ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN DENMARK

       General Information

Kingdom of Denmark

National name: Kongeriget Danmark

Land area: 16,359 sq mi (42,370 sq km); total area: 16,639 sq mi (43,094 sq km)1

Population (2008 est.): 5,484,723

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Copenhagen, 1,094,400

Other large cities: Århus, 220,700; Odense, 144,600; Ålborg, 120,600

Monetary unit: Krone

Languages: Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (Inuit dialect), German; English is the predominant second language

Ethnicity/race: Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, German, Turkish, Iranian, Somali

National Holiday: Constitution Day, June 5

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 95%, other Protestant and Roman Catholic 3%, Muslim 2%

Literacy rate: 100%

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2005 est.): $181.6 billion; per capita $33,400. Real growth rate: 2.8%. Inflation: 1.9%.

Smallest of the Scandinavian countries (half the size of Maine), Denmark occupies the Jutland peninsula, a lowland area. The country also consists of several islands in the Baltic Sea; the two largest are Sjælland, the site of Copenhagen, and Fyn.

From 10,000 to 1500 B.C., the population of present-day Denmark evolved from a society of hunters and fishers into one of farmers. Called Jutland by the end of the 8th century, its mariners were among the Vikings, or Norsemen, who raided western Europe and the British Isles from the 9th to 11th century.

The country was Christianized by Saint Ansgar and Harald Blaatand (Bluetooth)—the first Christian king—in the 10th century. Harald's son, Sweyn, conquered England in 1013. Sweyn's son, Canute the Great, who reigned from 1014 to 1035, united Denmark, England, and Norway under his rule; the southern tip of Sweden was part of Denmark until the 17th century. On Canute's death, civil war tore apart the country until Waldemar I (1157–1182) reestablished Danish hegemony over the north.

In 1282, the nobles won the Great Charter, and Eric V was forced to share power with parliament and a Council of Nobles. Waldemar IV (1340–1375) restored Danish power, checked only by the Hanseatic League of north German cities allied with ports from Holland to Poland. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden united under the rule of his daughter Margrethe in 1397. But Sweden later achieved autonomy and in 1523, under Gustavus I, independence.

Denmark supported Napoléon, for which it was punished at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 by the loss of Norway to Sweden. In 1864, the Prussians under Bismarck and the Austrians made war on Denmark as an initial step in the unification of Germany. Denmark was neutral in World War I.

In 1940, Denmark was invaded by the Nazis. King Christian X reluctantly cautioned his fellow Danes to accept the occupation, but there was widespread resistance against the Nazis. Denmark was the only occupied country in World War II to save all its Jews from extermination, by smuggling them out of the country.

Beginning in 1944, Denmark's relationship with its territories changed substantially. In that year, Iceland declared its independence from Denmark, ending a union that had existed since 1380. In 1948, the Faroe Islands, which had also belonged to Denmark since 1380, were granted home rule, and in 1953, Greenland officially became a territory of Denmark.

Islamic History and Muslims

Approximately 3% (170,000 people) ) of the population of Denmark are Muslims. Islam is the largest minority religion in Denmark. Religious freedom is guaranteed by law in Denmark, and as of 2005, nineteen different Muslim religious communities had status as officially recognized religious societies, which gives them certain tax benefits. However, unlike most Western countries, Denmark lacks separation of church and state, resulting in economic advantages for the Church of Denmark not shared by Muslim or other minority communities. Although they are compensated by tax benefit. The majority of the Muslims living in Denmark are first-generation immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. There are three phases in the Muslim immigration to Denmark: the foreign workers, the asylum seekers and those coming through marriage. During the early 1970s, many Muslims emigrated from Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco and Yugoslavia in order to find work in Denmark. Denmark halted free immigration in 1973.

Between 1968 and 1990 the number of Muslim immigrants rose from2 , 000to approximately 60 ,000. They come from Turkey, North Africa, and Pakistan, and due to political unrest in the Middle East after1980 , they come from Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. The Muslim community is concentrated in and around Copenhagen.

