Relations cooling further between Det Islamiske Trossamfund and Copenhagen Municipality

The religious organisation based in Copenhagen has demanded compensation and an apology from three politicians

Free speech doesn't come cheap (Photo: iStock) Free speech doesn't come cheap (Photo: iStock)
January 15th, 2016 1:25 pm| by Shifa Rahaman
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Det Islamiske Trossamfund (DIT), an Islamic religious organisation in Copenhagen, has asked three politicians for compensation of 10,000 kroner each, reports Berlingske.

An apology has also been demanded for what DIT alleges were defamatory remarks made against the organisation that “have been devastating for co-operation between itself and [Copenhagen] Municipality”.

“Give us 10,000 kroner, apologise and don’t do it again”
The three politicians in question are Carl Christian Ebbesen (DF), Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard (V) and Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S), who all confirmed they received letters from DIT’s lawyer, Poul Hauch Fenger.

They have all been accused by DIT of making defamatory statements against the organisation and the controversial Islamic cleric Haitham al-Haddad who has previously been invited to speak at their community mosque located on Dortheavej in Copenhagen.

Fenger defended the decision to demand compensation, saying it wasn’t “decisive” and that politicians had to be careful about the statements they made.

Our position is that at a time when battlelines are drawn as starkly as they are, it is necessary to be extra careful to reproduce quotes correctly. It is a responsibility that is particularly incumbent upon politicians and media. We do not think that is was taken care of in these cases,” he said.

Battle stations
This is not the first time relations between DIT and Copenhagen Municipality have become strained.

The municipality previously made the decision to suspend working with the organisation till it publicly denounced some of the controversial remarks made by al-Haddad and committed to countering extremism within its ranks.

DIT now asserts that the statements made by the three politicians in question have exacerbated Copenhagen Municipality’s uneasiness with the group.

Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard, one of the politicians accused, has dismissed the complaints in the letter.

“I have given them the message that I do not believe I have made defamatory statements,” Berlingske quoted her as saying.