Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Danish values and not-so-Danish values

The New York Times three days ago decided to publish a story about the row over the depiction of the alleged prophet Mohammed. In it, imam Ahmed abu Laban, a leader of The Islamic Belief Society gets much airtime:

In Norrebro, an ethnically mixed neighborhood of Copenhagen where the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is buried and where kebab stands dot the tree-lined streets, Imam Ahmed Abu-Laban, a leader among Denmark's Muslims, bristles at what he calls the "Islam phobia" gripping the country. He asserted that the cartoons had been calculated to incite Muslims because it was well known that in Islam depictions of the prophet were considered blasphemy.

"We are being mentally tortured," Imam Ahmed said at his mosque, an anonymous building that looks more like an apartment complex than a house of worship. "The cartoons are an insult against Islam, an attempt by right-wing forces in this country to get a rise out of the Muslim community and so portray us as against Danish values."

Victimhood in high gear. Plus, he sounds pretty moderate, right? Problem is, that he has a past that, while well-known in Denmark, doesnt get portrayed when Laban (which, curiously means "mischief-maker" in Danish) acts as spokesman in the international press. The web-magazine of The Freedom of Printing Society, Sappho, has dug into the archives. One example:

On 21 August 1994 Abu Laban was interviewed in Jyllands-Posten after the Algerian terror organisation had run amok and murdered amongst others seven Christian monks and several foreigners. Abu Laban didnt want to give a clear-cut answer to the question of whether it was good or bad to kill. Pressured by the journalist, some sort of statement finally came out: "Maybe the tourists are spreading AIDS in Algeria, just like the Jews spread AIDS in Egypt.".

Unfortnately for him, jew-baiting IS against Danish culture. Denmark was the only country under German occupation during WWII to save its jewish population from the Holocaust.



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