During the 1980s and 1990s a number of Muslim asylum seekers came to Denmark. In the 1980s mostly from Iran, Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank and in the 1990s mostly from Somalia and Bosnia. Some of those who sought asylum had been charged with terrorism in their home countries.
The asylum seekers comprise about 40% of the Danish Muslim population.

Previously, the majority of Muslims who immigrated to Denmark did so as part of family reunification. The Danish parliament has passed a law in 2002 making family reunification harder. It was also implemented to counter forced marriages by ensuring that both parties are at least 24 years old and so considered old enough to enter a marriage without being forced to do so. The new law requires the couple to both be above the age of 24 and requires the spouse to show that they are capable of supporting both themselves and the new immigrant.

The Danish constitution contains an article on freedom of religion, however, the religion of the state and the monarch is Evangelical Lutheranism. Based on that fact the Lutheran church is one of the departments of the Danish state. This fact has the capacity to influence the state's relations with the Muslim community, as family affairs such as birth, death and marriage registration fall under the ministry of church affair's duties. The other Christian communities and also the Jewish one have a constitutional status as recognized faith communities, but not Islam. Voluntary associations related to the church started a dialogue with the Muslims in the country to learn more about their needs and problems. This dialogue led to the best funded research project based on state funding dealing with the situation with Muslims in Europe, especially Denmark. Muslim organizations were closely involved in this project.

Denmark is one of the biggest European producers of halal meat. Since the1970 s the representative of the Muslim World League in Copenhagen functions as the authority guaranteeing the halal status of meat, especially poultry from Denmark. The bulk of the production goes to different parts of the Muslim world, but it is also available in European supermarkets for supply to the Muslim communities, especially in countries were the restrictions are tighter.

In public schools religion is taught as based on Christianity, but with space for information about Islam and world religions. Denmark allows the establishment of schools based on religious or ideological ideas, if parents come together to found it. As a result the country has a number of Muslim schools. 
Lene Kühle has researched religion and mapped the circumstances regarding the approximately 120 mosques in Denmark.
 

Religious issues

In 1967 the Nusrat Djahan Mosque (the first Mosque in Scandinavia) was built in Hvidovre, a Copenhagen suburb. This Mosque is used by adherents of the Ahmadi sect (which is by many other Muslims considered heretical).
Other mosques exist but are not built for the explicit purpose. It is not forbidden to build mosques or any other religious buildings in Denmark but there are very strict zoning laws. One piece of land has been reserved for a grand mosque at Amager (near Copenhagen), but financing is not settled. Danish Muslims have not succeeded in cooperating on the financing of the project and do not agree on whether it should be financed with outside sources, such as Saudi money.
Seven Danish cemeteries have separate sections for Muslims. Most of the Danish Muslims are buried in those cemeteries, with about 70 being flown abroad for burial in their countries of origin. A separate Muslim cemetery was opened in Brøndby near Copenhagen in September 2006.

Schools

The first Muslim private school was founded in 1978 - Den Islamisk Arabiske Skole (the Islamic Arabic School) in Helsingør and accepted students from any country. Today there are about 20 Muslim schools, most of which are located in the major cities. The Muslim schools are big enough today to enable catering to students according to their country of origin. In the 1980s, schools for Pakistani, Turkish and Arabic speakers were founded. Furthermore, Somali, Palestinian and Iraqi schools were founded in the 1990s. Today 6 or 7 nationalities dominate the Muslim schools.
The biggest school is Dia Privatskole in Nørrebro with about 410 students. Two Pakistani schools teach in Urdu as mother tongue and several Turkish schools have Turkish instruction. Most other schools cater to Arabic speaking students.


