Copenhagen: Demands to cut funds for organizers of Khalid Yasin visit
Sheikh Khalid Yasin visited the Netherlands last year, where he also provoked controversy (though much of it wasn't his fault):
* Netherlands: Controversy over arrival of preacher
* Netherlands: Khalid Yasin on Wilders
* Netherlands: A controversial talk by a controversial speaker
A member of the Red-Green Alliance Party in Copenhagen had to be escorted away from an immigrant meeting in Nørrebro after being threatened.
The only thing Jaleh Tavakoli did was to insist on seating with her husband - though there were gender-segregated sitting places in the sports hall, where the controversial American imam Sheikh Khalid Yasin was supposed to speak.
Jalah Tavakoli, an Iraqi immigrant, told bt.dk that towards the end there were maybe 50 people around her, calling her whore, fat pig and several threatening her with violence. It was really scary, she says, and all because she wanted to sit next to her husband. "I tried arguing that they also sat next to women on the bus, but they shouted and threatened only louder and louder."
In the end she called up the police, because she felt threatened.
The police had to escort them out and drive them away, since emotions were so high. They only took down the name of the young man who threatened with violence, and she says she would lodge a complaint against him on Monday. It was really shocking, says Jaleh Tavakoli.
Meanwhile, the Social Democrats, Red-Green Alliance and Danish People's Party demand an investigation into whether municipal money was used for Fridays' event, where Sheikh Khalid Yasin urged the youth of Nørrebro away from the gang wars.
According to the invitation, the event was aimed at the youth in the Blågaards Plads area in an attempt to prevent them from joining the gangs in the area. Khalid Yasin, who in the past argued for death sentence for gays, called women's equality a delusion and described the September 11 attacks and the AIDS virus as American conspiracies, was the main speaker.
The Social Democrats were critical. Mette Reissmann, political spokesperson, said that the imam's view were clearly something that the municipality rejected, and that it's counterproductive that a person with such view would be held up as an example for young people. In no way do we want to support such things.
Jaleh Tavakoli or the Red-Green Alliance , also rejected the Viden om Islam (Knowing about Islam) event.
"It's a good idea to try and get the youth in Nørrebro away from the gangs. But an event with people with extreme views on gays and women is certainly not a good solution," says Jaleh Tavakoli.
Finn Rudaizky of the Danish People's Party demanded that the integration alderman Klaus Bondam (R) deal with the issue. Bondam refused to comment on the imam's visit.
Finn Rudaizky said that there's no rhyme or reason to having Khalid Alsubei, who was formerly the controversial head of the father's group, so much so that the municipality felt the need to stop working with him, hire a gay-hating American imam who speaks against equality and for the death sentence for gays. It needs to be stopped soon, and he therefore hopes that Klaus Bondam would stop all support for the Nørrebronx project, which is now so openly abused to promote radicalization of young people, which should be helped out of the gang community.
The meeting with Khalid Yasin, for which about 200 young Muslims signed up for, was arranged by Viden om Islam (VIOMIS), which talks to young Muslims about Islam.
One of the leading figures in VIOMIS is Khalid Alsubeihi, who is also head of the Nørrebronx association, which arranges youth clubs and sports activities for youth in Nørrebro. Nørrebronx received 1.2 million Danish kroner this year in public support from the Copenhagen Municipality, and Nørrebronx is located at Rantzausgade 23D - the same address as VIOMIS.
On the event's webiste and on the invitation, which Khalid Alsubeihi sent out about Friday's event, Nørrebronx and VIOMIS appear as joint organizers together with Khalid Yasin. And Korsgadehallen, the hall where the event was held, which is co-sponsored by municipal funds, said that the event was booked by Nørrebronx.
The Social Democrats want to investigate whether the event was fincned with municpal funds.
"We supported Nørrebronx in its work in keeping youth away from crime, and we supported in in the form of funds for its operation. It's clear that funds shouldn't go to support events with an American imam with such controversial views," said Mette Reissmann. She said she will ask the culture and leisure committee to check what role Nørrebronx played in this event.
Khalid Alsubehi assured Berlingske Tidende that Nørrebronx money didn't go to the Friday event, but he acknowledged and regretted that he mixed his two positions together on the imam-meeting invitation.
The Social Democrats and Red-Green Alliance nonetheless want to have the issue investigated.
Mette Reissmann says it's annoying that things get mixed up in this way and that the municipality does not want to support such events in any way. They never intended to support Nørrebronx so that they'll send invitations for such an event.
Sources: BT 1, 2 (Danish)