Norway's minister for immigration Sylvi Listhaug – an outspoken and often controversial leading figure in the nationalist Progress Party – has spoken out to defend Muslim womens' right to wear the hijab.

Listhaug's comments came as she returned criticism of her visit with a family of Syrian refugees in Norway's northern Finnmark county earlier this week.

The visit, during which Listhaug accepted a Syrian family's invitation to cake at their home in the village of Mehamn, was intended to give the minister an impression of integration in the region, reports newspaper VG.

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