Conflict

As a country with a highly homogeneous indigenous population, and with a history of immigration almost totally followed by complete assimilation within at most one generation, until the last decades of the 20th century, Denmark, like several countries in Western Europe, is dealing for the first time with the presence of a substantial and visible minority. As first and second generation immigrants, many drawn from the ranks of refugees, Muslims in Denmark have failed to achieve the economic and political power proportional to their population. For example, they remain over-represented among the unemployed, and under-represented in higher education, and among permanent residents holding citizenship and the right to vote. They also remain over-represented among prison populations (due to high crime rates). Some ethnic Danes feel threatened by aspects of Muslim culture, setting the stage for conflict. Partly as a reaction to this situation, recent years have seen the rise of a political party (the Danish People's Party) with nationalistic and anti-immigration policies. This party currently supports the ruling centre-right Liberal-Conservative coalition which has implemented stricter policies in order to reduce the number of immigrants to Denmark. Particularly by enforcing stricter criteria for granting permanent residence status to mixed couples where one of the spouses has not previously resided in Denmark. This is known as the 24 year rule, since it applies to persons younger than 24 years only. Other policies have aimed at providing access for immigrants to the labour market, and promoting competence of the Danish language.
Much media attention has been focused on arranged marriages, practiced by some Muslims, and laws have been implemented trying to prevent this practice. The choice of some Muslim women in Denmark to wear or not to wear various traditional head covering, e.g. in the workplace, has also been the subject of debate. In public schools, teaching is conducted in Danish, and the government opposes the use of immigrant children's mother tongue in Danish primary schools. However, Muslim schools where Danish is not the primary teaching language do exist.
A Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten printed 12 caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in September 2005. These cartoons sparked an international controversy, ultimately resulting in the scorching of two Danish diplomatic missions, a boycott of Danish goods in several countries, and a large number of protests in the Muslim world. Violent protests in some countries have caused rising support for the anti-immigration Danish People's Party and, by some accounts, a more critical approach towards Islam in Denmark. Public protests by Danish Muslims were few and peaceful.Organizations

Foreningen af Demokratiske Muslimer (The organization of democratic Muslims), founded by Naser Khader in 2006. Its current chairman is Moustapha Kassem.

Islamisk Trossamfund, Sunni Muslim, with strong Salafi tendencies, run by Mostafa Chendid, a Moroccan-born Danish imam.

Muslimer i Dialog (Muslims in Dialogue), largely Sunni, run by Noman Malik and Abdul Wahid Pedersen. Their spokesman is Zubair Butt Hussain.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, mainly Sunni, but have a Shia Muslim minority.

Foreningen Salam (Salam Association) is run by Shia Muslim women.

UngeMuslimer Gruppen, (Young Muslims Group), Shia Muslim, based in Copenhagen.

Noted Danish-Muslims

Ahmad Abu Laban

Naser Khader

Asmaa Abdol-Hamid

Nusrat Jehan Mosque, Copenhagen, 1967

A Muslim Girl in Denmark
http://www.waleg.com/archives/001225.html 

July 14, 2005

I've got the impression that many of us are living outside the Arabic countries. So therefore I would like to share some of my opinions with you about how it is to live in a country in Europe. I live in Denmark, and I'm a Muslim girl who's 16-years old. I wear hijab, and sometimes it causes me trouble.

Once I was walking downtown in Copenhagen with a Danish friend, and all of a sudden a guy steps in front of me and spits me in my face and yells to me that I should go back where I come from. No surprise, I began to cry because it hurts to be humiliated in front of so many people...

I'll never forget that episode, but it never changed anything in my opinions about the Danish people. Many of them are very kind human beings, and almost all my friends are Danish. I've always been on a Danish school, and now when I'm in high school I still meet the greatest Danes who respect me and my religion. They take a look on my personality, and not on my outfit.

It's kind of hard to find a job just to make some money, because I wear hijab. But Alhamdillah now I'm working in a great place with the kindest boss. No doubt that I would choose to live in Lebanon, where I'm from, but then again - it would be VERY hard to leave all the good things behind here in Denmark.

