More Danes convert to Islam and doubts about resurrection rise

An estimated 5,000 have become Muslims in the last ten years

Justling for column space with a story about another Danish priest who doesn't believe in the resurrection of Jesus is a report about how more ethnic Danes than ever are converting to Islam.

In spite of the negative image in the media, Muslim organisations and mosques report growing numbers of Danes becoming interested in their religion.

"This year's attendance figures have been high, presenting a huge increase, just as we saw during the Jyllands-Posten crisis," Imran Shah, a spokesman for the Islamic Society, told Metroxpress.

Need to believe in something
Danes often decide to convert to Islam because their partner is a Muslim or because they live near a Muslim community and become interested in the religion. 

"I grew up in a disrupted family with a father who is a drug addict. There were times when I needed to believe in something," Malene Dahl, a 19-year-old from Kolding, explained to Metroxpress.

"I chose Islam because I had Muslim friends, so they probably influenced me a little. I have been a Muslim for eight months now."

Some people visit a mosque out of curiosity and slowly build relationships with local Muslims as they feel inspired by their religious views.  

"Due to the negative focus of Islam as a religion, many Danes are interested to know what Muslims themselves think about the current discussion. When they engage in a dialogue they don't experience an 'uhh' moment, they experience an 'aha' moment," Imran Shah noted.

5,000 Danes already converted
Although there are no official figures on how many ethnic Danes have converted to Islam so far, Muslim organisations estimate that about 500 people per year have chosen the religion in recent years.

"The number sounds realistic," Brian Arly Jacobsen from the Institute of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies commented.

"It is probable there are between 5,000 to 6,000 Danish converts, and that more and more wish to convert to Islam." 

Danish priests don't believe in resurrection
Meanwhile, Ulla Charlotte Hansen, a priest from Funen, has said she has a hard time believing God created the world in six days or that Jesus came back from the dead.

"If I had to explain how the world was created, I would say scientists have a Big Bang theory," Hansen told Fyens Stiftstidende newspaper.

The debate about how the Bible should be interpreted flared up after a Copenhagen priest, Per Ramsdal, admitted he did not believe Jesus rose from his grave.

After an official meeting with his bishop, however, Ramsdal apologised for his statements.

The bishop of the Funen diocese, Tine Lindhardt, has recently sent a letter to all priests and parish councils on Funen encouraging them to openly debate what the resurrection means.