In Copenhagen, Push to Build Mosques Is Met With Resistance

Paris has its grand mosque, on the Left Bank. So does Rome, the city of the pope. Yet despite a sizable Muslim population, this Danish city has nothing but the occasional tiny storefront Muslim place of worship.

The city, Denmark’s capital, is now inching toward construction of not one, but two grand mosques. In August, the city council approved the construction of a Shiite Muslim mosque, replete with two 104-foot-tall minarets, in an industrial quarter on the site of a former factory. Plans are also afoot for a Sunni mosque. But it has been a long and complicated process, tangled up in local politics and the publication four years ago of cartoons mocking Islam.

The difficulties reflect the tortuous path Denmark has taken in dealing with its immigrants, most of whom are Muslim. Copenhagen in particular has been racked by gang wars, with shootouts and killings in recent months between groups of Hells Angels and immigrant bands.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Denmark, Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

21 comments on “In Copenhagen, Push to Build Mosques Is Met With Resistance

  1. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Go ahead and let them build it…just ensure that there is a billboard with the cartoon of Mohamed on it, the one that raised so much awareness about the religion of peace, directly across the street. They can exercise their freedom of religion at the same time they honor everyone else’s freedom of speech.

  2. Marcus Pius says:

    Don’t overstate the situation: the Danes think they have a big social problem when there are three slightly naughty boys shouting loudly. Compared to almost any other Western capital city I know, Copenhagen is a haven of tranquility, cleanliness and social order.

  3. Fr. Dale says:

    Fr. Mark,
    Apparently you have not spent a weekend night attempting to sleep in a hotel in downtown Copenhagen. The drunken crowds, street noise and police sirens continue on into the morning.

  4. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    Do not overlook one crucial fact: for at least the last thousand years Muslims have worked diligently and intentionally to [b]make city-scapes look and [i]sound[/i] Muslim.[/b] The immense mosque in Kampala was built and financed by the Qaddafi regime in Libya, and is many times larger than anything possibly needed by Muslims in southern Uganda.

    That wasn’t the purpose. The mosque dominates the city-scape.

    You might wish to read [url=]Phillip Jenkins’ excellent work on the lost Christianity of Asia[/url] to learn in depressing detail what a longstanding problem this has been.

  5. Marcus Pius says:

    Dcn Dale: how many other capital cities have you spent a night in the middle of? Copenhagen is about the quietest in Western Europe.

  6. Fr. Dale says:

    Fr. Mark,
    We’ve learned not to stay in a hotel in any capital city on a weekend. If you are arguing that Copenhagen is quiet by comparison, it doesn’t make any difference. I believe there is a crying need for Evangelism in a post Christian Scandinavia. During my time spent there, there was a malaise that was palpable. It reminds me of the song line “If that’s all there is then let’s break out the booze and have a ball”. The Muslim presence is obvious, ascending and inevitable. The Scandinavian birth rate has declined below replacement levels even when the people are paid to have children.

  7. Marcus Pius says:

    Dcn Dale: the Danish non-ethnic minority population is rising rapidly at the moment, actually. Everywhere you look, you see well-educated, healthy young mothers or fathers pushing prams, thanks to a lot of child-support and taxation policies which most Americans would think of as socialist.

    There is no palpable malaise, what a bizarre thing to say! Denmark annually tops the EU happiness survey, and is one of the most prosperous and equal societies in the world. Nor is is post-Christian. Nearly 90% of the population voluntarily pay their tithe to the Church of Denmark, a considerable sum annually, well in excess of the giving of churchgoers in most other countries.

  8. Marcus Pius says:

    …Denmark is also one of the world’s top per capita aid donors; and the Danish state, unlike the American or many others, actually makes a profit each year, rather than clocking up a deficit.

  9. John Wilkins says:

    I imagine most Danes would name the real problem for late night debauchery: Swedes.

    [i] Cute- but not a departure point for more off thread comments, please.[/i]


  10. Priest on the Prairie says:

    You guys are wasting time and effort arguing about Danish culture while completely ignoring the critically important comment made by #3! This is the crux of the matter – the slow-but-sure inroads of Islam into what were once Christian countries.

