“I don’t pray, I don’t fast, but Islam is a part of my culture”
Copenhagen: Born in Damascus, Syria a Danish politician is identified as Muslim but, he believes Islam is presently in “crisis.”
Naser Khader is currently serving in the Denmark’s parliament. Khader wants the burqa to be banned and he argues that Islamism and Islam aren’t entirely separate.
Even the western politicians from the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May to former U.S. President Barack Obama have been careful to make a distinction between Islam, the religion, and jihadi terrorists but Khader chose to go against the ethics.
“We can’t deny it. Those that commit these crimes are Muslims, they use Muslim arguments, they use passages from the Quran,” he said, according to OZY.
Khader, who is currently the foreign policy spokesperson for the Conservative Party, feels it’s his “obligation” to speak on this topic.
“It’s much easier for me than for my colleagues who are white and Christian,” he said.
The Danish-Syrian politician thinks the Quran should be updated and translated into modern-standard Arabic, so it is easier to interpret and understand in today’s world.
He also believes that Sharia should only be practiced as a matter of individual faith, not implemented as a legal system, and he thinks it needs to be stressed that Muhammad is just a prophet, and not God. Overall, he believes that Islam needs a true revolution.
Whilst many are questioning Khader’s Muslim faith, he considers himself a “reform” or “moderate” Muslim.
“I have faith but I am not religious. I don’t pray, I don’t fast, but Islam is a part of my culture,” he said.
Not only this, in the wake of the 2005-2006 Danish “cartoon crisis,” Khader formed a group called Moderate Muslims. As many of the country’s Muslims were protesting and rioting a local newspaper’s decision to publish provocative cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, Khader and his group voiced their support for the cartoonist and freedom of speech.
Explaining his position, Khader referenced his childhood in Syria.
“I know what it is like to live without freedom,” he said.
When it comes to his homeland, Khader has taken a position in support of the war’s victims. In October of last year, Khader and several other MPs were thrown out of parliament when they attended a session wearing t-shirts in support of Aleppo’s suffering civilians.
“We have ample opportunity to express our opinions from the speaker’s podium – that’s why we are politicians,” the Speaker of Parliament Pia Kjærsgaard said following the incident, according to the CPH Post.
“It is not acceptable to sit in t-shirts or other items of clothing that convey a political standpoint,” she said.
The t-shirts said: “Syria, Aleppo, Bleeding #savesyria.”
At the same time, Khader has voiced on immigration and refugees. In March, he said that illegal immigration and refugees are a primary concern to Denmark.
He pointed out at the government’s current mandate saying that Denmark is “facing the challenge of both Putin and immigration,” according to The Local.
Despite his controversial stances, Khader is perceived as likable by many. At the same time, he has kept two personal security guards for protection since 2006.
Khader is a strong supporter of women’s rights and culture. At the same time, he advocates for stronger shows of force both internally when it comes to policing, and internationally through NATO, specifically in the context of Syria.