Negotiating Limits of Tolerance in Denmark: The Case of Public Meetings arranged by ‘Radical’ Muslim Actors

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
E0.02 (VOC Room) (Oost-Indisch Huis)
Lasse Lindekilde , Department of Political Science and Administration, Aarhus University
This paper analyzes negotiations of toleration boundary drawing as they play out in two recent public debates in Denmark, both concerning public meetings arranged by or involving controversial Muslim actors. The two meetings – one arranged by the organization Hizb ut-tahrir, and one involving the Canadian Islamic preacher, Bilal Philips – generated intense public debate about the limits of tolerance and the room for illiberal and anti-democratic views and practices in the public sphere. The paper analyzes the toleration/intoleration arguments put forward in the media coverage of the two debates, and shows how Muslim ‘radical’ claims-making in public is challenged predominantly on grounds of security and liberal principles. The paper then moves on to discuss how such toleration boundary-drawing may effect also the recognition of more ‘moderate’ Muslim claims-making. The paper argues that Muslim actors in Denmark need to proactively endorse central liberal values (freedom of speech; gender equality; non-violence, secularism; rule of law etc.), and dismiss certain illiberal ideas and values (Sharia; support of violent jihad; gender segregation; homophobia etc.) as a prerequisite for participation and recognition in public debates and political life.