By Guest Writer Natasha
 

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Det Islamiske Trossamund I Danmark - Wakf, Copenhagen
URL: www.wakf.com   Phone: +45-38112225
Al Aqsa Culturale Center, Odense Kommune
Phone: 45+65911998/40530742
Al-Wali; Islamic Charitable Soceity, Arhus, viborg
EAR Publishing And Production Co., ASCAP., Copenhagen
Phone: +1-0045-22 438 494
Dansk Informations Forum For Islam, Kobenhavn, Taastrup
Phone: 70271443
Islamic Cultural Center, Copenhagen
URL: www.iqraicc.dk/main   Phone: 38609017
General Association of Muslims in Denmark, Copenhagen
URL: www.mlo.nu   Phone: +45-70206625
Amani Trading Co.( amani marked), Aalborg, Danmark
Phone: 45-98127742
Al Nur Islamic Information, Copenhagen, Copenhagen
Phone: 20774828 & 88387928
Det islamiske trossamfund på Fyn, Odense, Odense SØ
Phone: 45-66159117

AL AQSA CULTRALE CENTER, Odense
  Al Aqsa Culturale Center, Odense Kommune
  Al'taqwa Masjid, Aarhus Amt
  Bazar Vest Mosque, Aarhus
  Børne og unge kulture forening, Aalborg
  Dansk Informations Forum For Islam, Kobenhavn
  Dansk Islamisk Forening, Holbaek
  dansk islamisk råd, Copenhagen
  Dansk Tyrkisk Forening, Aabenraa
  Dansk Tyrkisk-Islamisk Stiftelse, Frederiksberg
  Dansk-Islamisk Kulturforening, Frederiksberg
  Dansk-pakistansk kulturforeningen, Ishoj
  Dansk-pakistansk kulturforeningen, Ishoj
  Dawato Tabligh Markiz,
  Den Islamiske Forening, Copenhagen
  Den lighed & broderskab foreing { Arhus - Branbrand } Denmark, Arhus
  Den Somaliske Forening, Nyborg
  Den somalsk forening, Kolding
  Det islamiske trossamfund på Fyn, Odense
  Det Islamiske Trossamund I Danmark - Wakf, Copenhagen
  EL FATAH, Ringsted
  Familie Aktivitetshuset Haderslev, Haderslev Kommune
  Forening for moské og islamisk kulturcenter i Århus, Arhus
  Frederiksværk Islamiske Kulturcenter, Frederiksvaerk Kommune
  Isalmic Cultural Center, Helsingor
  Islamic Arabic School, Copenhagen
  Islamic Cultural Center, Copenhagen
  Islamic Cultural Center, Arhus
  Islamic Cultural Centre, COPENHAGEN
  Islamisk Forum, Taastrup
  Islamisk Kultur Center, Kobenhavn
  Islamisk Kulturel Studie Institute, Ishoj
  Islamisk Studie center, Copenhagen
  Makki Masjid Al-Rahmat(tablege markaz), Kobenhavn
  Markaz Ahl-ul-Hadith, Odense
  Markaz wa Musalla al-Thaqalain, Odense
  Masjid taiba, Copenhagen
  Masjid al-Furqan, Copenhagen
  Masjid Al-Noor Odense, Odense
  Masjid Vejle, Vejle
  Masjidu Ukhuwa, Esbjerg
  MASQUE, Albertslund Kommune
  Mosque, Aalborg
  Mosque Turky, Albertslund
  Muslim Association of Denmark, Smorum
  Muslim Mosque, Nyborg
  Muslim of North, Frederiksberg
  Muslim World League (Rabita al-Alamal-Islamiya), Frederiksberg
  Nour al-hak forening, Slagelse Kommune
 
P.I.W.S (Pakistan International Welfare Society), Odense

Pilgrim Organisation of Denmark, Vanlose
  Somali Welfare Society (SWS), Copenhagen
  Somalian Mosque, Aarhus
  Somalisk forening, Herning Kommune
  Students Internatonal Organisation, Copenhagen
  The Islamic Belief Center of Denmark, Copenhagen
  The Masjid Bilka, Odense
  Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi Yeni Camii, Slagelse Kommune
  Venskabsforening i Kolding, Kolding Kommune
  Waqaf islamic odense, Odense Kommune
  Zahra Books, Copenhagen
  المركز الثقافي الاسلامي, Copenhavn
 
