Early life and education
Born in Tehran, Iran Masud Gharahkhani emigrated to Norway along with his family in 1987, and he grew up in Skotselv in Øvre Eiker. His father is politician and trade unionist Bijan Gharakhani. After attending local Rosthaug senior high school, he enrolled at Gjøvik University College studying Radiography, graduating as a Radiologic technologist, and has been employed by Blefjell Hospital in its Kongsberg and Rjukan wards. He has also been employed by as secretary-general for the Buskerud Labour party.
First elected as a deputy representative to the parliament in the 2009 election. He would become somewhat of a national celebrity when he at the Labour Party national convention in 2011 received a standing ovation for his speech about his journey from Tehran to Drammen, having kickstarted the integration debate along with foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Hoping to be the first mayor in Norway with non-Western immigrant background, Gharahkani was the Labour party candidate for the mayor of Drammen in the 2011 local election. He eventually lost to popular incumbent Tore Opdal Hansen from the Conservative Party. His campaign was marred by speculation in the press about his marriage to a woman in Iran. Gharahkani however blamed his opponents for attempting to smear him.
In an incident where teachers at an elementary school in Drammen banned its pupils from wearing traditional Christmas-costumes at an annual Christmas-play, Gharahkhani publicly condemned the school for its actions and reiterated the importance of Norwegian culture and tradition in schools. When asked about his personal experiences, he explained: "I always participated in Christmas activities in school and i would recommend it to my children" Commentators praised him for his openness and tolerance. The head-principal of the school later apologized for the affair.
A hard line supporter of immigrant integration, Gharahkhani has stated that immigrant children has to learn to speak Norwegian or risk being taken by child services, calling failing to teach children Norwegian "unacceptable parental neglect" as it was an absolute prerequisite for succeeding in the Norwegian society.
- Fiskvik, Eli Pauline (2009). "Biografi: Gharahkhani, Masud". Representanter og Komiteer (in Norwegian). Stortinget.no. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Stående applaus for Drammens ordførerkandidat
- Masud Gharahkhani kan bli første ordfører med innvandrerbakgrunn
- Andersen, Mads (2011-04-09). "Ap-Yndling: Kjærligheten brukt i en svertekampanje". Vg.no (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Muslimsk Ap-leder i Drammen ut mot jule- og nisseluenekt
- Nissekonflikten i jule-Drammen, VG 15. desember 2011 s. 2
- Nordahl, Bjørn Olav (2011-09-02). "Ap-topp vil bruke barnevernet mot invanndrerfamilier". Nrk.no (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Køsling, Ingvild-Anita Velde (2011-09-13). "Jeg er ingen slagen mann". Nrk.no (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-07-15.