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   Denmark's first mosque opens amid controversy

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News Date

6/20/2014 8:00 pm

Author

Simon Hooper

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News

Database Record

Entered 6/20/2014, Updated 6/20/2014

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Perched on top of a tall column at a road junction in the Norrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, an enormous American-style ringed doughnut demands to be noticed. "De Angelis. Delightfully different DONUTS," reads the sign. Further down the street, a mock lighthouse advertises a self-storage warehouse, vying for attention on the busy skyline with the branded flags of car showrooms and industrial chimneys. Next to the lighthouse is the latest vertical addition to this mundane urban landscape that is currently stoking controversy in the Danish capital. A slender minaret topped with a small crescent marks the site of Denmark's first purpose-built mosque. Denmark is home to approximately 226,000 Muslims, many of them the children of migrants who have been arriving since the 1960s. Many of them hope the mosque and the adjoined Islamic cultural centre finally means acceptance after decades of marginalisation. But senior politicians and members of the Danish royal family invited to Thursday's opening ceremony stayed away amid concerns that the organisation behind the mosque, the Danish Islamic Council (DIR), promotes a conservative interpretation of Islam.


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