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Symbolic action: building a mosque

Herbert Pundik, a senior figure at the Danish paper Politiken now suggests that building a mosque would be a good counter-move to the overblown, super-heated debacle going on around the Muhammed-cartoons.

And I for one think that is the most constructive suggestion that has come from anyone in Denmark during the incident.

As it is today, Danish moslems gather in old factory-buildings, garages and basements to worship. You see them flock to these dismal places every friday and can't help thinking that there is a reason why some become disgruntled. Who wouldn't, worshipping the Lord of the World in a damp garage, with a smell of mold and old farts?

So it is about time that the Danish moslems got a mosque that would be graceful and dignified.

If this was done through a popular collection with some public donation as well, this could be a nice way to signal "Hey, Islam has been around for 30+ years. We know it won't dissappear like that, so we would like to get it out into the light and show that the majority of Danes are all for religious freedom - and that this means not hiding away in a basement." Furthermore it would keep the Saudis away from such a project, definitively a good symbolic message to the Danes who are wary of Islam alltogether.

Of course there are going to be groups of young, bearded and disgruntled "talebeh" in such a new, light, Danish-design mosque - plotting the Caliphate. But at least they will know that the Danish people gave them the very table around which any conspiracy against Denmark should be thought out.

And of course it is going to be a hassle with neighbours complaining about the call of the muezzin and all that strangeness (if Moslems only had had to do the call to prayer on sunday mornings at 9, then it could blend in nicely with the churchbells). But tough luck. Symbolic diplomacy means symbolic concessions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The muslim society of denmark is not one unified congegration, they have had the offer of a mosque for years, but don´t have the abillities to cooperate with each other...

9/2/06 10:56

Blogger Nis said...

True that, anonymous. But sometimes a kick in the behind is what is needed. Of course you can't force people to accept a mosque - but if you suddenly have the money, the goodwill and the land to build upon I guess it would spur it on. Furthermore it should be seen as an all-danish project, not just a moslem one - as of today the Danish architects PLOT actually came up with a very nice suggestion.

9/2/06 11:06


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