    As a person of Austrian heritage, I wonder what my ancestors, who stood at the gates of Vienna and gave their lives holding back the influx of Muslims into Europe, would think about the current state of affairs as more and more accommodations are made to people whose goals are proselytism and assimilation of Christians. Not politically correct, I know, but look at history and consider.

  11. Marcus Pius says:

    Pfarrer auf dem Prairie: One could reasonably argue, though, that if traditional European culture has been killed off, it happened during the post-war decades as a result of the enormous growth in American mores across Western Europe. Prior to the 1960s, divorce was either illegal or completely unacceptable socially in European countries – but then the culture of easy acceptance of divorce made its way across the Atlantic. That was the biggest change to the centuries-old moral culture of Europe, along with the idea that the individual should choose their own religion. The old European tradition was “cujus regio, ejus religio,” a tradition ended by the enormous influence of post-war American individualism.

    So, if one were a real traditionalist, there’s nothing much left for Muslims to destroy that hasn’t been smashed up by American cultural values already… N’est-ce pas?

  12. phil swain says:

    #7, the Danish state makes a “profit”? Don’t you mean the Danish state has a surplus? It takes a peculiar statist mind-set to think that a surplus is a profit.

  13. Marcus Pius says:

    Phil: I was speaking demotically. Unfortunately, one is continually finding that linguistic nuance gets lost as it crosses the Atlantic.

  14. Fr. Dale says:

    Fr. Mark,
    [blockquote]there’s nothing much left for Muslims to destroy that hasn’t been smashed up by American cultural values already[/blockquote] Speaking of “bizarre” things to say. I don’t mind you cheer leading for Denmark but it is bothersome to blame America for what is wrong in Denmark.

  15. Marcus Pius says:

    Dcn Dale: No, I was saying that traditionalist Europeans might blame (reasonably?) the corrupting influence of American individualistic culture for the demise of traditional values in Europe.

  16. Marcus Pius says:

    I’ve just read “England & the English from an American point of view” by Price Collier (1913), in which he lambasts English liberalism: “Men have transferred their allegiance from God to man…Man must be the God, and… is to be worshipped, provided for and exalted. This new God is to be fed and educated for nothing as a child; is to work only 8 hours a day as an adult; is to be pensioned at 70.”

    So you see when the rot set in: free education, child support, limited working hours and old age pensions… all the beginning of godless Europe, from an American point of view. In 1913!

  17. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #15 If you read Charles Dickins’ account of his travels in America, he makes almost the same arguments in reverse about the enlightened social policies and institutions he found: schools, hospitals and prisons, something he thought we could benefit from in Europe. That was in 1842.

  18. Marcus Pius says:

    I think the serious point one should make, though, is that in the light of the experience of the world wars of the 20th century, and the discrediting of traditional authority structures which they entailed, Europeans are highly unlikely to be attracted again to any form of Christianity which relies on rigid authoritarianism. That ultimately is why the current conservative Christian argument is doomed in Europe. We have to come up with something better than making it sound like we Christians merely long for the 1950s, when women knew their place and gay people committed suicide quietly.

  19. Fr. Dale says:

    Fr. Mark,
    If you think the Christianity of the 1950s is rigid, oppressive and passe for Europeans, wait until Sharia Law is imposed.

  20. Marcus Pius says:

    Dcn Dale: you need to be careful not to demonise Islam.

    I would imagine that the most likely future for European Islam is that it will become as liberal as Christianity has: there are many indications that this is happening already. Do not judge a religion by its angry extremists – if the rest of the world judged Christians in that way, they wouldn’t get any sense that Christianity is anything to do with love, after all!

  21. Fr. Dale says:

    Fr. Mark,
    [blockquote]That ultimately is why the current conservative Christian argument is doomed in Europe[/blockquote]
    I believe what you are referring to as a “conservative Christian argument” is what I would call Christian Evangelism. How is saying that Europeans living under Sharia Law in any way demonizing Islam? The ABC has even suggested incorporating Sharia Law with British Law.
    Changing population demographics are a reality in Europe. We may live in the same world but we don’t share the same world view.