Denmark’s Right-Wing Party Sparks Outrage For Calling Muslims To Worship In “Warehouses”
DPP’s spokesperson, Martin Henriksen has sparked outrage after calling for Muslims to move their worship to “unmarked” buildings.

The Danish MP Henriksen told Arab News that Muslim worship is “fine” if the praying ritual takes place in “normal buildings without minarets”, such as “offices or warehouses.”

The Danish People’s Party (DPP) is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament, which includes center-right parties like the UK’s ruling Conservative Party.

Henriksen claimed that he takes a stand against the divisive symbolism of traditional mosques, added: “We stand against those who try to divide themselves from society,”

He also said: “I was not against Muslims or Islam” and that individuals should be free to practice their faith as long as they abide by the rules of the “Danish constitution.”

Last week, Anti-immigration populist DPP called for a ban on the construction of new mosques, as part of a plan to tackle “ghettos” in the country. Other measures unveiled in the package include an 8 p.m. curfew for young people.

The DPP, the second largest party in the Danish parliament aims to ban the construction of mosques in cities where there are social problems, Henriksen confirmed.

Henriksen’s rhetoric is redolent of the 2009 Swiss minaret referendum, the federal popular initiative in Switzerland, which successfully prevented the construction of Mosque minarets in the country. Although the government opposed the ban, saying it would harm the nation’s image, particularly in the eyes of Muslims.

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Martin Baltisser, the Swiss People’s Party general secretary, told the BBC at the time: “This was a vote against minarets as symbols of Islamic power.”

The director of CAABU, Council for Arab British Understanding, Chris Doyle said: “This is a lop-sided view. What about churches or Hindu temples? All these can also been as symbols of different religions living peacefully and cohabiting and assimilating well. It’s wrong to point out mosques and make Muslims feel like they are third class citizens. A minaret is something that shouldn’t be seen as wrong or divisive in any way shape or form.”

“As if not building mosques would in any way resolve the problem. This problem is not about mosques … and this rhetoric is pandering to a populist ethos which is anti-Muslim. (The DPP’s proposal is) completely counterproductive and wrong at every level.” He added.

Doyle continued saying: “It will only exacerbate hate crime and bigotry which is growing in Europe. There are concerns about mass immigration into the EU and legitimate worries about extremist attacks in Europe, but none of that warrants the stopping of building mosques.”

He also added that the Conservatives should “seriously question” being allies in the European Parliament with a party which has such extremist views.

Shaista Aziz, a journalist, and founder of the Everyday Bigotry Project also said: “Why should mosques not look like mosques? Freedom to worship is a basic human right and should be afforded to all citizens including Muslims. It appears Denmark wants to go down the same road as France and push Muslims into unmarked buildings – the only thing this does is create further alienation of a marginalized community and create further hostility at a time of rising open racism and anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe.”

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