Muslim TV Host Causes Controversy by Wearing Hijab

April 5, 2006

Source: Daily Times

Wire Service: AFP

On April 5, 2006 Agence France-Presse reported, "A Muslim host of a TV talkshow on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cartoons has caused a sharp division among viewers in Denmark by wearing a headscarf on screen, a first in the Scandinavian country at the origin of the cartoons scandal. Asmaa Abdol-Hamid, a 24-year-old Dane of Palestinian origin, last week began hosting an eight-part programme on the public DR2 network on the fallout of the cartoons affair which led to violent protests throughout the Muslim world. Asmaa, who is regarded as a radical defender of Islam, debates the issues with co-host Adam Holm, an ardent proponent of press freedom, reflecting an ongoing public debate in Denmark about freedom of expression and respect of religious symbols. Asmaa is a member of one of the Muslim organisations which recently sued Danish daily Jyllands-Posten for publishing the cartoons, considered by Muslims to be blasphemous, last September. She also never shakes men hands, saying this 'is a religious choice that has nothing do with the oppression of women'. But more than her views, it is Asmaa’s headscarf that has prompted angry responses, including from some feminist organisations. 'The choice of Asmaa Abdol-Hamid is an insult to both Danish and Muslim women,' Vibeke Manniche, head of the Women for Freedom association, said. 'She sends the signal that an honourable woman cannot go out unless her head is covered,' she added."