Democratic Muslims growing stronger

The new Danish moderate Muslim group, Demokratiske Muslimer (Democratic Muslims) is growing stronger.

Support for the newly formed Democratic Muslims has come from unlikely places, said the group's chairman Naser Khader, after officially founding the group on Wednesday.

In its first month of existence, the group reported over 1000 official members and 15,000 supporters, people who seek to provide a visible example of moderate Muslims who embrace democracy.

Prominent business figures such as biotech CEO Asger Aamund and Flemming Ƙstergaard, the chairman of Parken Sport & Entertainment, have also voiced their support.

'We have received enquiries from Norway, Sweden, Holland, Spain, France, the US, and Canada. I think it's a trend these days to stand up to Islamists and say: Enough is enough,' said Khader.

Khader, an MP for the opposition Social Liberals and arguably the most recognised Muslim politician in the country, founded the group after holding a speech for journalists from daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

They challenged Khader's statement that it was possible to be Danish, Muslim, and to support democratic values, saying he was the exception that proved the rule.

Khader set out to prove them wrong. He contacted like-minded individuals, held the group's first meeting in December, and has since been bombarded by emails from prospective members.

'Some people had gone around and believed that they were all alone with their beliefs. They realised that other people share the same ideas and that gave them courage. It's had a snowball effect,' said Khader.

As the membership lists continue to swell, he felt the group had a role to play, particularly in light of the worldwide crisis that erupted over the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

'We have said to the prime minister and the minister of integration affairs that they should use us. And that we want to participate in delegations. We can be ambassadors for Denmark, a contrast to imams and Islamists,' he said.

Solidifying support was the organisation's primary goal right now, however. He stated that he was worried hostile groups would try to infiltrate the Democratic Muslims. New members are therefore required to sign a declaration that they oppose Sharia laws and the death penalty.

'The network is fragile right now. To protect ourselves, we need to control the organisation by asking people to sign the declaration. You can also be excluded if you work against the organisation's principles.

Source: Jyllands-Posten (English)

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