Sunday, May 20, 2007

Feminist, socialist, devout Muslim: woman who has thrown Denmark into turmoil

Interesting article about a Danish-Muslim woman who is running for Parliament.

The 25-year-old social worker, student and town councillor describes herself as a feminist, a democrat, and a socialist. She has gay friends, opposes the death penalty, supports abortion rights, and could not care less what goes on in other people's bedrooms. In short, a tolerant Scandinavian and European.

She is also a Palestinian and a devout Muslim who insists on wearing a headscarf, who refuses, on religious grounds, to shake hands with males, and who is bidding fair to be the first Muslim woman ever to enter the Folketing, the Danish parliament in Copenhagen...

The 25-year-old social worker, student and town councilor describes herself as a feminist, a democrat, and a socialist. She has gay friends, opposes the death penalty, supports abortion rights, and could not care less what goes on in other people's bedrooms. In short, a tolerant Scandinavian and European.

I think she should have the right to wear a scarf if this is what she believes. Why can't she be a tolerant Scandinavian and a Muslim who believes she should cover?

"This goes far beyond the extreme right," says Toger Seidenfaden, editor of the Politiken daily newspaper. "Asmaa is insisting on the right to be a religious Muslim and that's provoking broad debate among the public."

I don't know about Denmark, but in the US she would have the right to wear a scarf and get a job anywhere.

"We don't like the idea of her performing as an Islamist in the parliament," says DFP spokesman Kim Eskildsen. "We find it wrong that she'll use the parliament as a tool for Islamism ... We don't consider this woman a Nazi. But the way the headscarf is used is comparable to other totalitarian symbols."

Why are they afraid of a small scarf? Do they think all Muslims are terrorists? Just because she wears a scarf doesn't mean she will try to make everyone in the country Muslim or use Parliament as a tool for Islam. That is ridiculous. She should be judged on more than just her looks.

Ironically, Muslims are not on her side either!

But conservative Muslim leaders are also disapproving of her activism.

"Some Muslims don't think it's right for a female to act like this. They go to my father and tell him, get her married, get her married," she laughs. "Others think you can't be Muslim and Danish at the same time. Some of the Muslims and the extreme right are just the same.

I say go girl. Go with what you believe. As long as you aren't saying that all non-Muslims are going to hell and stuff like that, then live your life according to your own path.

Muslims are more integrated in society in the United States, in all kinds of jobs and parts of the country. They have jobs in government and schools. I think they need this in Denmark, so they won't think that all Muslims are terrorists or want to convert all non-Muslims.

A.

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