“One is Danish first, and then you can be whatever you want”, said a Danish politician, at a conference held in Vartov some weeks ago. That statement stayed with me. The thing is, I never considered myself Danish first. Of course, I consider myself Danish. Just not firstly. A rapid, alert and bright answer from another member at the panel debate followed, “I consider myself human first…” and the crowed laughed. To me being human is not a religiously neutral way of life. Me considering myself human, means that I consider myself created in God’s image. Thus, I guess I consider myself Christian first. Followed thereafter by nationality, culture and so forth. So where lies the problem really?

The problem lies with the fear of religion. The fear of people believing in something so much, they are willing to put their believe-system before anything else. And now, dear reader you probably turn your attention towards Muslims and Islam. Because in Western societies, that is the religion we fear. We fear the consequences of allowing a minority in our societies to believe. We fear what the parallel societies may do to our culture. But despite the fact that Christian believers may not be as many considering the size of the Danish population for instance, we are a big group. And we too, in some sense make parallel societies. We sometimes speak “a different language” despite doing it in Danish. What I am trying to make you – reader – understand is the clash between two worlds. The Danish politicians talk about parallel societies, poor integration into Danish society and then they point their fingers discreetly towards other religious groups. Truth is, considering what I experience to be the norm amongst “common Danes” I might also be poorly integrated. I speak Danish, I know the history, I understand the culture. I just choose not to akt like everyone else and sometimes speak differently. Because I believe in something bigger than culture and language.

I have a lot of friends who accepts me for who I am, and most of them have never really told me how I am supposed to act. But, sometimes. Every now and again I see the ugly face of Religion-Fear. It creeps into people who don’t know me and hears of my very religious behaviour without knowing me.

I experience that I “muzzle” myself, so to speak. There are certain things I do not touch upon when I am with people who does not know me as well. Certain ways of saying things that I refrain from whenever I am with people who wouldn’t understand.

And, that is when I feel it. Society does not want me to be myself. At the utmost, I shall be what the norm dictates. Sit back and listen to what the atheist say – without defending myself. In fear of what religion could do to our society, I fear that we have created our own sense of freedom of speech. A freedom where you can say certain things – while others will be frowned upon. Luckily, I don’t care. I know my freedom in a country as Denmark, and I will be loyal to the society which have given me so much. But if the same society keeps pushing me over the edge. Keeps pointing fingers at me while saying I am not allowed to be me, I’m not sure that loyalty will stick. In my life I have made an honest attempt as not to tell others how they should live their lifes, but this does not go the other way around. I often have an experience of people telling me how I should live, muzzling me. The thing is, that we in Denmark are raised to believe that we can go in whatever way we want – as long as it does not interfere or disrupt in other peoples life-paths in a terrorising and destructive way. So, of course the result will be a population with different sets of believes and ways of thinking. A multi-culturality we cannot ignore.

Of course new things, worldviews and so forth are frightening. Once upon a time men believed that women was only to their pleasure and it was dangerous to let them vote – look at us now. Right now, in the US there are miners who are afraid of what will happen if their jobs are no longer. Afraid of the new path and clutching on to something they already know, in fear of the day they have to face new possibilities. I don’t know their situation exactly, but their situation made me think about us today. In Denmark. Maybe the fear of the unknown are overshadowing the many good possibilities in allowing different cultures to thrive. Sometimes the best step to take – is that step into the unknown. Maybe its time to start opening up to get to know each others instead of fearing each others. Maybe its time to stop fearing religion and start fearing the actual enemy of our society: the naive idea that just because I am not Dane first, and confide in a religion I am an enemy to our society.


Mona Eltahawy published in 2015 the rather interesting and provocative book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. A personal tale of the double standards she met and the personal battles she had had with Islam and its view on the women. Mostly, the book is written within the aspects and fights of feminism and the authors understanding of such in the Middle East.

