It’s not typical for a meeting of the residents’ board of a housing association to be attended by police officers or Russian TV crews. But then again, this isn’t a typical housing association.
The Egedalsvænge housing association in the northern Zealand town of Kokkedal found itself the unwitting centre of a national ‘War on Christmas’ after its Muslim-majority board voted against purchasing an annual Christmas tree. The decision to not get a 7,000 kroner Christmas tree came shortly after the board spent 60,000 kroner on a party celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid.
After weeks of controversy − which have featured charged words from politicians, fears of a ‘Muslim takeover’, attacks against journalists and death threats against the culture minister − the housing association held a general meeting last night in which a new board, with an ethnic Dane as the new chairman, was selected. The five Muslims on the board were also re-elected to their positions.
According to reports from the national press, who were there in full force, the meeting was also attended by television crews from Russia and France. The mood at the five-hour meeting was described by Politiken newspaper as “aggressive”.
“At first people were really crazy,” a resident who wished to remain anonymous told Politiken. “They yelled and had a lot of things they wanted to get off their chests. But then it got better and the mood became okay.”
During the course of the meeting, Anders Brøgger, who is ethinically Danish, was selected as the new chairman over two other candidates: Ismail Sahan and Ismael Nestasi. Brøgger replaces Karin Leegaard Hansen, who resigned saying she felt threatened and intended to leave the area. According to DR News, Brøgger is in favour of procuring a Christmas tree. Two other new members were also elected to the board, both of whom were described by DR News as being “Christmas tree-friendly”.
But perhaps those in Kokkedal who want a tree, and those nationwide who have used the incident as a rallying cry to protect traditional Danish values, shouldn’t rush out to get the ornaments just yet. A decision on whether or not to get a tree is said to be first coming in the next few days.