Lenya Rún Taha Karim, a 21-year old law student and vice MP for the Pirate Party, has been subjected to repeated racist messages from people who object to her even being in Iceland—despite being born in this country—let alone serving in Iceland’s legislature, Vísir reports.
“The messages vary,” she tells reporters. “They are harsher, much harsher and more frequent, saying that I don’t belong in Iceland or I don’t belong in Parliament rather than any criticism of me as an individual. [They say] for example that I should go home; that I shouldn’t be in the Parliament of Icelanders; that Iceland is for Icelanders; that I’m disgusting because I’m not an Icelander.”
In the wake of all this, she has filed reports with the police over the matter.
“I did this the other day,” she says of this. “I felt it the most natural and right thing to do in this situation. We live in a time when the mayor’s car is shot at, and where swastikas have been placed over the eyes of my friend [on an advert] because she’s Black. It’s a serious development that needs to be taken seriously.”
Valgerður Reynisdóttir, who runs the Instagram page Anti rasistarnir along with others with the aim of educating people about racism in Iceland, told reporters that they very often receive personal testimonies from people who have experienced racism in Iceland.
“Some of them are very difficult to read,” she said. “I think ‘wow, how disgusting it is to have this happen to you’, but it’s also good to know that you’re not alone.”
For her part, Lenya believes societal changes are needed to combat racism.
“15% of the Icelandic nation are foreigners, and this 15% has no representation anywhere,” she said. “So I think it’s time for us to have a conversation about how diverse our society has become and that we need to get used to one another.”
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