Early life and education
Born in Tehran, Iran Masud Gharahkhani emigrated to Norway with his family in 1987 and grew up in Skotselv in Øvre Eiker. His father is politician and trade unionist Bijan Gharakhani. After attending Rosthaug senior high school, he enrolled at Gjøvik University College studying Radiography, graduating as a Radiologic technologist, and has been employed by Blefjell Hospital. He has also been employed as secretary-general for the Buskerud Labour party.
Gharahkhani was first elected as a deputy representative to the parliament in the 2009 election. He received a standing ovation at the Labour Party national convention in 2011 for his speech about his journey from Tehran to Drammen. Hoping to be the first mayor in Norway with a 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 have 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 Archived 2012-05-27 at Archive.today
- 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.