I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. Despite the fact that I do believe a woman can do, and should be able to do, whatever is in her scope of succeeding with. My own view of a woman is that she is beautiful. She contains many wonders. Much strength. And that she is capable of so much more than what we all initially thinks – including the women themselves. I have had the pleasure to meet many impressive women. My grandmother is one of the women that keeps surprising me. Her strength to keep doing, believing and act the way she believes to be the ultimate truth, impresses me time and time again.

This book focuses on The Middle Eastern woman. It describes the obstacles women face in a patriarchal world, where men are the head of the family and women are considered to be machines only to bring children to the world and to take care of them. The book is a necessary contribution to stir and discuss how we consider women in the Middle East. It do put up important questions as to where the Western politicians alliance lay. And I love how it provoked my else firm understanding of the woman in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, I find that it more than once generalises and speaks into the world of women, she doesn’t necessarily know anything about. She keeps talking about the hypocrisy of the Western world. How they close their eyes towards the Saudi Arabian view on and treatment of women. The thing is that the book is missing a layer of understanding. Not that this would in any way be an excuse for ignoring the problems, but could be an explanation to the Western world’s treatment of the issue. The lack of the overall political layer unfortunately cripples the else interesting subject the books puts forward into the light.

In another example she talks about women in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. That all women under any of these religious affiliations are suppressed by men and a patriarchal worldview. First and foremost it is problematic to write in a tone, in which one expresses that no one should meddle in this, when one points a judgemental finger towards other religious affiliations, one doesn’t seem to know that much about. It almost seems as if, in her view, that her epiphany should destroy every other women’s religious affiliation. The thing is that I am sitting as the receiver of her message thinking, “Hey, I made my own choice. I understand that you felt forced into making yours. But I wasn’t. I chose to become a Christian. I chose to live the way I do. Not because some man stood with a judging mindset towards my female presence and told me to cross my legs and be virtuous”. As a matter of fact I made my choice in a country where I will be viewed as radically different from the norm. It seems to me that Mona Eltahawy describes a situation where being and acting like a Muslim woman is the same as being a part of what in that part of the world is considered the norm. I am not saying that her situation isn’t awful and that we should keep our eyes closed to what for some is a problem. I am saying, that in her mission to spread the word about a hypocrisy that needs attention, she drags along women that isn’t necessarily a victim of the fight. In that, she almost drowns the real victims that needs attention with women that doesn’t.

I remember the moment I decided that I wanted to study religion and religious affiliation. I was in the bazaar of Jerusalem. Standing in the middle of the welter of people that negotiated prices. People discussing. People eating. On my right side, a Muslim man walks proudly towards me. He doesn’t notice anything. His walk reveals a proud mind. Behind him a woman, his wife, is walking, almost running with what almost seemed as an abundance of children swarming around her, demanding her every attention. On my left, a Jewish man comes walking towards me. He doesn’t notice anything in front of him. Not because he seems proud of himself. But his sole attention is to the beautiful woman on his left. He doesn’t care about the world, but looks with wonder. With pride. With amazement. With respect towards the woman he has with him on his right. Since I have learned how religious doctrines are differently interpreted. Unfortunately, Mona Eltahawy does not seem to have understood the same.

From my academic understanding, the problem of having a religious affiliation is only when one person through one’s religious understanding limits the freedom of others. Others who didn’t necessarily chose this worldview. And herein, lies the difference between the religiosity I see emerging in most cases in for instance Denmark, as opposed to the one that lives in some areas where it is a limitation for people who did not chose the affiliation they are “being governed by”.

As black and white things seems to be in this important contribution of a book written for Mona, that is not how black and white the world initially are. Religion is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important to underline and fight for Women’s Rights – but not to forget that there is also the right to belief and other human rights to underline and fight for, which are equally as important.


