Denmark: Muslim politicians under threat

All four Muslims in the Danish parliament do not list their addresses on the parliament website, due to threats they have received.

Kamal Qureshi (Socialist People's Party) has been in the Danish parliament (Folketinget) since 2001. He represents his party on equality issues and as such has received serious threats and even a letter bomb with powder at work. His address and telephone number are unlisted and he's constantly in touch with the Danish Security Service.

"In my cases it's Danish racists and nationalists who threaten me. They can't publicly accept that a man of immigrant background sits in parliament and taken part in the political debate," he says and adds that

He says that it's not surprising that when there's a party such as the Danish People's Party, which defines itself as anti-Muslim, there are Danes who think they have a right to attack Muslims in Denmark.

New parliament member Özlem Sara Cekic (Socialist People's Party) received a letter which said 'Death to Muslims in Denmark'. She received the letter when she was just elected in November of last year and she was quite shocked by its tone. She says She'd not interested in getting such letters at home, and though she doesn't think somebody will show up at her home, it isn't pleasant to read such a letter and she had quickly thrown it out.

She chose not to disclose her address, where she lives with her husband and two children, on the parliament website. She can still be found in the phone directory, though she had asked to be removed from it.

She represents her party on social issues and therefore hadn't been involved much in the integration debate. Her main issues are social inequality and poverty. She wants to create better welfare for the homeless and the poor. Therefore she thinks it extraordinary that people attack her as a Muslim instead of her political views.

Özlem Sara Cekic brings an example: "when I said that prostitution oppresses women, I got a mail that I will feel better in Yemen and that as a Muslim I myself oppress people. It annoys me that people speak so badly about Muslims in Denmark," she says.

Yildiz Akdogan (Social Democrats) was elected to parliament in November of last year. She had received threats even before the elections after she participated in the public debate. She says that after the elections she had received 'nasty mails'. She did not publish her private address or telephone on the parliament website.

She is most surprised by the fact that she's still being perceived as a Muslim and not a politician. After she was elected she was described as a Muslim politician, but she just wants to be a politician.

Jakob Scharf, head of the Danish Security Service, thinks that threats against politicians are a big social problem and that it's very important that politicians who are harassed or threatened notify the police.

Sources: 24timer, TV2 (Danish), h/t Helen Latifi (Danish)

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