The Arab Street is owed an apology!

Most of the time I post stuff about Denmark, it tends to be bad news--of course, if you're a Muslim observer of Danish politics there's often been, sadly, pretty good reason for that--so I thought I'd try to atone a bit by translating this very thoughtful and topical piece by a Danish pundit on the lessons of the Arab Spring. One could quibble about a few small things (e.g., identifying Saudi-funded establishments as "ultra-orthodox"; their claim to orthodoxy is rather … [Read more...]

Yallahrup Færgeby

What would you get if you crossed the early 1990s urban themed variety show "In Living Color"  with the UK's Muppets-style political parody show "The Spitting Image" and then plopped it in the middle of Scandinavia?   It might look something like "Yallahrup Færgeby". [HT: Islam in Europe] The program follows the misadventures of two dimwitted boys of Middle Eastern background in  the fictional Danish ghetto suburb neighborhood of Yallahrup … [Read more...]

Jyllands-Posten’s noble efforts finally bear fruit

Some considerably less upbeat news from the state of Denmark, and from Jutland, Jylland-Posten's heartland.  The Danish newspaper Politiken reports (my translation): According to Aalborg Police, approximately 110 threating letters have been mailed directly to northern Jutlanders with Muslim-sounding names. "In the past, we have had individual cases of racism but nothing at all on this scale.  So we take it very seriously.  It is deeply tasteless action and a punishable … [Read more...]

Priests spank imams in Denmark

This has to be one of the odder images of interfaith dialogue yet. Priests and  imams settling the Crusades on the soccer field.  I'm sad to report that my team (though I must confess to being a bit torn, being both Danish and Muslim) got thrashed 7-0, and despite some healthy trash talking (apparently, the imams made the mistake of playfully promising to "eat them for breakfast"; I guess the priests decided to dust off their Viking helms and just go medieval on them). Too … [Read more...]

National Review on Denmark’s “Democratic Muslims”

There's an unremarkable piece in The National Review by Andrew Stuttaford on Denmark's Naser Khader and his Democratic Muslims group. Predictably, the article cites Ahmed Akkari's infamous quip about killing Khader by blowing up the Ministry of Integration as prima facie proof of dangerous extremism, as opposed to what such silly melodramatic declarations generally are in the real world, exagerrations for dramatic effect and/or rants to let off steam. Yes, I said "silly", not … [Read more...]

Random Platitudes dissects the cartoon row

A Danish academic has provided a series of really informative and insightful posts on the historical backdrop to the cartoon controversy (e.g., Random Platitudes - The "Cartoon Row" dissected -- part 1) .  He gets into detail about recent Danish history and shows the real (and underreported) politico-cultural context to this truly bizarre turn of events.  And, unlike most of the Danish blogs providing intelligent analysis on the matter, he writes in English.Grab a cup of … [Read more...]

Die Zeit on ‘Fortress Denmark’

Germany's Die Zeit weekly has just run a series of withering pieces on Denmark's rising xenophobia,  "In der Festung Dänemark"(which I'm pretty sure means "In Fortress Denmark"). The Danish newspaper Politiken has a summary of the coverage in Danish (appropriately entitled "Tysk magasin hudfletter Danmark", German magazine flays Denmark).  Haven't found a summary in English yet. Some interesting points: I've noted before how I suspected that few Danes … [Read more...]

The Ugly Duckling and the Cartoons

Haven't gotten a chance to read it yet completely, but the Danish Institute for International Studies has put out an intriguing analysis of  the cartoon controversy entitled "The Danish Ugly Duckling and the Mohammed Cartoons".  (The ubiquitious metaphor of the "ugly duckling", if you didn't already know, comes from the timeless tales of Denmark's greatest storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen.  He also wrote other classic and deeply symbolic fairytales like "The Little Mermaid", … [Read more...]

Learning (and learning to be) Danish

Some non-cartoon related musings about Denmark."Danish queen raps radical Islam" the queen is quoted as voicing disapproval of "these people for whom religion is their entire life".I'm not sure how I feel about this point.  I certainly object to the way some Muslims subject every aspect of life and the world to a narrow, sometimes, purritanical conception of Islam, BUT I fear that this is not what she's talking about.  My worry is that the Queen considers a desire … [Read more...]

“Cartoons story uses a tired script”

The author is a good friend of mineCartoons story uses a tired script - baltimoresun.com Americans are thoroughly comfortable with what we know well, such as in thinking that the enlightened West basks in the doctrine of free speech while pious Muslims condemn hate-filled cartoons with violent demonstrations. … [Read more...]