…In Denmark “Lagkagehuset” is famous for its cakes (well at least to me).. All the amazing cakes I once ate and cannot eat anymore. This particular line of stores are opening in London – with a new “Personal”-name. Which is good for them because “Layer Cake House” (direct translation) does not sound that hip in my ears. So, I Guess “Ole & Steen Layer Cake House” is sooooo much better (hint: irony may have occurred here).

…I loooove modern art. I mean, really love it. I am that type of person who can stand in front of a canvas and wonder what there is on the other side, if the artist just painted in the corner. A friend of mine always recall a time we went to Tade Modern together, in which I stood in wonder in front of a painting for more than 15 minutes in amazement. My friend always ends the tale by reminding me that the canvas only had a dot in the middle of a big white background. But, there is a limit and when this Danish town, Ballerup, hoisted a 5 metre high knuckle-buster with hearts in side of the  holes, I have to admit I laughed. What on earth did the artist think? It just seems so ridicules that I have to experience it live. I just have to!  If you have become curious, please see the pictures taken of the glorious knuckle-love-burster here.


It had already been a productive day. Job-applications had been sent. Important mails had been answered. Job-log was up-to-date. Clothes was washed and hang to dry or was yet to be folded. I had been out running this morning. And then, I was sitting in my couch surrounded by clean clothes, ready to begin reading my professional relevant reading material. I mean – just because I am unemployed (and really, really want a job), it doesn’t mean that learning have to stop. On that note, I also follow different online courses. All in all, productive in the process of getting my first adult job. A regular day for me. Sometimes I sit at the library, in the effort of getting things done.

I am privileged. I live in a country where we still get support to get an education. And find a relevant job. There are few who do misuse the system, but else, I find it works really well. I have the time to go to relevant seminars. Network. Do internships. And so forth. When slightly looking at the American system, and considering my own situation, I honestly do not want to be american. I love how the Danish system looks out for the weak in the society. How we get a chance to find a relevant job. Educate. Where escaping one’s social heritage does not have to be a fight about all or nothing, but can be done through educating oneself. Getting a different job than what one’s parents had. I for one do not want to be a teacher (sorry Mom) or a carpenter. I admire my parents. My father build up his own company. My mother educated further and got a degree in something teacher-ish that I cannot remember. They were/are intelligent in their own ways. So I am lucky. I grew up in a country where I did not have to be a teacher because my mother is. I can go my own ways. Have my own opinions. My own beliefs.

I once met a woman from the USA. Interesting talks we had, but she personally shot down the Danish society saying that it would not last for long. “How old is it? A couple of decades?”. I remember sitting in disbelief thinking, that first and foremost it was a tad older than just a couple of decades and by the way, I would not change it to yours. I can scarcely understand how one can argue for a society-system where the “fittest will survive”. I find that inhumane in some ways. I can understand that one learns to take care of oneself and does not rely on the society to help. But I like that there always is something to fall back on, and not fall out of society completely. That help is always around the corner.

These days where change are revealing itself in the choices made by the Danish government – a government that seems to want the American society instead of the one we already have. These days, I am reminded about all the opportunities I have and have had – all opportunities I wouldn’t have in the system the government wishes for. I am lucky – I have had the chance to get an education I am passionated about. I have been able to challenge my inner nerd with subjects of how society deals with religion. How people deals with religion. The different religious affiliations. The Middle Eastern Society in its different perspectives. I have had the chance to spent the time needed to find a relevant job. I will have the possibility to contribute to society and give back in a job I will love and be passionated about. Without having to fight over money. The system in Denmark is not perfect and need adjusting. But oh, the stomach ache when looking at the changes already made and changes that are about to come. Changes have to happen. But stop ruining the system. Make it better. Make improvements. Stop thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Because from where I stand, it is not.

I am already on the right side…


I’m not necessarily a dedicated feminist. I do think women should have more influence on society and I do agree to a great extent with their arguments of the feminists. However, it is difficult not to be a little feminist in a world where the new normal is not necessarily to feel like the gender one is born as. Guides on how to raise your children “gender-neutral” are emerging in the media, online, and in some countries are flourishing in different state as well as non-state institutions.

