Islam dissident backs PM in disputeIslam dissident backs PM in dispute
European leaders should step forward and support Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's refusal to meet with eleven Muslim ambassadors to discuss press coverage of Islam, Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali said on Sunday. Somalian-born Hirsi Ali, who is considered one of northern Europe's staunchest Islam opponents, has lived under police protection for a year, ever since Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered for his critical film on women in Islam, which Hirsi Ali penned. Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that the 36-year-old politician and debater supported whole-heartedly the paper's decision to call for and print cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed last month, an action considered blasphemous by devout Muslims and an unneeded provocation by many Danish politicians and journalists.
The ambassadors of eleven Muslim countries have deplored the newspaper's decision and asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is also the minister of press issues. Rasmussen, however, declined to meet the ambassadors, saying that if they had the slightest understanding of the workings of Danish society, they would know that he had no desire or powers to change the newspaper's editorial policies. 'The Danish prime minister's reply to the ambassadors should be an example for every European leader,' Hirsi Ali told Jyllands-Posten's reporter. 'The prime minister steps forward to tell Muslims loud and clear that the freedom of expression is a deciding factor for a free society, and that a prime minister in a free society neither can nor wishes to regulate what newspapers do or do not do. The fact that he makes a special point of explaining this to the ambassador from Turkey - which is seeking entrance to the EU - is an expression of true statesmanship.'
Hirsi Ali, who says she suffered physical violence at the hands of her Islamic teacher in her country of birth and had to escape from her family when they tried to have her married against her will, criticises Islam as a totalitarian religion, which makes a special point of debasing women. She said Jyllands-Posten had made the right decision to print the caricatures of Mohammed, and urged media in other countries to do the same. 'It's necessary to taunt Muslims on their relationship with Mohammed, because otherwise we will never have the dialogue we need to establish with Muslims on the most central question: Do you really feel that the prophet Mohammed is completely infallible, and that every Muslim in Europe in 2005 should follow the way of life the prophet had 1400 years ago, as the Koran dictates? The provocation is necessary to spark the debate,' Hirsi Ali said.
Religious headscarves unwanted in Denmark
According to a survey, carried out for the free daily Metroexpress nearly one in two Danes believe that religious headscarves, as often wore by Muslim women, should be banned in Denmark. The Danish People's Party have decided after seeing the surveys results, to once again propose a new parliamentary law banning the wearing of headscarves in schools. Four years ago, they attempted to impose a similar ban but were not supported in parliament by any other party. The Social Liberals have already announced they would not support any ban on religious headscarves. Likewise, the Lord Major of Århus Louise Gade said that any ban in Århus would only be introduced against her strong opposition. "There are far more important things to take issue with than what clothes people wear," she said.
Minister complains of pampered immigrants
Immigrants and foreigners in Denmark are being pampered by the social services and therefore cannot find work, the Employment Minster told reporters today. Employment Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen is demanding that social workers and their bosses focus far more on getting people into jobs, as only one in five interviews between clients and social workers are centred around job seeking. The president of the Social workers Union told reporters that his members are doing everything humanly possible to find work for immigrants; the problem is that jobs for them simply do not exist.