Danish mosques and Muslim organisations are condemning the weekend terror attacks that killed two men, wounded five police officers and resulted in the death of gunman Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein.
“We naturally take a strong position against this terrorist attack,” Oussama Mohammad El-Saadi, the spokesman and chairman of Grimhøjmoskeen in Aarhus, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We are against any type of violence and terror against innocent people, especially when it hits police officers. I am very sorry.”
El-Saadi said that he hopes the attacks do not create a backlash against Muslims.
“Even if one Muslim is responsible, all Muslims are not responsible,” he said.
Majid Tim Zakaria, a spokesperson for the mosque on Vibevej in northwest Copenhagen, echoed El-Saadi’s message.
“We condemn any act of terrorism and are shocked that anyone would take Islam hostage in this way," he told Jyllands-Posten.
Attacks could hurt Muslims
Zakaria feared that the attacks will come back to haunt the Muslim community.
“I will not lie, we may well be more exposed,” he said. “There are dark forces everywhere."
The door and entranceway to Zakaria’s mosque was defiled with a swastika following the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last month.
The association Muslims for Peace issued a statement calling for all Danes to stand together in the face of terrorism.
“We encourage everyone to stand together as Danes and fellow human beings and become stronger with more democracy, more openness, more humanism but never naivety,” read the statement.
The Danish Islamic Council said that the attack was a “criminal offence that violated religious and secular laws”. They called the attacks “cowardly” and said that they “were not done in our name”.
One group declines
At least one Muslim group would not distance itself from the attacks. In a statement, the Scandinavian branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir declined to take that stand.
"Some would require that Muslims must denounce this attack,” read the statement. “Others will advocate that not all Muslims are extreme, but are part of the Danish community as long as they are in favour of secularism and freedom of expression. Both reactions have essentially the same purpose. Muslims must accept secularism, and every Muslim who refuses and instead insists on Islamic values and laws will be considered as a potential security threat.”
DF says close them down
Martin Henriksen, a spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti, said that Hizb ut-Tahrir should be shut down for making that statement.
“This is an acceptance of terror so we should, of course, shut it down,” Henriksen told Jyllands-Posten. “I do not consider Hizb ut-Tahrir a small part of the Muslim community in Denmark, but rather a growing minority in the process of becoming larger and stronger.”
Henriksen said that there needed to be an open debate on the link between Islam and terrorism.
"I am delighted that the Danish Islamic Council has condemned the attack, but we must not make the mistake of thinking that they are suddenly moderates,” he said. “Just because there is someone who is more extreme, you are not suddenly a moderate.”