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Denmark Has a National Songbook. Should It Mention Ramadan?

“No, no, no! A Ramadan song doesn’t belong in the Danish High School Songbook,” tweeted the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party. In an interview with the newspaper Berlingske, the Liberal Alliance’s Henrik Dahl accused the committee of “ideological signaling of multicultural views.”

Mr. Bashiri said he saw this kind of criticism as an unwillingness to acknowledge reality. “They want to keep Denmark white,” he said of the song’s opponents. “But Denmark is not just white anymore. And if a song can threaten your whole national identity, I’d say you’ve got an identity crisis.”

It’s not even the first time in the past year that morgensang has turned into a political hot potato. Late in 2018, a professor at Copenhagen Business School, Mads Mordhorst, apologized after a teacher with an immigrant background objected that another classic, “The Danish Song Is a Young Blond Girl,” made her feel excluded when sung at a school assembly.

After Professor Mordhorst announced that the song would no longer be included in any of the school’s ceremonies, a number of politicians objected, including the prime minister at the time, Lars Lokke Rasmussen; some joined together to sing the song from inside the Parliament.

Alex Ahrendtsen, the Danish People’s Party’s spokesman on culture and schools, said in an interview that it was neither the content of Mr. Bashiri’s song nor the author that grated, but rather the selection process. “Until 2006, every time the songbook changed, the new songs were already being sung,” he said. “They were already popular. Here, they reversed the process; now, the committee is the one deciding for the people. It’s elitist.”

The songbook, Mr. Ahrendtsen said, “represents our tradition, our culture and history, the taste of the people.”

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