Friday, March 31, 2006

Death threats to members of Democratic Muslims. UPDATED

It is not only Naser Khader, the moderate muslim who formed the organisation Democratic Muslims, who has received death threats. Before the general assembly meeting today several members report to Danish paper Politiken that they have been threatened by other muslims who do not support their views on how to integrate muslim faith into a modern society.

The threats were dealt with in a board meeting last Sunday. A member of the board wants to leave the board to become an ordinary member; she tells that she has been spat on in the streets, her hand was twisted at her work place, and she feels threatened in her Copenhagen neighbourhood.

These members of Democratic Muslims have been asked by other muslims to distance themselves from their "heretic thoughts", says Ibrahim Ramadan, cashier in Democratic Muslims and member of the board. In Aarhus, which is generally regarded as a hotbed of radical islamism, a member of the representative assembly of Democratic Muslims, Wisam Muhanna, has been threatened by a group of imams in one of the city's mosques. They said repeatedly "It only takes a single knife. Then he has had it", until they knew he had heard it. Muhanna, who is a Danish citizen, married to a Dane and father of three children, has received phone calls in his home with a voice stating: "You'll get punished. Be sure of that."

Politiken is a centre-left, generally well-informed paper, mostly with readers based in the Copenhagen area, but also with a national circulation. It was previously aligned with the social liberal party, the Radicals, but today it is independent of definite partisan political views.

According to the homepage of Democratic Muslims, to become a member of the organisation you have to sign that you adhere to the following principles:

The basis of our work is the Danish constitution, the basic principles of democracy and the human rights, as these have been formulated in the human rights conventions of the UN and the European Council.
The broad muslim identity of the members and the culture associaation is non-partisan, but it must represent the muslim identity and culture in the Danish society.
Freedom of expression: All human beings have equal right to expression in the public debate.
Equality: All men are equal, regardless of all differences in way of life, beliefs, origin and gender. All human beings have a right to decide over their own lives and future.
Separation of state and religion: We consider religion a private matter.
Against the death penalty: We are unequivocal opponents of the death penalty. Source: Demokratiske Muslimer.

About 100 members participated in the general assembly on April 1st according to the Danish press. After the meeting Naser Khader reaffirmed his determination to become minister of integration in a government with participation of the Radicals. He had become more determined to go for this goal, he said, after the perceived death threats emitted against him in case of him becoming minister of integration. He furthermore expressed his determination to combat radical islamism.


Blogger Sophia said...

It is obvious that there are tensions in the muslim communities in European countries between 'moderates' and radicals related to the integration process.

However I think that host countries should not meddle into these tensions and most of all should not side with provocateurs. I don't know the dynamics of the Danish muslim community but in the Netherland, I don't consider Hirsi Ali as a moderate muslim, I consider her as a provocateur.
It is really imortant to distinguish between real reformers, like Tariq Ramadan who try to reform without breaking bridges within the community and provocateurs like Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji in Canada who adopt completely the western point of view and are not reformers in my opinion because their point of view is so extreme that they will never be able to rally but only to provoke tensions.

11:34 AM  

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