On Friday February 19 the imam Sheikh Khalid Yasin spoke in the city district of Nørrebro allegedly to prevent young people from joining gangs. Yasin was born in Harlem, New York and grew up as a Christian in Brooklyn. Inspired by Malcolm X he converted to Islam in 1965. Yasin now lives in Manchester, UK where he runs an Islamic center – a so called Da`wah. Yasin is by many considered controversial because he has made statements such as that AIDS was invented in the West and deliberately injected into Africans.

The organizations ‘Knowledge of Islam – Viomis’ and ‘NørreBronx’ were behind the event. NørreBronx engages in social work for young people and receives financial support from the city. Members of Copenhagen’s city council have therefore been questioning whether public tax money has paid for the imam’s visit in Copenhagen.

The president of NørreBronx, Khalid Alsubeihi, denies that the money to pay for Yasin’s appearance came from public funds. He said he personally paid for Yasin to speak at the engagement and believes the imam is the right person to speak to young people about avoiding the gang milieu. “He has himself been in a gang, so he knows what he’s talking about. The young people like him and they listen to him”, Alsubeihi told public broadcaster DR.

A city council member of the Red-Green Alliance, Jaleh Tavakoli was attending the meeting. There were gender segregated seating but Tavakoli insisted on sitting next to her husband. A group of people gathered around Tavakoli and her husband trying to make her take a seat in the women’s section. “In the end about 50 people were standing around me shouting words like slut, fat pig and a few were threatening to hurt me. I was very scared” Tavakoli says. She called the police who escorted her and her husband out. Tavakoli is originally from Iran and she is spokeswoman for the organization ‘Free Iran’ which works for human rights, democracy and freedom in Iran.

Viomis’ homepage refers to Yasin as the organization’s mentor and teacher and says he will visit Denmark every other month to speak.

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