Danish Conservatives upset over Muslim pamphlet


Northern Europe


Magnus Heunicke, the Danish Minister of Health. photo AFP, Ida Marie Odgaard, Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Conservative Party wants an explanation from the Minister of Health, Magnus Heunicke, on why the Danish Health and Medicines Authority refers to the Qur'an as a reason for Muslims to get vaccinated.

According to Marcus Knuth, the Conservatives' foreigners and integration spokesman, it is "ridiculous that health authorities are giving imams a legitimate voice in the medical field so that they can state that the Prophet Muhammad and Allah would approve being vaccinated against corona", writes Danish daily Kristeligt Dagblad.

A leaflet from Danish health authorities is the reason for the commotion. In it, Danish Health and Medicines Authority's director Søren Brostrøm and Imam Naveed Baig address various questions that might prevent Muslims from being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

According to Kristeligt Dagblad, both health and theological arguments for a vaccine are used in the pamphlet: "The Prophet Muhammad received and recommended medical treatment and said 'tadawu' (seek treatment) and 'tawakkul' (having confidence) in Allah is a virtue, ".

Niels Sandø Pedersen, manager at the National Board of Health, was in charge of preparing the information material. He explains that the document came about because people became aware that there had been misunderstandings about the Covid-19 vaccine, especially in Muslim communities.


Since the National Board of Health has neither knowledge nor anything to do with theology, it allied itself with Imam Naveed Baig and Muslim organizations to urge the misunderstandings to the ground in a hurry. "The leaflet is divided into two parts. One is about the health professional, where the National Board of Health responds. The other is a theological part, where the organizations respond. And then it is clear that there are some overlaps where there is input from both," says Niels Sandø Pedersen.

Marcus Knuth thinks it is paradoxical: "Denmark spends a lot of thinking about the fact that imams should not interfere in how you get dressed and when you get divorced. Now, health authorities give them a legitimate voice in something, which is in no way religious but medical."

Knuth believes the collaboration between the National Board of Health and imams is a slippery slope, where imams are robbed of power and given a legitimate voice in the health debate.



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