October 4, 2010
At its annual conference this weekend, Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir called on Muslims to be proud of their faith and not label themselves as Danish Muslims, British Muslims, French Muslims etc. During the conference, themed on the Muslims’ role in the West’, the message to Muslims was that their faith should be their identity.
At the conference, Jaweed Yusuf, a member of the group, explained that it was their duty to call others to Islam, however difficult that might be and whatever consequences it might entail.
The group, which has been subject to controversy in Denmark, had invited several MP’s, whom however chose not to participate in the conference. Hizb ut-Tahrir denied rumours that its members plan to run for parliamentary election, or that it supports the use violence to achieve its goals.
Leading experts on terrorism think Denmark is developing into a nesting box for Islamic extremists. On a Danish conference on terrorism Ghaffar Hussain, leader of the Quilliam Outreach and Training Unit, said that the feeling of being an outsider and not being part of the society is extensive among young Muslims in Denmark. This makes it easy to recruit young Danish Muslims to terrorism. The Israeli terror expert Jonathan Fine and Stephen Tankel from the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at Kings College said that the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis has placed Denmark high on the terrorists list of targets. Also the Swedish terror expert Magnus Ranstorp points out that Denmark is an attractive target among terrorist groups. “An attack on Denmark would mean money and prestige for a terrorist group” Ranstorp says.
The head of the secret service, Jakob Scharf, says there is a need for understanding the motivational factors that leads to radicalizing. He says the feeling of being marginalized is a very important motivational factor towards radicalization and that Denmark therefore has to focus on including young Muslims to a greater extent.
Just a few days after the government and Danish People’s Party presented a new law for foreigners in Denmark – a much debated system of obtaining points in order to get a permanent permit of residence – the bill seems to run into problems.
According to the bill a foreigner will need to obtain a score of 100 points in order to obtain a permanent permit of residence. Points can be obtained by having a job, speaking Danish, knowing Danish history and culture, engaging in voluntary organizations etc. Organizations in which one can volunteer and thereby obtain 15 points were supposed to be selected from the tax authorities’ list of charities. However, The Islamic Society in Denmark is on that list and several MPs of the government parties as well as MPs from Danish People’s Party will not allow Muslims to obtain points by volunteering in the Islamic Society in Denmark. During the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis the Islamic Society in Denmark played a facilitating role in the riots and several politicians say they suspect the Islamic Society in Denmark of being fundamentalists.
This creates difficulties in choosing which organizations should be approved as part of the new system of obtaining points. A solution could be that no religious organization should be part of the system but MP Naser Khader refuses this and says that many Muslim organizations are promoting integration of foreign Muslims into Danish society. The bill hasn’t been formally presented to the parliament yet and a heated debate on whether the bill can pass is expected.
A number of leaders in the Danish and Swedish Somali community are angry that al-Shabab allegedly tries to recruit young Muslims in mosques in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Göteborg. Muslim parents have temporarily stopped allowing their children to attend Qur’an classes, fearing someone will try to recruit them, a Muslim parent says.
The 28-year old Somali man who tried to kill cartoonist Kurt Westergaard three weeks ago and the Danish-Somali man who killed 23 people and himself in a suicide attack in Mogadishu in December 2009 were allegedly both affiliated with al-Shabab.
In Denmark a Muslim party has been founded. The party is called ‘Denmark’s Muslims’ and the party’s mission is to fight for socially marginalized people.
The founder, Ras Anbessa, converted to Islam in 2008. He is currently a member of the Danish Social Democrats. He has also been part of the left-wing antiracism network called ‘The Black Sheeps’. However, he is not impressed by the left-wing opposition in Denmark and he thinks there is a need for a political party who fights for the rights of minorities.
How big support the party will get from Danish Muslims is unknown. At the moment the party’s Facebook group has 1,300 members. Professor in Political
Science at University of Copenhagen, Kasper Møller Hansen, considers it to
be very difficult for ‘Denmark’s Muslims’ to gain seats in the national
parliament. Many of the established parties already have Muslim candidates
of whom several is elected to parliament. Furthermore there are many
fractions among Danish Muslims. “Muslims are not just Muslims and because
you are Muslim it doesn’t mean you would support a certain party,” Kasper
Møller Hansen says.
Danish Muslims are planning to take the Jyllands-Posten daily newspaper of Denmark, to Europe’s highest rights court over the publication of satirical caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. The move to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights comes one day after a Danish court rejected a lawsuit by seven Muslims against the newspaper’s editors for publishing the offensive cartoons. Danish Muslim leaders described the Danish court’s decision as disappointing, but have hope that the European rights court will give the case more attention.
COPENNHAGEN: A network of Danish Muslim organisations will bring Denmark before an international human rights court for not pressing charges against the newspaper that first published the Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] cartoons, Danish radio reported on Friday. The 27 Muslim groups said they would file a complaint against Denmark at the human rights court to determine the balance between freedom of speech and freedom of religion, national broadcaster DR reported. It was not immediately clear to which court the group was referring. Denmark’s top prosecutor said on Wednesday that he would not press charges against Jyllands-Posten because the drawings did not violate Denmark’s blasphemy and racist speech laws. Ahmad Akkari, a spokesman for the Muslim network, was not available for comment. The 12 drawings, one of which shows Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon] wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, were published in Jyllands-Posten on Sept 30. The cartoons, which were reprinted in European and American papers in January and February, sparked a wave of protests around the Islamic world. Protesters were killed in some of the most violent demonstrations and several European embassies were attacked. A boycott of Danish goods started in Saudi Arabia on Jan 26 and spread to dozens of Muslim countries.