الرابطه الاسلاميه فى الدنمارك /كوبنهاجن, Copenhagen

EAFO-East African Funeral Organization, Copenhagen
  Al Nur Islamic Information, Copenhagen
  Al-jam'iah Ath-thaqaafiah li-dhufuulati wa-shabaab, Aalborg
  Al-Tekaful, Copenhagen
  Al-Wali; Islamic Charitable Soceity, Arhus
  Arabisk-Dansk Venskabsforening, Ringsted
  ASSALAM CHARITY SOCIETY, Aarhus
  Danmarks Muslimske Avis, Kobenhavns Kommune
  Danmarks Muslimske Avis, Hundested Kommune
  Den Arabiske forening الرابطة العربية في نيكوبينغ فالستر, Nykobing Falster Kommune
  Den Arabiske venskabs forrenning, Skive Kommune
  Den Arabiske Venskabsforening, Skive
  Den Islamiske Slagter, Copenhagen
  Det islamisk Trossamfund i DK, Kobenhavn
  Det Islamske Slagteri, Copenhagen
  Familie Aktivitetshuset Haderslev, Haderslev
  Frie Muslimers Retshjaelp, Kobenhavn
  General Association of Muslims in Denmark, Copenhagen
  iqra orginzation, Copenhagen
  Islamic Colture Cnter, Alborg
  Islamisk Info & Foredrag, Copenhagen
  Islamisk Slagteri, Copenhagen
  Islamisk Slagteri Tajbat Slagteri, Copenhagen
  Islamiske Arabiske Skole, Den, Copenhagen
  Islamiske Informations -og Rådgivningscenter, Odense
  Islamiske Trossamfund, Det, Copenhagen
  ISRA, The Independent Scandinavian Relief Agency, Copenhagen
  IVIC Islamisk Videns- og Informations Center, Århus
  IVIC Islamisk Videns- og Informations Center, Aarhus Aa
  MASJID UL HAQ FOREGNING, Copenhagen
  Muslim Cultural Institute, Kobenhavn
  Muslim i Norden, Frederiks Stationsby
  Muslim World League (Rabita al-Alamal-Islamiya), Frederiks Stationsby
  Muslimer i Dialog, Copenhagen
  Muslims Lands organisation, Kobenhavn
  Muslimsk information for Nordsjælland Allerød Sandholmlejren, Allerod
  OPSA (Organisationen af Pakistanske Studerende og Akademikere), Copenhagen
  Orientens Islamiske Slagter, Copenhagen
  Pakistan Islamic Welfare Society, Odense
  SIFO (Studerendes Internationale Faelles Organisation), Copenhagen
  Somaliske kultur forening, Holstebro
  Tanzeem e Islami - Denmark, Copenhagen
  Tanzim Islam al-Muslimin of Copenhagen, Arhus
  Tanzim Islam al-Muslimin of Copenhagen, Albertslund
  The Equality and Brotherhood Union, Aarhus
  Waqaf islamic, Odense
 
سندبات, Ronne

Afghansk-islamisk Kulturinstitut (AIKI), Kobenhavn
  Den Islamiske arabiske skole, Copenhagen
  Freds Skolen, Roskilde
  Iqra Private School, Copenhagen
 
Muslim Cultural Institute, Copenhagen

   Muslim Owned Business

  AL-murakz ALTHAQAFI AL islami, Copenhagen
  ABCmultitrade PLC, Aalborg
  AK fruat og gront og halal slagter, Slagelse Kommune
  Amani Trading Co.( amani marked), Aalborg
  Beyan, Haderslev
  Den Arabiske Danske Klub, Helsingor
  EAR Publishing And Production Co., ASCAP., Copenhagen
  East West Records international, Glostrup
  El HALAL SHOP, Vejle
  H.A.Marked, Koge Bugt
  IslamGuide.dk - Biggest islamic bookstore in scandinavia, Copenhagen
  Nordjysk Import& Eksport, Aalborg
 
Zam-Zam, COPENHAGEN

References
Islam in Denmark ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Denmark   , October, 2008).
Info please ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107460.html  ,  October, 2008).
Islam Finder ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=denmark    , October, 2008).
Islam and Muslims in Denmark  ( http://www.islamawareness.net/Europe/Denmark/ , October, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Denmark, October 2008.