Academic defends integration efforts of Danish Muslims

A mosque in Nørrebro has announced it is actively looking to promote integration by building bridges between Islam and Danish society.

The statement from the Hamad Bin Khalifa Mosque on Rovsingegade follows a difficult week for Danish Muslims in which a poll conducted by YouGov for MetroXpress revealed that 50 percent of the population want a limit on the number of Muslims living in Denmark – some 250,000 according to recent estimates.

Muslims misrepresented
The finding is a worrying one for Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, a professor at Copenhagen University, who argues that mosques like Hamad Bin Khalifa have been promoting integration for decades.

“There are only two Islamic fractions operating in Denmark who promote isolation from Danish society,” Simonsen told Politiken.

“And they have next to zero influence in the Islamic community.”

Drawing Mohammed permissible
Appearing on the DR program 'Detektor', one Danish imam, Fatih Alev, even went as far as to say that non-Muslims can draw the Prophet Mohammed, provided they don't ridicule him.

The concession might surprise many as nearly ten years on from Jyllands-Posten's publication of its Mohammed drawings, the ripples are still being felt today – most recently in the January attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Rose up for Nobel Prize
In related news, Flemming Rose, the newspaper's culture editor at the time of the 2005 publication, has been nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

Although he is seen as an outsider for the award, Rose was nominated by a Norwegian MP for his strong stance on free speech.