Muslim elected vice chairman of the Danish Free Press Society

The 30 year old Muslim Ahmed Mohamud has been elected vice chairman of the Free Press Society. The Free Press Society was established in 2004. Its mission is to defend the right of free speech. However a broad spectrum of debaters and political commentators have been criticizing the Free Press Society for not being the defender of freedom of speech they claim to be but instead being a forum for Islamophobia and being closely linked to the right-wing party Danish People’s Party. In January 2010 the chairman Lars Hedegaard was heavily criticized for saying that: “Muslims rape their own children. You hear that all the time. Girls in Muslim families are being raped by their uncles, their cousins or their fathers”.

Lars Hedegaard welcomes Ahmed Mohamud as vice chairman and says: I never opposed Muslims. Some of us have used our freedom of speech to criticize Islam as a political system. Everybody can be a member of the Free Press Society no matter what they believe in, as long as they support freedom of speech”.

Ahmed Mohamud is of Somali origin, nurse by profession and openly gay. He doesn’t see any contradictions in him being the Society’s vice chairman and being Muslim. “If I was solely to interact with people like myself I would be very isolated. I don’t think I sanction certain opinions by being the vice chairman for the Free Press Society. To me the right of freedom of speech is central and I think it’s essential that we speak to each other instead of fighting each other” Mohamud says.