Denmark: 60% don't go to mosque, imams unrepresentative

Denmark: 60% don't go to mosque, imams unrepresentative

For more of the study results see:
* Denmark: 55% of Muslims think criticizing religion should be forbidden, 64% support curtailing freedom of speech
* Denmark: Close to 90% of Muslims would vote for the Left 

When Friday prayers are called in the Danish mosques, about a tenth of Muslims participate.

It is wrong to use imams as spokespeople for Muslims who live in Denmark, thinks Lene Kühle of Arhus University.

"A small group of imams are not and have never been spokespersons for Muslims in Denmark.  Muslims in Denmark are all too diverse for that."

Especially after the Muhammad crisis, imams are often used as representatives for Danish Muslims in the media, probably in particular the now deceased imam Abu Laban.

According to DR's study, "Your Muslim Neighbor" conducted by Capacent, 60% of Muslims in Denmark never got ot the mosque, or do so only during the holidays.  Lene Kühle says that therefore there's a need for a more nuanced image of Muslims in Denmark then the one coming from imams.

"It's certainly always problematic when you ask only a small group.  It's obvious that Danish imams aren't and have never been representative for all Danish Muslims.  So I think it will be a good idea if journalists will ask more widely," she says.


Ibrahim is a young Muslim.  When asked if he believes in God, he answers: "When somebody asks me, I say that I'm a Muslim.  It can well be that I don't live up to the things that some think cause somebody to be Muslim.  I just feel that I am, and religion is something one has for themselves."

Ibrahim doesn't go to a mosque.  Like 60% of Muslims in Denmark, who overall don't go to a mosque. 

Ibrahim doesn't go to a mosque neither as a protest nor to revolt against his parents, who do go to a mosque.

"I never had a need for it, and don't rightly think about it.  I never went there.  There has never been anybody who invited me to go there, neither parents nor friends," says Ibrahim.

As he doesn't go to the mosque, Ibrahim has a little difficulty with imams who speak on behalf of Muslims.

"In any case they don't represent me, and I don't think they represent many of the Muslims who live here.  There have been unfortunate episodes and it doesn't look as if they can speak for all other Muslims here," says Ibrahim.

Sources: DR 1, 2 (Danish)

See also: Denmark: Imams split, do not represent Muslims

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