Friday, July 24, 2009

Some more on Islam and Denmark and then I'll find something else to write about....

I take the following from the article I found through the Wikipedia site Sigurt (a commenter on the post below) suggested... and I happen to know one of the authors. :-)

LINK to article

Some quotes:

"Currently, although more than twenty informal mosques exist in Copenhagen, in classrooms and basements spread throughout the city, there is no single gathering place for Muslims in Denmark. On Eid and other important holidays that necessitate large groups of Muslims worshipping together, they must resort to renting out conference halls or stadiums, Walliat Khan of the Copenhagen City Council explained in “Amager Bladet” on April 3, 2001."

(The only purpose built mosque is Nusrat Djahan, built in 1967. As Wikipedia states: "Other mosques exist but are not built for the explicit purpose. It is not forbidden to build mosques or any other religious buildings in Denmark but there are very strict zoning laws. ")

“The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but not religious equality,” writes Jørgen Bæk Simonsen (Simonsen 2001: 3).

“There should be freedom of religion but not equality of religion. Denmark is first and foremost a Christian country, and we should support our religion,” he [Peter Skaarup, DF member] says.

Jørgen Bæk Simonsen of the Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Copenhagen sees the lack of a mosque in Denmark as an embarrassment for Danes. “There definitely should be a mosque – it’s depressing that we’ve had Muslims for thirty years and we’re still denying them this basic respect,” he says.

The article also details the ongoing problems the Danish Muslim community has - lack of unity, for one. This makes sense if you think about the various different Islams that make up Greater Islam, in the same way that there are many Christianities that make up Greater Christendom. Example: I am NOT a Lutheran. Don't expect me to Lutheranize and don't expect me to frequent a Lutheran church. I've opted out of participating in church taxes, every fiber of my being cries out for separation of church and state, but it does rankle a bit that were I to decide to take part in organized religion, I would have a heck of a time getting to the one and only Anglican Church, which is in Copenhagen (but hey, 8 times a year the priest comes to Århus!).

Now I'm pretty laid back about churchy things. I was married by a Lutheran minister in a Lutheran church because the options were very limited (my father-in-law is a Lutheran minister, ponder that for a moment). But not everyone is and so trying to get various factions of Islam to work together is like asking the Irish Protestants and Catholics to build ONE church that will satisfy BOTH their needs.

A little crazy, if you ask me.

So what is the solution? I'd say the big one is changing what "integration" means in Danish. I'll wait until you all stop laughing. I can tell you what won't work: maintaining the status quo. The way we're headed will only continue to polarize the two sides and driver deeper divisions between nye Dansker and, for lack of a better term (and I approve the irony of my new term) gammel Dansker.

It's time we all became nye Dansker: Amerikaner-Dansker, Englænder-Dansker, Pakistaner-Dansker, etc.

Join me Danes, be part of New Denmark!


  1. I'll never forget how a big 'sprog skole' in a major Danish city refused to give muslims a room to pray in. Seemed utterly crazy to me for such a denial to be made. No harm done though because those who were doing Islam just continued to pray at the relevant times in the classrooms/hallways etc.

  2. Only one mosque in Denmark??? That absolutely boggles my mind. Sverre was saying that the Norwegian government is concerned about children who leave during summer vacation and do not return to school because of being married, "reeducated", etc. He says the Norwegian government has made provisions so that if a child feels she (in the marriage cases, it's almost always a girl) will be married off or sent to a country against her will, she can report her situation to the school and steps will be taken to prevent her from being taken from the country. They'll attempt to contact the family and mediate and resolve the situation.

  3. I have to add, it's naive to believe that every girl will step forward and move against her family. I'm sure it's very difficult to convince a girl from a strict family that having government officials intervene is not some sort of disloyalty. Especially when the girl is 12 or 13 years old. It's not a perfect solution, but at least it's a recourse that's not so extreme as pulling passports.

  4. According to the Danish gov I am already integrated because I have a job. So, I am nu-dansk and have been for bloody ages whether I knew it or not.

  5. I appreciate your insights. Please, continue to write on this topic whenever you feel compelled.

  6. It didn't say "one mosque" but one purpose-built mosque. I remember the mosque in Oslo. There was a big controversy about the muezzin call to prayer when I lived there, with the heathen-association demanding that if the muslims could call to prayer then they should be allowed to call non-prayer.


Keep it clean, don't be mean....