Danish Islamists refuse to deradicalize, insist Danes change their values

Reuters / Fayaz Kabli
An Islamist group in Denmark has hit out at a local policy to de-radicalize Muslim youths. It cites “widespread depression, addiction… and alarming rates of suicide” as proof it’s really “sad Western culture” that is in dire need of help.

The scornful statement, which includes allusions to a “sad capitalist existential void,” was printed on the website for the group, called Hizb-ut-Tahrir. It’s a massive organization with branches in 40 countries and a regional chapter in Copenhagen.

There is no consensus in Hizb-ut-Tahrir worldwide on support or condemnation of terrorism, as both have taken place. The group is banned in Russia and some of its activities are proscribed in a number of Muslims countries.

Its statement comes weeks after a Copenhagen municipality decided on a plan to tackle Islamic radicalism at home.

It plans to do this over a period of four years, with the help of external experts working under the guidance of Sweden’s top expert on the matter.

The Sunday statements, made by group spokesman and Danish convert Junes Kock, see this as nothing but “manipulation” and “deception,” as well as an attempt to polarize the Muslim community and pigeonhole it into moderate and extreme categories. Kock believes that a plan of this sort intends to take things that are the staple of Islamic life – “a beard, prayer, scarf and general compliance with Islamic behavior” – and label them as radical in an agenda of stigmatization.

Despite the apparent belief that the West has invented the dangers of Islamism to split Muslims, Hizb ut-Tahrir has shown no willingness to cooperate with the more moderate members of the Muslim faith. On Sunday it rejected any Danish initiative to work together with other Muslims at preventing youths from joining up with terrorist movements.

Supporters of Islamist party Hizb Ut-Tahrir wave flags during a rally in Sidi Bouzid December 17, 2013, to mark the third anniversary of the Tunisian revolution (Reuters / Anis Mili)

Kock goes on to say that “It is clearly Danish people who need help finding the correct meaning of life… and here we can assist.”

As for the plans, “they are doomed to fail,” according to the author of the statement.

The group is no small adversary: it has been active since 1953 in calls to establish a global Islamic Caliphate, although it claims not to condone violence, the way the Islamic State and other extremist groups do.

However, despite its anti-violent stance, a 2002 controversy over pamphlets containing anti-Semitic messages could take on a new salience, especially now that the issue is back on the table and bigger than it has been in 70 years.

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“The Jews are a people of slander... a treacherous people... they fabricate lies and twist words from their right context,” the text read. But it also went on to justify suicide bombings in Israel, calling the bombers martyrs and the acts as a “legitimate” response.

The group also recently staged a demonstration outside the national mosque in Bangladesh calling for the re-establishment of a unified Muslims Army. Members were seen celebrating the victories of the Islamic State.

In contrast, the group has in the past condemned both the September 11 attacks and the July 2005 London bombings on the grounds that the killing of innocents isn’t the way to go about achieving one’s aims.