Al Jazeera

Muslims in Danish ‘ghetto’ say promises broken as mosque saga rumbles on

Aarhus, Denmark – Muslims living in one of Denmark’s most deprived housing projects say they are being marginalised and made to feel unwelcome in their own community amid fears that their 14-year fight for a mosque could be derailed by political wrangling over an ambitious regeneration plan for the area.

Residents in Gellerup, a suburb of Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, have been campaigning since 2000 for the right to build a mosque in their neighbourhood. They say it would serve not only the needs of a growing Muslim population but also as a “beacon of hope”, a bulwark against extremism and a symbol of their acceptance as Danish citizens.

But their aspirations have been repeatedly stalled by political opposition to the project. Now those behind the latest proposal say that promises made by politicians and city officials that a fresh application to buy land for a mosque would be treated favourably have been broken following objections by right-wing parties on the local council.

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HuffPost Live

Discussing Denmark’s rehab programme for Syrian fighters

I was invited to appear on HuffPost Live’s World Briefing programme on Tuesday to discuss my latest story for Al Jazeera about a scheme in Aarhus, Denmark, that aims to rehabilitate Danish Muslims returning from Syria. Here’s the video:

http://on.aol.com/video/rehab-for-isis–denmark-tries-to-reform-extremist-fighters-518407887

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Al Jazeera

Danish city offers route home and rehab for Syrian volunteers

Aarhus, Denmark – An innovative rehabilitation programme is offering Danish Muslims in Syria an escape route from the conflict zone and help getting their lives back on track without the threat of prosecution.

 

Danish fighters in Syria appeared in a YouTube video last year.

A YouTube video made by fighters from Denmark last year showed them firing their weapons at images of prominent Danish figures.

The programme, a collaboration between welfare services and police in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, offers treatment for shrapnel and gunshot wounds and psychological trauma to returning fighters and humanitarian volunteers as well as assisting them with finding work or resuming their education.

The programme also provides support to the families of those already in Syria, ranging from helping them stay in touch via Skype to liaising with government officials, consulates and intelligence agencies to help get their relatives home when they decide they want to leave.

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