway, bordering Vestfold, Buskerud, Hordaland, Rogaland and Aust-Agder. The county administration is in Skien. Until 1919 the county was known as Bratsberg amt.-Location:...

168,231 2,524 1.5%
In the 16th century, Dutch merchant vessels began to visit ports in southern Norway to purchase salmon and other goods. Soon thereafter the export of timber began, as oak from southern Norway was exceptionally well suited for shipbuilding...

170,377 2,212 1.2%
is a county in Norway, bordering Sør-Trøndelag, Oppland and Akershus. The county administration is in Hamar.Hedmark makes up the northeastern part of Østlandet, the southeastern part of the country. It includes a long part of the borderline with Sweden, Dalarna County and Värmland County. The...

190,709 1,438 0.7%
is a county in Norway, bordering Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Akershus, Oslo and Hedmark. The county administration is in Lillehammer. Oppland is, together with Hedmark, one of the only two landlocked counties of Norway....

185,216 1,349 0.7%
is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

236,271 1,030 0.4%
Møre og Romsdal
Møre og Romsdal
is a county in the northernmost part of Western Norway. It borders the counties of Sør-Trøndelag, Oppland and Sogn og Fjordane. The county administration is located in Molde, while Ålesund is the largest city.-The name:...

251,262 982 0.3%
is a county in Norway, bordering Telemark, Rogaland, and Vest-Agder. In 2002, there were 102,945 inhabitants, which is 2.2% of the total population in Norway. Its area is . The administrative center of the county is in Arendal....

108,499 821 0.7%
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

156,494 717 0.4%
is a county constituting the northern part of Trøndelag in Norway. As of 2010, the county had 131,555 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth-least populated county. The largest municipalities are Stjørdal, Steinkjer—the county seat, Levanger, Namsos and Verdal, all with between 21,000 and...

131,555 508 0.3%
Sogn og Fjordane
Sogn og Fjordane
is a county in Norway, bordering Møre og Romsdal, Oppland, Buskerud, and Hordaland. The county administration is in the town of Hermansverk in Leikanger municipality while the largest town is Førde....

107,080 387 0.3%
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

72,856 235 0.3%

By region

County Total population Muslim population Percent Muslim
Eastern Norway 2,428,136 79,096 3.2%
Western Norway 1,263,464 11,655 0.9%
Trøndelag is the name of a geographical region in the central part of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag. The region is, together with Møre og Romsdal, part of a larger...

422,102 3,187 0.7%
Southern Norway 278,876 3,033 1.0%
Northern Norway 465,621 1,982 0.4%

Year Muslims Percent
1980 1,006 0.02%
1990 19,189 0.45%
2000 56,458 1.30%
2010 98,953 2.03%


The first mosque in Norway was the Islamic Cultural Centre (named in English), which opened in Oslo in 1974. The initiative for the mosque came from Pakistanis who were helped by the Islamic Cultural Centre which had already opened in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 in Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. The new mosque adhered to the deobandi
Deobandi is a movement of Sunni Islam. The movement began at Darul Uloom Deoband in Deoband, India, where its foundation was laid on 30 May 1866.-History:...

 branch of Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....


Adherents of the barelwi
Barelvi is a term used for the movement of Sufi , Sunni Islam originating in the Indian subcontinent.The Movement is known as Ahle Sunnat movement to its followers....

 branch, who constituted the majority of Pakistanis in Norway, soon felt the need for a mosque of their own, and opened the Central Jama'at-e Ahl-e Sunnat in 1976. This is today the largest mosque in Norway, with over 5000 members.

As the Muslim population grew, the number of mosques also multiplied quickly. As long as the total number of Muslims was low, it was natural for many different groupings to congregate in a single mosque. But as different immigrant groupings increased in number, the wish for separate mosques for people of different nationalities, languages and sects increased. The first Shia mosque, Anjuman-e hussaini, was founded in 1975, and in the early 1980s, separated Moroccan and Turkish mosques were established.

The mosques have been important, not just as places of prayer, but also as a meeting place for members of minority groupings. Several mosques also do different forms of social work, e.g. importantly, organising the transport of deceased members back to their countries of origin for burial. The mosques are mostly situated in regular city blocks, and are not easily visible features of the cities.

