From Iceland — Charity Gives Priority to Icelanders Over Foreigners

Charity Gives Priority to Icelanders Over Foreigners

Published March 25, 2010

The food kitchen Fjölskylduhjálp has apparently been giving Icelanders priority over foreigners in terms of who gets food first, inspiring strong criticism from city council.

The newspaper Fréttablaðið broke the story, revealing that food lines had been divided up between Icelanders and foreigners, with Icelanders given priority. Ásgerður Jóna Flosadóttir, the director of the facility, told reporters that the decision was made because foreigners tend to show up early, prompting Icelanders who arrive later to not feel like waiting in line and go home. She added, “We will not stand by and watch while senior citizens, who have toiled their whole lives, are turned away because of the demand of foreigners, many of whom only have a residence permit and some of whom don’t even receive welfare benefits.”

The news brought a strong reaction from Marta Guðjónsdóttir, chairperson of the Reykjavík Human Rights Council. “As long as the city is supporting Fjölskylduhjálp, they cannot discriminate the needy based on national origin.”

Flosadóttir denied ever saying that she had divided the needy in this fashion, which prompted Fréttablaðið to print a transcript of the recorded conversation one of their journalists had with Flosadóttir, showing the contrary to be the case.

In addition, as our own Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl points out in a new opinion piece, Flosadóttir has been in the news before. First, in 2007, by running alongside Magnús Þór Hafsteinsson of the LIberal Party, during a time when both the party and Hafsteinsson especially were campaigning heavily on a nationalist platform. Second, by having to resign as chairman of another charity, Mæðrastyrksnefnd, when it was revealed that she had used donations to finance a vacation to Portugal.

Flosadóttir has since stated that the policy of separating the poor by national origin will no longer be utilized.

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