The deputy head of nationalist Danish People's Party said his remarks about the party being anti-Muslim were taken out of context.
Kristian Thulesen Dahl, group chairman for the Danish People's Party, sent out a press release Thursday saying he regretted his comment the previous day that the party was 'anti-Muslim', but added that the phrase was taken out of context.
'If I had to do it over I would have chosen a different way of saying it,' the press release stated.
Dahl's comments were themselves a response to earlier remarks by integration minister Birthe Rønn Hornbech, who labelled the party 'fanatically anti-Muslim' - words that landed her in hot water with her own Liberal Party.
Hornbech's comments were made in response to Dahl's party's campaign against judges wearing headscarves. Dahl said he was using Hornbech's terminology for his own explanation Wednesday and the words were therefore misconstrued.
'We are in many ways anti-Muslim because we can see some deeply problematic things about the way Islam functions,' he said Wednesday. 'When we fight against 10-year-old girls being castrated or are against segregated swimming classes, then it is those types of examples I think of when I say we are anti-Muslim.'
He had also added: 'Personally, I could care less what a person believes. But the important thing is determining whether religion is practiced in a way that causes problems for Danish society, and Islam is in many instances practiced precisely that way.'
In the press release Thursday, Dahl denied that the party was against individuals who were Muslims.
'The Danish People's Party has neither changed its politics nor its rhetoric on the subject, and neither have we changed our position that we have anything against Muslims,' he said. 'But I realise the term "anti-Muslim" can give the appearance we have something against individual Muslims, but that is absolutely not the case.'
Dahl's explanation was backed up by party MP Jesper Langballe, who said the party was more 'anti-Islam' than 'anti-Muslim'.
Source: Copenhagen Post (English)
See also: Denmark: "We're anti-Muslim, but not fanatics"