An Islamic mufti in Copenhagen, Shahid Mehdi, has sparked
political outcry from the left-wing Unity List and right-wing
Danish People's Party, after stating in a televised interview
that women who do not wear headscarves are "asking for rape."
Unity List equality spokesman Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil has
threatened to file suit for defamation against the mufti on
behalf of herself and all the women of Denmark. The Danish
People's Party has urged Justice Minister Lene Espersen and
Integration Minister Bertel Haarder to stop the mufti's
religious activities in Copenhagen.
Shahid Mehdi made his remarks in the DR2 programme "Talk to
Gode," and reiterated his stance in daily newspaper B.T. The
Danish People's Party and Unity List agree that Mehdi's
remarks could incite Muslim men to rape Danish women by
insinuating that women who did not cover their hair were
undeserving of basic respect.
As a mufti, a jurist who interprets Islamic law, Shahi
Mehdi is in a special position of authority as a Muslim
scholar. Mehdi is currently affiliated with the Islamic
Cultural Center in Copenhagen, but Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil
has urged officials to ban his teachings in Denmark due to his
"reactionary view of women."
"The very idea that this man is authorised to teach young
people in the Koran is ludicrous. It's like letting (Danish
Nazi leader) Johnny Hansen teach the history of World War II,"
The Socialist People's Party is urging Integration Minister
Bertel Haarder to investigate whether Mehdi had violated
Danish laws prohibiting foreign religious clerics from
engaging in activity that poses a threat to public safety,
health, decency and order.