Copenhagen Post, February 20, 2008
In an uncharacteristic move, Villy Søvndal, leader of the Socialist People’s Party, responded to the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir’s demonstration last Friday, by severely criticising them in his blog.
He stated in his blog that the group was to ‘seek other pastures’ and that their ‘undertakings had no perspective, nor future, in Denmark’.
In an interview with Jyllands-Posten newspaper, he continued to lash out at the extremist group whose demonstration had delivered a direct threat towards Danish society, telling them to ‘go to hell’.
‘If they want to live in a religious dictatorship so badly, they can go to those countries in the Middle East where such dictatorships exist,’ he said.
The hostile tone of the demonstration has had Pia Kjærsgaard launching a new proposal in parliament to ban the controversial group, but Søvndal said he did not want them banned.
‘Instead of turning them into martyrs with a ban, they must be put in the spotlight. It would expose their completely ridiculous views,’ he said.
He also lashed out at Kassem Ahmad, a spokesperson at the Islamic Society in Denmark, who had marched alongside Fadi Abdullatif, leader of the Hizb ut-Tahrir in Denmark.
Ahmad had last night met with Birthe Rønn Hornbech, the integration minister, behind closed doors.
About the meeting, Søvndal said: ‘It is strange that religious representatives should be given preferential treatment in a secular democracy. If the minister wanted to speak with ethnic minorities, she could have spoken with members of city council who were democratically elected.’
He warned against putting religious figures in a position where they were thought to represent the views of ordinary immigrants.
His criticism echoed along the corridors of parliament. Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People’s Party agreed with him and stated that it was ‘foolish’ and ‘naïve’ of the integration minister to think that anything constructive would come out of a meeting with the Islamic Society.
New Alliance party leader, Naser Khader also called the minister ‘very naïve’ for agreeing to meet with Ahmad and said that the society was a ‘world champion in saying one thing and doing another’,
Hornbech dismissed the critique saying that the Islamic Society had asked for a meeting which she had agreed to because she was ‘an integration minister for everyone in Denmark’ and that she would not refuse anyone beforehand.