From the Copenhagen Post via Jyllands-Posten, with thanks to Wied:
Members of Denmark’s moderate Muslim community say they are reluctant to speak out with critical observations of their religion, fearing social isolation, threats and violence….
Danish-Pakistani author and political adviser Mohammad Rafiq recently published a book in which he openly criticised the practice of forced marriages. Following the book’s release, Rafiq was the target of threats from Muslim extremists. He has so far refused to withdraw from the public arena, but says he knows people who are deliberately keeping quiet out of fear of reprisals.
“I’ve nearly been assaulted, and I’ve gotten threats. Not many people dare to speak out – they’re just keeping quiet,” said Rafiq.
Iranian-born social worker and Socialist People’s Party city council candidate for Svendborg, Masoun Moradi, recently received death threats for writings perceived as critical of Islam.
Moradi likewise says he has no plans to censor himself, but says the reactions to his criticism from fellow Muslims is proof that others have given up.
“I’ve gotten three calls so far from other Danes of foreign descent who’ve gotten involved in the debate. They say they’ve also received death threats, but they haven’t gone public. It’s horrible that this kind of thing is allowed to happen. People born in Denmark regard freedom of speech as something quite natural, but for me it’s a gift that must be safeguarded,” said Moradi.
Lebanese-born Rabhi Azad-Ahmad agrees. Azad-Ahmad currently chairs a multicultural association in the Ã…rhus suburb of Gellerup. The group arranges regular debate meetings, and as chairman, Rabih Azad-Ahmad is active in local media.
“There are still extremists out there making life miserable for their own, and completely robbing some people of the desire to discuss anything. I myself have received threatening letters and heard rumours going around that I was anti-Islam,” said Rahi Azad-Ahmad, noting that his own mother once asked him to refrain from speaking publicly.
“But I fled another country because I did not have freedom of speech,” said Rabih Azad-Ahmad.
MP Naser Khader was born in Syria, and since moving to Denmark has become a well-known pundit and unapologetic critic of some aspects of Islam.
“I know several people who’ve gotten involved in the debate and subsequently pulled out of it altogether. One woman called me, quite shaken, and said she’d been threatened. Maybe the rest of us are tougher, but the fact remains that freedom of speech is the breath of democracy – and if you take that away, then democracy dies,” said Khader.