Fw:"A view from Denmark"

Mustafa Hussain mustafa.hussain at GET2NET.DK
Sat Feb 11 01:44:02 UTC 2006

Dear All,
A copy of my interview to Brazilian (Spanish) daily,
Correio Braziliense, on its way - for orientation.
 Comments welcomed, if any.
Best Wishes,
Mustafa Hussain
Lecturer (External) in Sociology
Dept. of Political Science
Copenhagen University.

> * First of all: I am sure you have seen the cartoons at Jyllands-Posten.
> you think that they where offensive? If so or not, why do you think they
> published it?
> They were offensive, especially the one that depicts the prophet as a
> terrorist.
> Jyllands-Posten for many years has stood for as a mouth-piece for the
> extreme Right in
> this country and it has been stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment for many
> years.
> The publishing of the cartoons was just a culmination of its partisan
> journalism,
> and an unprovoked provocation.
> * What do you think about the reactions of the muslim population about it?
> Do you think there were over-reactions? Why could that be?
> There has been a mixed reaction by the Muslims in Denmark as well as
> as
> some ignored it and some deplored it, and yet some Muslims expressed their
> utmost
> anger through violent demonstrations, especially in the Middle East.
> However, it
> was all expected after the Prime Minister Mr. Fog Rasmussen declined
> arrogantly
> a request for meeting with ambassadors from the Muslim countries.
> * Culture editor Fleming Rose have said to the media that some Imans took
> the wrong cartoons to the middle-east, showing islamic population there
> completely different drawing, much more agressive and ofensive. Do you
> that this afirmative has basis? And if it does, what would that change?
> There are such rumors circulating in Danish mass media who from the day
> began blaming the Imams instead of Jyllands-Posten. And even if there is
> element of truth in such allegations, the caricatures in Jyllands-Posten
> themselves are so degrading
> to the holiest icon of Islam, that they were liable to hurt many Muslims.
> *  How has been Denmark´s government and population relation with islamic
> imigrants in the past years?
> Both the governemental policies on migrants and the public opinion, thanks
> to the subtle propaganda in the mass media,  have been hostile towards
> Muslim migrants throughout the 1990s.  This situation dereriorated further
> in the aftermath of September 11 tragedy.
> The present government which has been elected twice by the Danes is
> the country's affairs with the support of the extreme Right and
> ultra-nationalist party, Danish Peoples' Party. Almost all the
> bodies such as Council of Europe, UNHCR, European Monitoring Centre on
> Racism and Xenophobia, including international press, have condemned the
> ethnic relations in Denmark in their periodic reports and special feature
> columns recently.  Some of the best educated Muslims, including doctors,
> engineers and social scientists have left the country in the past few
> simply becuase of this anti-Muslim environment and institutional racism.
> * How is it right now? Has it been getting better/worse? Did anything
> in the past years?
> The situation has become worse and the Muslim population has become more
> alienated from the society. There are indeed sensible people among Danes
> are worried about the situation, but they are also marginalised by the
> strong wave of political Right supported by the press, and they are often
> ridiculed by labels such as "political correct".
> * What is the space for the islamic part of the population in Danish mass
> medias?
> Mainly they are always talked about as a problem or a threat for the
> society. Even the ministers of the present governement have often come up
> with public statements against Islam as a faith and the Muslim immigrants.
> * Could this episode of the cartoons in JP be a reflection of an old
> usually taken by the danish media?
> Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the media were not that explicitly
> hostile towards the Muslims. But now in a unipolar world of power, the
> Muslim immigrants have become an easy target of sensations and
> and the media has capitalised on this new situation.
> * I remenber that a year ago, two things were big issues on the media in
> Denmark: the fact that there were mo mosks in the coutnry and the
> was imposing a series of dificulties for the islam community to bild a
> one. And the creation of special schools for children of the imigrants,
> teaching in arabic and other specific cultural difirences.
> The present government is absolutely not happy with the private schools
> the
> linguistic minorities and has passed a bill that was intended to eliminate
> mother-tongue education in the state-run schools.
> The Muslims still do not have a proper mosque or a grave-yard in this
> country, except for a small mosque that was build by a minority sect,
> Ahmedias, back in the 1960s.
> * And the last one: how do you think things are going to be from now on
> islamic people living in Denmark? And how do you think it is going to be
> the danish media? Is the episode going to force any changes in the old
> habits?
> It is very difficult to predict long in the future. Hate-speech against
> Muslims has become a way of life in the important institutions of this
> country. Even the neighbouring countries such as Norway and Sweden are
> surprised by the Danish behaviour towards its Muslim population. As a
> sociologist all what I can say about the future is this dismal fact that
> when racialised practice becomes institutionalised and "normal", it is
> extremely difficult to alter the discourse. I can not see any change of
> attitude among the political elite either in the near future. So there are
> reasons to be pessimistic about the precarious Danish situation.
> --------
> p.s.: Just one last thing! When you reply, can you send it also to
> gisela.blanco at correioweb.com.br ? That would help me if I can´t check this
> e-mail here when I´m at work... thank you very much!

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