The Danish Islamic Council chose one of the most potentially auspicious weeks in its history to confirm an attitude that is prevalent across the Islamic world: homosexuality is wrong and should be considered an illness.
Or at least that is how Jyllands-Posten reported the matter on Tuesday evening, just two days ahead of the opening of Denmark’s first ever grand mosque in Nordvest – a place of worship that critics fear will bring a more conservative form of the religion to these shores, particularly given that Qatar donated 150 million kroner to its construction.
Homosexuality is wrong
Mohamed Al Maimouni, a spokesperson for the Danish Islamic Council – who earlier in the week lamented the limited number of politicians attending the opening (see page 2) – made the comments.
“Within Islam, homosexuality is wrong, of course,” he told Jyllands-Posten. “It’s considered an illness.”
Al Maimouni underlined that everyone was welcome at the mosque whatever their sexual orientation, and that they would be happy to advise people who want to “get out of the situation they are in”.
The minister of integration, Manu Sareen, called the remarks ridiculous.
“That homosexuality should be a disease is a completely absurd statement, and I think it is sad that a prominent person within Islam comes forward with rubbish like that in today’s Denmark,” Sareen said.
Martin Henriksen, the integration spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti, said that the statement was an example of the conservative form of Islam coming from Qatar.
Not all negative
However, left-leaning Information reported more positively on the mosque’s opening. Despite the mosque being Sunni-run, it reported, Shia muslims, including the imam Seyed Mohammed Khademi, will be taking part in the opening ceremony – very much in contrast to the bloody relations between the groups in the Middle East.
The SF member of parliament Özlem Sara Cekic was also positive.
“I am not a follower of Qatar’s form of government or its view on women, but I don’t have a problem visiting the new mosque, even though it’s co-financed by Qatar,” she told Jyllands-Posten
“Just like I don’t have a problem visiting the Opera House, even though it was financed by Maersk.”
Qatar fears persist
The interplay between Islam and homosexuality has recently been the subject of international media attention as commentators look ahead to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
According to Amnesty International, in the Gulf state both male and female homosexual relations can result in the death penalty.