Danish Muslim youth organisation criticised for inviting controversial imam to speak at event
The Muslim youth organisation Muslimsk Ungdom i Danmark has attracted strong criticism for its decision to invite the controversial preacher Shahid Mehdi to speak at an event on Sunday, TV2 News reports.
Mehdi was quoted in 2004 as saying that women who don’t wear headscarves are in many ways themselves to blame if they are raped.
Lars Aslan Rasmussen, a member of Copenhagen’s municipal council for Socialdemokraterne, is among the critics of Mehdi’s involvement in the event. Rasmussen commented on the event’s timing, coming soon after multiple sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in the German city of Cologne, in which North African and Arabic men are the suspects.
“The timing is extremely bad in light of what happened in Cologne. It would have been very good to have an imam that, for example, spoke about equal rights of women and men instead,” he said.
Damaging to Muslims’ reputation
According to Rasmussen, Muslimsk Ungdom giving Mehdi a platform risks exacerbating the feeling some Muslims are experiencing of being under suspicion as rapists.
“This is very unfortunate and I’m sure that it will damage many Muslims’ reputation,” he said.
The event is being held at the premises of the Danish Islamic Society Det Islamiske Trossamfund, with which Copenhagen Municipality decided to sever co-operation last year. Neither Muslimsk Ungdom i Danmark nor Det Islamiske Trossamfund responded to TV2’s request for comment on the case.