In Sweden it is well-known that the day care facilities are supposed to neither call children him or her. Instead they have implemented the gender neutral “hen” in an effort not to label one person a boy or a girl. The main argument is that society have created the different genders. That the citizens have in some way been suppressed under the label of one gender. Therefore, it is of interest of the citizens to raise children gender-neutral in order to give the future children the ability to choose what they feel they are.

I honestly can’t help but wonder what on earth is wrong with being a boy or a girl? What is wrong with me being a woman? Personally it has spurred a lot of self-examination: Why is it that I keep it a secret that I might be a little romantic? Am I embarrassed of being who I am: feminine?

For a very long time growing up I found the whole idea of being feminine difficult. In my teen-years, I longed in a self-centred moment for others to look at me and admire me. Growing up I realised that, what others thought of me would only let them abstain me from becoming who I truly was. My teen-years was confusing and turbulent, and I do have absolutely no intention or wish to relive those years. They made me who I am today. The woman I am. This is how I am born and who I am proud to be. I know that there is some in this world that are confused and have a need to “not determine”, but that shouldn’t prevent those who is in no doubt about who they are?

Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder whether the idea of a gender-neutral upbringing emerging and spreading in the Western world, is a sign of boredom? Because while we are arguing and discussing how to raise children in an effort for them to define themselves, there are people in other parts of the world that doesn’t have this luxury: The freedom to define themselves. There are people fighting to  live through another day of war or hunger.

“Perhaps the world’s second-worst crime is boredom; the first is being a bore” – quote by Cecil Beaton.


First published on figmentsofimaginations.blogspot.dk, February 20th 2016 during thesis writing.

“The first four steps, in fact, revolve around getting to know people and building trust: Be helpful, be good neighbors, listen to the concerns of others. The activist’s religious identity is not revealed until step five and only then in a rudimentary fashion that avoids church questions and instead centers on generic religious discussions and values … In a similar fashion some Islamic activists, particularly jihadis, hide their movement identity, until after a personal relationship is developed. ” Quintan Wiktorowicz, Radical Islam Rising, 2005 p. 23.

As I am writing my thesis  I came across this rather detailed description of how religious activists, through a development of personal relation, seeks to proselyte among strangers, in an attempt to gain followers. At first I found it kind of weird; So now I have to worry about the guy who pics up my wallet from the street and runs to me to hand it to me? Or the neighbour that knocks on my door with a piece of pie she made yesterday? Because they might be radicalised and before I know it I might be involved in some extreme activities? First, I came to realise that this method is not exclusively something “Islamic activists” do, everyone does it. Everyone should do it. Not necessarily with a hidden agenda. But, wouldn’t the world be a less lonely place if we were some who came out of our individualistic tendencies? Everyone needs someone to listen to one’s concerns. Relate. Everyone at some point in their lives needs a helping hand. Second, I became a little curious on how many ‘radicalised’ have actually been detected in the Danish society. An article recently revealed that the Danish Immigration Services received 5 notifications of coincidences of possible radicalised people. In 2015 an estimated number of over 21000 people sought asylum in Denmark (exact numbers: https://www.nyidanmark.dk/NR/rdonlyres/E3C50EA0-BD36-4DDD-9C8D7AAF44DE1F12/0/seneste_tal_udlaendingeeomraadet.pdf). Now, 5 coincidences are not a lot. Though, we may take into account that various de-radicalisation programs may have received some notifications as well, the next question is what here is meant by ‘radicalisation’? The usual definition contains a process where someone to a higher degree accepts violence in order to fulfil one’s political / ideological / religious goals. Now, does this person have to exercise violence? Can someone be referred to as radical just in terms of opinions? One’s execution of regular lifestile choices? Would someone choosing to live fully by the bible not also be called radical by the rest of the society if they did not live by this norm? And what exactly is wrong with having a radically different worldview as long as such worldview does not violently affect others? I understand that something needs to be done when it comes to preventing violence from being the choice of expression when someone wants to express themselves, but I find that radical way of living becomes dangerous in itself, without some perspective and without general knowledge about the different worldviews. Hypothetically, I guess the reason why Christianity in some contexts isn’t regarded as ‘dangerous’ in the Danish society, because Danes are aware and know to some extent of the religion and what it entails, naturally everything unknown becomes that dangerous thing out there in the dark. But maybe, instead of accusing someone for being ‘radical’ in its negative connotation, it is time to reach out and become acquainted with the different worldviews. What is the worse that could happen? Maybe you will get a knew friend? Maybe not? Under all circumstances, we are all free to express our opinions. Free to belief in anything we want. As long as that does not cause any harm to others’ rights? So lets all look over the hedge separating our gardens from the neighbours and say hello.

