Ramadan show draws ire

DR will mark the end of Ramadan next week with music and workshops, but its own deputy chairman compares it to celebrating the Hitler youth

National broadcaster DR will mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, next week by organising a festive event that includes music and workshops inside Koncerthuset, as well as several radio programs.

But not everyone is in a festive mood.

Ole Hyltoft, DR’s deputy chairman, calls it a terrifying gamble and contends that Islam has political and warlike beliefs aimed at all non-Muslims.

“I keep thinking about the many ignorant and naïve Danes who celebrated the Hitler Youth in the 1930s for the healthy lifestyle, good food and fresh music that the young Germans embraced,” Hyltoft told Politiken newspaper. “Is it right that DR launch such a controversial project without discussing it with the board?”

Despite recently announcing that she would step down as Dansk Folkeparti's leader, Pia Kjærsgaard showed she wasn’t going to pull out of the limelight and agreed with Hyltoft, who was appointed to DR by Dansk Folkeparti in 2007.

“I guess we have to be force-fed this stuff. Wherever we turn, we have to hear something about Eid,” Kjærsgaard told Politiken, referring to the three-day feast that Muslims celebrate when Ramadan ends. Kjærsgaard herself criticised a 2010 Ramadan dinner held in Snapstinget, a restaurant in the parliament building.

But Nihad Hodzic, spokesperson for Muslim interest group Muslimer i Dialog, disagrees with Hyltoft’s outburst, saying that there is nothing wrong with DR focusing on the end of Ramadan.

“What is terrifying is that there is a man on the board that thinks it’s “terrifying” to include people in a public service event,“ Hodzic told Politiken. “The purpose of public service is to include the public, which Muslims are part of.”

The head of DR Culture, Morten Hesseldahl, dismissed Hyltoft’s objections by saying that it’s a shame that DR hadn’t properly covered Ramadan until now.

“And we aren’t force-feeding anything to anyone. But we do believe that it’s important to cover the reality out there. DR doesn’t side with any particular religion,” Hesseldahl told Politiken.

All of next week, the radio station P3 will be concentrating their efforts on a pre-party to Eid and on Monday, August 20, it will all culminate in a concert at Koncerhuset. The radio stations P1, P2 and P4 will also be debating Ramadan during the upcoming week.