Muslim Politician Is Messenger of Change

By Manfred Ertel In Denmark of all places — the country with Europe’s toughest immigration laws — a Muslim member of parliament has become a rising star on the political scene. Now he wants to shake up traditional Danish politics with his new party. Is this the kind of man Danish voters are pinning their hopes on? The sort of man who is causing an upheaval in the calcified political atmosphere between _rhus and Copenhagen? He is casually dressed, and his black hair and bronze skin reveal his Arab roots. He also happens to be a Muslim. Naser Khader, 43, sits in his makeshift office in Copenhagen’s old town surrounded by boxes, laptops and loose cables. “It was so boring here, with absolutely nothing going on,” he says. “I am very pleased that we have managed to get some movement into politics.” He is putting it mildly. Since Khader announced the establishment of his party, the New Alliance, more than two weeks ago, a debate has erupted of the sort that Denmark hasn’t seen in years. Some of the issues on the new political agenda in Copenhagen include a radical 15-percent tax cut (a proposal that was quickly discarded) and a relaxation of the country’s stringent immigration policies.