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Guardian Extols Danish Feminist Socialist Muslim

From those protectors of the faith at the Guardian:

Danish parliamentary candidate Asmaa Abdol-Hamid

Feminist, socialist, devout Muslim: woman who has thrown Denmark into turmoil

Parliamentary candidate, 25, finds herself at centre of Europe-wide controversy

Ian Traynor in Odense, Denmark
Wednesday May 16, 2007

In the land that launched the cartoons war between Islam and the west, Asmaa Abdol-Hamid finds herself on the frontline, gearing up for a new battle.

The 25-year-old social worker, student and town councillor describes herself as a feminist, a democrat, and a socialist. She has gay friends, opposes the death penalty, supports abortion rights, and could not care less what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. In short, a tolerant Scandinavian and European.

She is also a Palestinian and a devout Muslim who insists on wearing a headscarf, who refuses, on religious grounds, to shake hands with males, and who is bidding fair to be the first Muslim woman ever to enter the Folketing, the Danish parliament in Copenhagen.

For the extreme right, the young activist is a political provocateur, an agent of Islamic fundamentalism bent on infiltrating the seat of Danish democracy. To many on the left, Ms Abdol-Hamid is also problematic, personifying through her dress the reactionary repression of women and an illiberal religious agenda that should have no place in her leftwing “red-green” alliance of socialists and environmentalists.

As a result of announcing her parliamentary candidacy earlier this month, the young Muslim and Danish citizen has been thrust to the centre of a debate tormenting Denmark and the rest of western Europe – on the place and values of Islam in modern Europe and the treatment of large Muslim minorities.

Ms Abdol-Hamid is unfazed. “I see more Islam here in Denmark than in Iran or in other places in the Middle East,” she says. “It’s easier to be a Muslim in Denmark than in Saudi Arabia. I don’t feel a stranger here. I’m interested in politics. I want to talk about this society, about political issues. But I’m not in politics because I’m a Muslim.”

Her ambition, combined with her insistence on flaunting her religious affiliation, have outraged the Danish political establishment and triggered a new bout of soul-searching almost two years after the publication of cartoons of the Prophet ignited violence and protest across the Islamic world.

“This goes far beyond the extreme right,” says Toger Seidenfaden, editor of the Politiken daily newspaper. “Asmaa is insisting on the right to be a religious Muslim and that’s provoking broad debate among the public.”

The key issue is the headscarf and whether it can be accommodated in parliament. This month Ms Abdol-Hamid gained the candidacy for a safe Copenhagen seat for the leftwing Unity List…

Ms. Abdol-Hamid is the new European ideal.

If only were an open lesbian there would be no stopping her.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 16th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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