Asmaa Abdol Hamid hopes to be the first religious Muslim women in the Danish parliament. She had already started off much debate about the fact that she intends to wear a veil in parliament. Reading her story, though, I have a question on something else completely.
Asmaa says she is a stateless Palestinian. Her Palestinian identity is very important to her.
"I was immersed in my Palestinian background and many of my school projects dealt with Palestinians or Muslims in Denmark. Awareness of identity is very important for an ethnic minority."
Her necklace is in the shape of Mandatory Palestine. I personally find it disturbing that a Danish politician walks around with a necklace symbolizing the destruction of a sovereign state, but I am not sure Palestinians have a positive symbol to uphold.
She herself was born in the United Arab Emirates, her parents grew up in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Were her parents refugees from the Six Day War (1967) or were her grandparents refugees from the Israeli War of Independence (1948)? She doesn't say. I would assume it's the latter, since the Six Day War refugees fled to Jordan, and many of them returned.
Does she want to return to Palestine? Currently Gaza is under full Palestinian control and nobody is preventing her from doing so.
Her identity as a stateless Palestinian was probably fostered by her parents. And so, though she grew up in the UAE, she does not feel connected there. Her father came to Denmark several months after the family received asylum there.
"As soon as he arrived in Denmark, my father also went to the language course in Åbenrå, but he found going to school difficult and he wasn't an easy pupil. He was often aggravated by some of the teachers' pro-Israel interpretation of the conflict in the Middle East."
Do Danes often bring up the Middle East conflict when teaching Danish or was her father agitating to bring up his own points of view? Either way, the Middle East conflict was obviously very important to him, enough that it bothered him to learn Danish.
Which brings me to my question. The family received asylum in Denmark because her father was interrogated and tortured by the United Arab Emirates Intelligence Service. She blames the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, but I seriously doubt that the UAE would have cared unless they felt he was a threat to their own security. Was he a PLO activist? What exactly was he accused of? What was he interrogated for?
Abdol-Hamid might not be responsible for her father's past actions, but if she's going to enter Parliament, I think Danes should wonder about this last question.
Source: KVInfo (English)