Tuesday, April 11, 2006

First Hijab-clad Presenter on Danish TV

"I'm proud to be a Danish Muslim of Palestinian origin," said Asmaa.

COPENHAGEN, March 31, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – The first hijab-clad talk show presenter has appeared on the Danish television to discuss Danish society's pressing issues topped by the cartoons that lampooned Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

"I'm seeking to project a good image about hijab-clad Muslim women in Denmark," Asmaa Abdol-Hamid told IslamOnline.net Friday, March 31.

Asmaa, 24, appeared for the first time on the small screen on
Wednesday, March 29.

She has been selected to co-present a talk show with Danish reporter Adam Holm.

"It has been a bold move from the Danish television and a step in the right direction," she said.

Denmark has been the focus of Muslim anger following the publication of THE offensive cartoons by mass-circulation Jyallands Posten last September.

The 12 cartoons, including one showing the Prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, were later reprinted by European newspapers on claims of freedom of expression.

Proud Muslim

Asmaa co-presents the program with Danish journalist Adam Holm.

The young lady has grown up in Denmark since she was six years old.

"I'm proud to be a Danish Muslim of Palestinian origin," said Asmaa, who is doing an MA in sociology.

"My family has supported me and gave me full freedom of choice," she added.

Asmaa has been singled out of four other competitors for the TV program.

"I was the only hijab-clad woman among the candidates," she noted.

"It is now my responsibility to present the true image of Islam as an ambassadress of the Muslim faith."

Asmaa rejected that she was chosen for hijab or as a gesture of goodwill from the Danish government to the Muslim world.

"I have the necessary qualifications for the job as a fluent Danish speaker and a confident presenter and interviewer," she explained.

Love/Hate Mails

Asmaa believes that her hijab will be the talk of the audience at the very beginning.

"But I'm confident that with the passage of time they would come to realize my distinct personality and presentation."

She said that she had received love and hate e-mails from Danish viewers.

"Some e-mails were critical and offensive; but I was never provoked and dealt with them in accordance with our Islamic teachings, trying to explain my viewpoints to the senders."

She hopes that her program will appeal to the Muslim minority in the country, urging Danish Muslims to participate and integrate into
society.

"This would help Muslims become part and parcel of Danish society," she said.

Muslims make up around three percent of Denmark's 5.3 population, making Islam the second largest religion after the Lutheran Protestant Church.

Islam, however, is not recognized by the state unlike Christianity and Judaism.

By Nidal Abu Arif, IOL Correspondent

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