Minister cancels appearance at anti-radicalism conference

Integration minister says she will not share stage with a controversial Muslim scholar that helped create Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws

September 6th, 2012 1:37 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

The minister for integration and social affairs, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), has pulled out of a conference on religious radicalism next week after she discovered that one of the speakers helped fashion Pakistan’s highly controversial anti-blasphemy laws.

The conference’s organisers, the Danish Ethnic Youth Council, had invited the scholar Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, leader of the Muslim organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran, to speak on tackling religious radicalisation. The head of the domestic intelligence agency PET, Jakob Scharf, was also invited.

While ul-Qadri is best known for declaring a fatwa, or religious ruling, against terrorism, he also worked as a legal adviser to the Pakistani government in the shaping of anti-blasphemy laws that were recently used to arrest a mentally-challenged girl for allegedly burning the Koran.

This morning, Hækkerup announced that had she would not have agreed to speak at the Conference for Political and Religious Radicalism, which is being held at Copenhagen Business School on September 11, if she had known that ul-Qadri was also planning on attending.

“I am very angry at being connected with something that is so contrary to my views,” Hækkerup told Ritzau. “Politically, I see no reason to take part in the debate. I think it is deplorable that he is coming.”

On the conference's event page, the Danish Ethnic Youth Council confirmed that Hækkerup had cancelled.

Jaleh Tavakoli, a blogger for Jyllands-Posten newspaper and member of City Council, wrote on Sunday that the only reason that ul-Qadri would be a partner in the fight against religious radicalism, is his 2010 fatwa against terrorism.

“The leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran, who is expected to speak at the conference in Copenhagen, is a proponent of, and has actively participated in, the process of Islamisation that lead to the type of legislation that the girl is being charged under,” Tavakoli wrote. “Simply put, he has been a legal adviser in connection with [Pakistan's] establishing of Sharia law and blasphemy laws which could mean death for many Christians, atheists and Muslims.”

Ul-Qadri is on a six-day tour of Denmark that includes speaking at the European Peace Conference at Tivoli Congress Center on Sunday. He was nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize and has taken a prominent stance against the use of the Koran to justify terrorism.

Rockstar pig nursed a brutal hangover in style over the weekend (photo: Landsskuet - Dyreskuet i Herning Facebook page)
A lying pig, but no porkie pies
You can imagine that some of the cleaners' comments following a party for 1...
Glostrup, Rødovre, Ballerup and Frederiksberg were among the 15 municipalities that received nothing from 2011-2013 (photo: iStock)
Smaller municipalities missing out on welfare funds for the vulnerable
Not all of Denmark's 98 municipalities reap the rewards from the slush fun...
Wozniacki will regret this loss more than most given her easy draw (photo: si.robi)
Wozniacki out of Wimbledon
Caroline Wozniacki has once again failed to advance beyond the fourth round...
About 30,000 Jersey bull calves are put down in Denmark every year (photo: iStock)
New Danish project to curb euthanisation of Jersey calves
Every year some 30,000 Jersey bull calves are put down at Danish farms and ...
Passengers with bikes have increased from 2.1 to 9 million since 2010 (photo: Leif Jørgensen)
Every tenth S-train passenger travels with a bicycle
There has been a marked increase in passengers taking their bikes onto the ...
Pranov hopes that Heliac can be used to replace open fires used for cooking in developing countries (photo: Paul R Caron)
Danish project could save lives in developing countries
Danish engineer Henrik Pranov has developed a solar panel using plastic fil...