Denmark: Culture minister apologises for Muslim commentsCulture minister apologises for Muslim comments
Culture Minister Brian Mikkelsen has apologised for his statements that a canon of the country's cultural heritage would serve as a tool to fight the influence of Muslim culture. The statement upset the work of the canon committee and several members threatened to resign, national broadcaster DR reported. Mikkelsen wrote on his ministry's website, that the cultural canon had no ties to any political party. 'I would also like to reject any attempt to link the cultural canon together with the right-of-centre cultural struggle, which deals with fundamentalism versus democracy. I see the non-political element as one of the cultural canon's finest qualities and have no intention of placing it inside a fixed political frame,' Mikkelsen said. Despite a crisis meeting on Thursday to resolve differences, tensions remained high between Mikkelsen and the canon committee, appointed to create a canon of 84 Danish cultural works in areas such as architecture, film, and literature. Several members of the committee threatened to abandon the project after Mikkelsen's statements at the Conservative Party's national congress. 'In the middle of our country a parallel society is developing in which minorities practice their Middle Age norms and undemocratic mindset. We cannot and will not accept this,' Mikkelsen said in his speech over the weekend, adding that the canon should be used to promote Danish values, 'because not all values are equally good'.
Minister's Muslim culture comments upset canon work
Daily newspaper Politiken questioned Mikkelsen on Tuesday as to whether he felt the canon represented a culture that is better than immigrants' own culture. 'Yes, it is better. Yes. I am an unashamed opponent of cultural relativism, because I feel some things are better than others,' he said. Members of the committee felt that Mikkelsen's comments gave the cultural canon project a political slant. 'I am simply so outraged,' said author and professor of literature Mette Winge. 'Danish culture should not be used to stigmatise an entire population group.' The chairman of the committee, Professor Jørn Lund, backed her up. 'I see the canon project as an attempt to point to a number of valuable works of art, but not as an instruction manual in Danish values. The project should be considered as a tour of good artistic experiences, not as a pointed finger,' he said.