Let’s all be ‘radical’.


I am not a Muslim. I am a Christian. Thus – for obvious reasons – I do not know the intimate details about having a religious affiliation to Islam as I do as to Christianity. However, I do have an education in the study of religion and I do read the newspapers and follow steadily in the news. And I do see the different profiles we, talking from a Danish point of view, are fed up with about Islam and how we are being told how to think about Muslims.

I find that society today tends to point a little too much on the Muslims as terrorists, radicals and dangerous. So, when Pope Francis stood up and refused to point his finger at fellow Muslims in relation to the murder of a Roman Catholic Priest in June, I find that he pointed towards a general flaw in our society. I found his comments relevant. Because, I know some politicians wants me to believe that everyone who affiliate with Islam is dangerous, because Islam is a violent religion – but the thing is, I have met a lot of muslims that acted and believed in peaceful co-existens between Muslims and Jews in Israels-Palestine. So why is it we cannot have the same main idea in Europe? Why is it that Muslims should be to blame for a violent culture, when Europe was the one that have destroyed tribes and cultures in the Middle East and Africa historically? What about all the crusades that took it to be their mission to take back Jerusalem? Then, haven’t Christianity been a violent religion too?

I do not believe that religion is to blame for war. I believe we as selfish, discriminating human beings are to blame – and I believe we sometimes use religion as a way to authorise war. But I also think that we sometimes use religion to authorise a certain view on a group of people who doesn’t necessarily have a violent world view. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if this view that the media and the politicians often feeds us with is the very reason that some Muslims do implement a violent world view as the only way to make us respect them.

But don’t we all have the right to be respected as we are beyond violence?


A new radio-program on my favourite radio-station made me wonder whether or not it is really that bad to have created an “us” as opposed to everyone else? When is it actually problematic to have created an in-group, an “us”? The host often argued against refugees and had a rather narrow minded and sceptical view on people who are of another descent than “pure danish” – people who have mixed their original descent with the Danish culture.

I have always argued against the creation of in-groups, cliques or groups like this. I find that they tend to try to set a standard for the rest to follow, which demeans other people who does not necessarily follow the rules of such a group – back to the school milieu, so to speak. But, the thing is, that we cannot avoid creating an “us”. To be Danish is different from being Swedish or Norwegian. We create societies bound together by culture, language, politics, religion and so forth.  No matter how we look at it, the way we collect and unify the different aspects of our society will stand in opposition to other societies and how they have bound the different aspects together.

Once, I was at a wedding, which to me have become the perfect example of this fact. While the groom was of Danish descent, the bride was Muslim. It was a wedding with different cultural elements, where the guests at some aspects did not know what was going on and regarding other aspects were a part of the “club” that knew! These two people getting married, was creating an “us”.

To me, the difference is whether a society compares itself with another in a demeaning way. Thus, creating an “us” as opposed to “them”. The fact that we have different cultures, comes from different societies, does not mean that we cannot behave and be polite towards one another. It does not mean that we in Denmark cannot help the refugees that flows into the country. It does not mean that we cannot help those people who suffer from war, by help recreating and reconquer their, “us”. In the end, everyone deserves to be a part of an “us”.

