A Danish minister has brought about outrage among the many Muslim minority for suggesting imams and neighborhood leaders ought to publicly help the “proper” to have intercourse earlier than marriage for girls.

Mattias Tesfaye, overseas affairs and integration minister, stated in a Fb submit final month, after assembly with some Muslim leaders: “I requested them very immediately if they’d say out loud and clear in public that Muslim ladies, after all, have the correct to intercourse earlier than marriage similar to all different ladies.”

In an editorial within the Danish paper, Dagbladet Info, additionally printed in October, Tesfaye wrote: “I hear that some Muslim ladies worry that they won’t bleed on the marriage evening. They’re afraid of being overwhelmed as a result of the household expects them to be virgins on the marriage evening.

“It’s your life and your selection. Don’t let your self be dominated by both imams or outdated norms.”

Hediye Temiz, who at 22 is likely one of the youngest metropolis council members in Denmark, within the metropolis of Albertslund, stated Tesfaye’s strategy was misguided.

“He needs to unravel (Muslim ladies’s) issues, however I believe the best way he tries to unravel it isn’t the correct manner,” stated Temiz, including that she joined politics as a result of she was annoyed with the best way Muslims have been talked about by politicians in Denmark.

In the meantime, Halima El Abassi, who advises the Danish authorities because the chairwoman of the Council of Ethnic Minorities, stated Muslim ladies ought to resolve for themselves and never be spoken about as if they don’t have company.

“It ought to be the lady’s personal choice,” she informed Al Jazeera. “It’s not the imam’s choice or the minister of overseas affairs’ choice.”

Minister of Integration Mattias Tesfaye arrives on the Holmen Church previous to a service for the royal household and members of Parliament earlier than the official opening of the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark October 6, 2020 [Ritzau Scanpix/Martin Sylvest via Reuters]

Tesfaye, in current months, has more and more focused topics concerning Muslim ladies in Denmark, which culminated in a brand new marketing campaign launched on November 14 by the Danish Company for Worldwide Recruitment and Integration, aimed toward ladies from minority backgrounds.

El Abassi options in considered one of three marketing campaign movies, speaking concerning the adverse impact of her organized marriage.

Tesfaye has beforehand claimed Denmark is witnessing a “complete struggle of independence”, the place younger ladies dwell in “invisible prisons”, in pressured or violent marriages, a part of what he phrases “adverse social management”.

He has promised a lot of payments within the coming weeks to deal with; classifying “adverse social management” as psychological violence, the payments search to punish imams with as much as three years in jail in the event that they produce “non secular divorce contracts in response to sharia [Islamic] guidelines”, a authorities press launch said.

One other proposal seeks to criminalise non secular preachers or mother and father of minors – these beneath the age of 18 – in the event that they perform the wedding of the kid, however that is already unlawful in Denmark.

Imams who aren’t Danish residents additionally face the chance of deportation.

Muslim marriages

Final week, Tesfaye, condemned a monetary side of Muslim marriages, saying they lure ladies in violent marriages and saddle younger males with debt.

In Islam, the mahr, or dowry, is paid by the groom to the bride on the time of marriage. It’s usually cash however will be jewelry or different objects, and is seen as a type of safety or insurance coverage for the spouse.

“At this time there are millions of ladies who’re in the course of a freedom wrestle,” Tesfaye stated in a press launch. “And we do that to assist these ladies.”

By the point of publishing, Tesfaye had not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for remark.

Hediye Temiz, who at 22 is likely one of the youngest metropolis council members in Denmark, within the metropolis of Albertslund, stated Tesfaye’s strategy was misguided [Courtesy: Hediye Temiz]

Temiz, who broke off her engagement a 12 months in the past, returned the mahr to her ex-fiance.

She sees Tesfaye’s place as intrusive.

“It shouldn’t be in authorities management, what I’m going to have because the mahr,” she stated, explaining that Tesfaye assumes all Muslim ladies within the nation are being oppressed.

For Amani Hassani, sociologist and analysis coordinator on the Heart for Danish Muslim Relations (CEDAR), the proposals are alarming.

“It’s introduced as a authorities needing to liberate these ladies,” she informed Al Jazeera, “The previous Orientalist trope of … brown ladies being oppressed by their brown males and needing us to save lots of them from that.”

She added that Muslim ladies view the mahr as “an essential proper when coming into an Islamic marriage contract as a result of it supplies the lady with one thing that’s solely hers.”

“Giving up this proper is her choice to make, it shouldn’t be dictated by her household nor society,” she added.

Muslim ladies usually search non secular counsel in issues of marriage and divorce.

If handed, Tesfaye’s invoice might see some non secular leaders prosecuted, even those that merely present counsel, stated Hassani.

“That is … a manner for the federal government to scale back the Muslim neighborhood’s rights,” Hassani stated. “It’s a manner of permitting the federal government and the state to surveil the Muslim neighborhood.”

El Abbasi, the federal government adviser, stated whereas Muslims ought to recognise the issues related to wedding-related debt and compelled marriages, “you need to clear up the issues in the correct context.”

Within the case of the mahr, she stated: “You’ll be able to’t make legal guidelines to manage this stuff.”

“No male, both from the Danish society or the society the place they arrive from, resolve for them (ladies) what to do.”

However Muslim ladies within the public eye equivalent to Temiz take a more durable line on Tesfaye’s rhetoric.

“I believe that there’s plenty of Muslim women and girls in Denmark (who’ve) had sufficient of this speak from the minister,” she stated. “I simply hope that this invoice gained’t do something worse for Muslims.”


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