By 2005, only one purpose-built mosque existed in Norway, built by the World Islamic Mission in Oslo in 1995. Minhaj-ul-Quran International established its mosque and centre in 1987. In 2000, this was the first Norwegian mosque to start performing the adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

 - the call to prayer. Initially, the mosque received permission from Gamle Oslo borough to perform the adhan once a week. This was appealed to county authorities by the Progress Party
Progress Party (Norway)
The Progress Party is a political party in Norway which identifies as conservative liberal and libertarian. The media has described it as conservative and right-wing populist...

. The ruling of the fylkesmann (county governor) of Oslo and Akershus stated that no permission was required for performing the adhan, leaving the mosque free to perform it at their own discretion. The mosque decided to limit themselves to performing the adhan once a week.

Muslim organisations

The most significant Muslim organisation in Norway is the Islamic Council Norway
Islamic Council Norway
The Islamic Council Norway is an umbrella organisation for Muslim congregations and organisations in Norway. Currently, it represents 41 congregations totalling about 60.000 members. The offices are located in Oslo. It is a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research .-Organization:The...

, an umbrella organisation for Muslim congregations and organisations. Other inter-congregational organisations also exist. Minhaj-ul-Quran
Minhaj-ul-Quran International is an international Sufi-based non-governmental organization founded by Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri in 1981 in Lahore, Pakistan...

 mosque and community centre was established in Oslo in 1987. In 1991, the Islamic Women's Group Norway (Islamsk Kvinnegruppe Norge) was founded, after an initiative by the Norwegian convert Nina Torgersen. In 1995, a Muslim Students' Society (Muslimsk Studentsamfunn) was established at the University of Oslo
University of Oslo
The University of Oslo , formerly The Royal Frederick University , is the oldest and largest university in Norway, situated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The university was founded in 1811 and was modelled after the recently established University of Berlin...

, with some of its officers, such as Mohammad Usman Rana
Mohammad Usman Rana
Mohammad Usman Rana is a Norwegian Pakistani commentator, columnist and medical doctor, achieving his degree at the University of Oslo.-Early life:He was born in Norway, and grew up in Husvik in southern Tønsberg...

, becoming important voices in the Norwegian public sphere. Founded in 2008, Islam Net
Islam Net
Islam Net is the largest Muslim organisation in Norway, founded by engineer student Fahad Qureshi in 2008. It has local chapters in Oslo, Akershus, Tromsø and Bodø, and is initiating a fifth in Trondheim...

 is the fastest-growing Muslim organisation in Norway.

The Islamic foundation Urtehagen was established in 1991 by the Norwegian convert Trond Ali Linstad, at first running a kindergarten and youth club. In 1993, Linstad applied for the first time to establish a Muslim private school. The Labour Party
Norwegian Labour Party
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway....

 government of Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian Social democratic politician, diplomat, and physician, and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She served three terms as Prime Minister of Norway , and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization...

 rejected the application in 1995, stating that it would be "detrimental to the integration of the children". After the Labour government was replaced by the government of Kjell Magne Bondevik
Kjell Magne Bondevik
Kjell Magne Bondevik is a Norwegian Lutheran minister and politician . He served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2005, making him Norway's longest serving non-Labour Party Prime Minister since World War II...

 of the Christian People's Party
Christian People's Party (Norway)
The Christian Democratic Party , is a Christian Democratic Norwegian political party founded in 1933. The Norwegian name literally translates to Christian People's Party...

 in 1997, Linstad applied again, and his application was approved in 1999. In August 2001, Urtehagen School (Urtehagen friskole) opened with 75 pupils. However, internal conflicts at the school led to its closure in the spring of 2004. Plans to open a similar school in Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

 in 2006 were blocked after the new left-wing government
Red-Green Coalition (Norway)
The Red-Green Coalition is a centre-left coalition of Norwegian parties, formed by the Labour , the Socialist Left Party , and the Centre Party. Unlike many other Red-Green coalitions, the "Green" here is the colour of a centrist party rather than an actual Green party...

stopped all new private schools after coming to power in 2005. As of today, no Muslim schools exist in Norway.


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