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Keel, Aldo

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3 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 16/04/2008

Denmark's graveside manners

Copenhagen has a Jewish and a Muslim cemetery in addition to its Christian ones. Its famous Assistens Cemetery has a section reserved for gays and lesbians, and soon there will be a separate cemetery for atheists, Aldo Keel reports. "Provided the Church minister gives his blessing, the cemetery for atheists will open in summer 2009. Until then a section of the former poor people's cemetery, where there never were coffins or urns, will be officially 'de-consecrated' to serve as a cemetery for atheists. This new cemetery culture reflects Denmark's pluralist society. Back in 1855 there was a tumultuous scene at the burial of philosopher Søren Kierkegaards because his express wish not to be given church burial was ignored. As the pastor was about to throw a handful of earth on to his coffin, Kierkegaard's nephew delivered a speech accusing the Church of body-snatching."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 11/12/2006

Islam in Scandinavian countries

Scandinavia expert Aldo Keel compares how the themes of Islam and integration are handled in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. "In spite of Sweden's very open immigration policy, the xenophobic Swedish Democrats failed to make the leap to Parliament in the recent elections, winning only 2.9 percent of the vote. On the other hand, in Denmark the nationalistic People's Party came in third and in Norway the populist Progress Party had 30 percent favourable ratings in recent surveys. In Sweden, it is considered polite not to complain too loudly about foreigners. It's a different story in Denmark. Legislators from the People's Party, which helps build majorities for the government in parliament, denigrates Islam as a 'terror organisation,' a 'scourge' and 'a cancer,' and refers to Danish Muslims as 'occupying troops'. The crisis over the Mohammed cartoons only intensified the rhetoric... Many Danes belive that the escalation is the fault of the imams. But as journalists Seidenfaden and Larsen explain in their monograph about the affair, the influence of Danish imams in Islamic countries is overestimated."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 24/08/2006

Danish globalisation in English

The proposal put forward by the left-wing liberal party Det Radikale Venstre to make English Denmark's second official language has triggered intense debate. Aldo Keel comments on this approach to dealing with the challenges of globalisation. "Times are certainly changing. Just five years ago the Danish Film Institute refused an application for funding for an English-language film made by Dogma director Thomas Vinterberg on the grounds that a Danish film was a Danish film in which Danish was spoken. It's a Danish axiom that the soul of the Danish people resides in their mother tongue. But this conviction also has its roots in history. Two hundred years ago Copenhagen was the capital of a multinational state which comprised the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein… After its defeat at the hands of the Prussians and Austrians in 1864, Denmark developed into a smaller nation state. Its linguistic patriotism was celebrated in poems dedicated to the 'mother tongue'. Now Denmark is experiencing a new period of transition. But how the nation will respond to these new ideas and whether the Danes now feel the need for a 'father tongue' remains to be seen."

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