The Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir will be encouraging armed resistance against Scandinavian soldiers at a debate meeting about the war in Afghanistan in January.
The invitation to the meeting at the Royal Library in Copenhagen showed photographs of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian coffins on a map of Afghanistan.
According to the invitation, the debate will “focus on the duty of armed resistance for Muslims in Afghanistan and surrounding nations. We see this form of resistance as entirely legitimate. In this context, the authorities’ attempts to criminalize and intimidate all war opponents will also be highlighted”.
Chadi Freigeh, a spokesperson for the organization’s Scandinavian branches, said he did not consider the message offensive. “If anyone should be blamed for the Danish soldiers that are dying in vain in this war, it’s the Danish politicians who have cold heartedly sent them out on a mission that only serves American strategic interests in the region,” Freigeh told public broadcaster DR.
Several countries have banned Hizb ut-Tahrir and Denmark has attempted to do the same. Representatives from the Danish People’s Party and the Social Democrats said officials should continue to look into whether the group can be considered illegal. “Hizb ut-Tahrir has been embarrassing Denmark for too long for this kind of thing. Now they’re really playing dirty,” Danish People’s Party MP Martin Henriksen said. Social Democrat MP Karen Hækkerup said the group’s message and the pictures on the invitation made her feel “uncomfortable”. “But as long as the organization is not banned, we have to respect that it’s an association that is allowed to exist and meet,” said Hækkerup.
December 3, 2010
MP for Danish People’s Party, Jesper Langballe, has been convicted of libel. In January 2010 a heated debate took place in Denmark in continuation of controversial statements on Muslim fathers and rape made by president of the Danish Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard. Jesper Langballe, in a feature in a nationwide paper wrote: “of course Hedegaard shouldn’t say that Muslim fathers rape their daughters when the truth is that they kill them (the so called honour killings) – and in addition don’t pay notice to uncles’ rape of their daughters”. The statements led to condemnation of Langballe from all parts of the political spectrum – including the Danish Prime Minister who said: “Langballe’s words are stupid and generalizing”.
December 3 2010 Langballe was sentenced a fine of 5000 Danish Kroner.
November 2, 2010
Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People’s Party (DF), has proposed a ban on satellite dishes in public housing areas in order to prevent residents from receiving what she labelled “anti-western” channels.
Consevative MP Naser Khader says: “I thought it was an April Fool’s joke”. He proposes that the DF instead come up with a democratic response. He added that labeling Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya as “hateful Arabic TV-stations” shows that the DF does not have a proper understanding of the Arabic media. Conservatives spokesperson Rasmus Jarlov stressed that a ban would “nourish the conspiracy theories that Denmark is attempting to repress Arab views”. Henrik Dam Kristensen of the opposition Social Democrats urged Kjærsgaard to participate in a dialogue about integration, rather than discuss bans. He asserted that she is making a desperate attempt to “keep a debate going”.
Following criticism, Kjærsgaard acknowledged to Politiken newspaper that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to implement the proposal. Danish People’s Party will now go directly to the Radio and Television Board to get Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya channels banned, but they will need to provide evidence that the two TV-stations are a form of hate speech. In Kjærsgaard’s view, access to the two stations limits the integration capacity of residents who only get their news from these stations.
The Prime Minister, who represents Venstre – the Liberal Party of Denmark, dismissed the idea of a ban on satellite dishes in public housing areas. He said: “A general ban on satellite dishes is not in accordance with the constitution or with Venstre’s ideals about freedom”.
October 12, 2010
Efforts by the right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF) to eliminate the law against making racially-charged public comments will be an uphill battle, according to a new poll on the issue. A Rambøll/Analyse Danmark poll this week showed that a vast majority of Danes support the law – even the DF’s own voters. Overall, nearly 69 percent of the 944 adults polled said the law should remain intact, while 21 percent were in favor of doing away with it, primarily on the grounds of preserving free speech.
The law has been in the spotlight recently after the public prosecutor’s office decided to press charges against Jesper Langballe, a DF member of parliament, over his written comments about Muslims. In January, Langballe defended the president of the Free Speech Society, Lars Hedegaard, who in an interview had claimed that Muslim fathers rape their daughters. “Naturally Hedegaard shouldn’t have said that when the truth instead seems to be that they’re satisfied with just honor killing their daughters and turning a blind eye to the uncles’ rapes,” wrote Langballe.
No date has yet been set for Langballe’s trial, but DF has been pushing to have both the charges and the law dropped. According to the law, it is forbidden to make public comments that “denigrate, debase or threaten based on race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religious beliefs or sexual orientation”. In addition, the law covers remarks that incite terrorism and also explicitly protects the royal family from defamation.
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.
On Thursday April 15th 2010 a large majority of the members of the city council of Copenhagen voted yes to a district plan which will allow a traditional Shia mosque to be built in Copenhagen. It will be the first purpose build mosque in Denmark. Only the members of Danish People’s Party voted no, while the members of the Liberals and one Iranian born member of the Red-Green Alliance didn’t vote. The question about allowing the mosque to be built has created a heated debate and Iranians living in exile in Denmark have demonstrated against the passing of the district plan because they suspect the Iranian government of funding the mosque. Ahlul Bait, which is the organization behind the mosque, says the funding comes from private donors in Iran and fund raising in Denmark.
The site where the mosque will be erected already houses a mosque. However the current mosque is established in an old warehouse and the new mosque will be constructed as a traditional mosque with two minarets and a blue cupola. The purpose of the minarets will only be decoration and they will not be used for calling for prayer.
Representatives from the secret intelligence service (PET) have participated in a conference with Somali imams, which moderate Somalis are accusing of sympathizing with Al-Shabaab. Members of Danish People’s Party have questioned whether the secret service should engage with extremist Muslims. Minister of Justice, Lars Barfod, approves that the Secret Intelligence Service (PET) is in dialogue with extremist groups. He says that one of the secret service’s tasks is to prevent radicalization and that this is attained by talking with groups which have ‘controversial points of views’. Barfod says: “I’m confident that the secret service is able to make sure that the dialogue with different persons and groups doesn’t legitimize certain religious or political points of view”.
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.
In January 2010 Christian H. Hansen left Danish People’s Party after 12 years as MP for the party. He was dissatisfied that the party kept the heavy focus on immigrants and used a lot of time discussing a burqa ban in times of financial crisis and while Denmark was facing big trouble with securing a global deal on climate change at COP 15. In 2002 Denmark implemented one of Europe’s strictest laws of immigration in order to limit the possibilities for immigrants to settle in Denmark. Christian H. Hansen thinks the goal is achieved and that it is now time to turn to other challenges. He has therefore founded the new political party ‘Fokus’ (which means focus). The party’s key issues are health care, energy and climate change issues, and animal well-being.
The leader of the Conservative People’s Party, Lene Espersen, has not succeeded in creating internal consensus after the debate on a burqa ban. A group of seven dominant members challenges Lene Espersen regarding questions on integration. “We are an informal network of members of the Conservative People’s Party who doesn’t think we should compete with Danish People’s Party about who can disparage Muslims the most” Peter Norsk says. He is a member of the Conservative Party’s central board. The network is against the Conservative Party’s proposals on banning prayer halls at schools and that benefit fraud should lead to the loss of Danish citizenship.