The problem with this constellation is when “us” and “them” becomes “us” versus “them”. When different groups compares, there may in some situations be created an unhealthy environment where one group presents itself as superior compared to the other.

Being a fellow citizen is not just about being apart of a group, but accepting the differences between the different groups living in and outside one’s society. Being a part of one group is not the problem – we all are apart of specific groups, whether we like it or not. The problem is when one group finds themselves superior towards another group.


These days the problems concerning the refugees is a sour subject in Denmark. In Denmark we all remember the day refugees walked across the country on the motorway. As a Dane I am at one hand more or less embarrassed by the way Denmark is perceived by the outside world. On the other hand I haven’t lost faith in the Danes, as I can see how much of a difference the Danish people actually want to do.

A friend of mine told me about a local initiative where the children of the neighbourhood can come and get help with their homework. She told me that most of the children knew Danish better than their native tongue and thereby, complicating simple communication between children and their families. Integration seems to be going very well, you may think. But hold on for a moment and try to follow my train of thought.



I am passionated about meeting everyone equally. Despite differences. Despite diverse worldviews. I’ve written about this before in the blog “A religious affiliation = A radical worldview?“, where I discuss the fright of religion that seems to be inflicting the Danish society. However, time and time again I meet “those people”. Those people who almost give me that sight look of disgust, when learning that I do believe in something higher than myself. I believe in a higher, intelligent power who created us all. I haven’t found any other explanation for the ultimate creation of this world. Why I am here.

I haven’t found any other explanation for all the crazy things that have happened in my life, which all bare the witness of someone watching out for me.

Now, this does not mean that you cannot talk to me as you do with any other normal human being. It does mean that I would love it if you came to the same conclusion as I. Because, fact is, this is what I believe to be the ultimate truth and I want any of my non-religious friends along with me.

What kind of a believer would I be, if I didn’t want everyone of my family, my friends or my friends boyfriends or girlfriends to see and ultimately believe what I do so that everyone of them could be saved?

It wouldn’t be in the line of the love, compassion and charity I have experienced from the God I believe in. Think about it. Don’t you think, that the world would be better of, if everyone in the world was convinced of the very thing you find to be the ultimate truth to be true? Then what is wrong, when I think in the same line of thought about the religious worldview I affiliate with? This is truly my inner argument when I meat someone I know not to be the believer I am. Not that I want to tell everyone how they should live their lives. I kind of just want to bring them in front of God, and let him about that.

This obviously mean, that when meeting me, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that I am a believer. You probably would think of me as a common woman with a common mind and life as the norm dictates. It is only when you take the time and patience of going past the layers of masks of how I want you to see me, that I will reveal that to you – and the side people would call lunatic. Because, I know what you might think. I know what most would think of me. I know the arguments. The discussions we would have. I am not sure if you see my predicament. On the one hand, I want the world to be saved. On the other, I want to be able to actually co-exist with people who don’t see the world as I do. In common respect and to be met equally.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. In the world we have today, society dictates a fright of religion and those who follow a religious worldview.

People like me are pressured under the falls pretences that we force upon others a worldview and a way of life. Thus, I am being looked down upon. Being considered lower than anyone else. Only because I do not follow the religion of the norm: Either to believe that there is no God or to believe in science as the only thing explaining the big questions. But if I am to respect you – aren’t you supposed to respect mine as well? If I am to listen to your worldview? Why is it you should under no circumstances to listen to mine?

I might be alien to you and it might seem like I just want to force a worldview upon you. Truthfully, I do not. But, again, what kind of a human being would I be, if I did not want to share the greatest treasure I have ever found with you? So don’t be scared. Don’t reject me as a mer worldview forced upon you. See it for what it really is: Compassion. And stop this ridiculous scare of religion.