Rita Karlsen, HRS
The attack took place at Abildgård School in Vollsmose in Odense, Denmark. Before the 47-year-old male teacher and his female colleague were able to start a conversation, the father (33) lashed out at the teacher. The reason was that the teacher wanted to shake the 9-year-old girl’s hand. The father hit the teacher in the head with his fist and the teacher fell to the floor. The father then sat on the teacher and hit him in the face several times. When the teacher eventually managed to restrain his assailant’s hands, the father bit the teacher behind his ear. While this was going on, the assistant ran to the faculty lounge for help.
The officer on duty at the Fyns Police Station told Ekstrabladet.dk: “When the male teacher approached them and wanted to shake the girl’s hand, the father got very worked up. He yelled out something in Arabic and spat in the teacher’s face,” according to Ekstrabladet.dk.
The teacher was driven to the emergency ward, while the assailant was taken into custody by the police.
The father is a stateless Palestinian residing in Denmark, while the teacher’s background is Moroccan. Cultural sociologist Mehmet Ümit Necef describes the assault as an example of a pure victim mentality on the part of the assailant, who may have been especially provoked by the teacher’s ethnicity. This is consistent with the fact that immigrants have been told endlessly for years that Danes are racists, so they are simply mentally prepared to be insulted, maintains Necef.
”Academics and journalists have told immigrants for years that Danes are racists and that immigrants are victims. As a result many immigrants are mentally prepared to be insulted. They’ll take any opportunity to explode,” said Mehmet Necef, a lecturer at the University of Southern Denmark, to TV 2 News, according to jp.dk. He continued:
”It may be true that there is racism in Denmark. But people should realize that to constantly talk about it is to create a psychological readiness on the part of immigrants to take opportunities to explode,” he said.
Necef believes that it is especially interesting that the victim of the assault himself has an immigrant background:
”Here we have a successful immigrant who doesn’t fit into the world view of immigrants as victims, and that can be provocative.”
Necef rejects the idea that the rules of Islam prohibit a man from saying hello to a little girl. He does not deny that an action of this kind can be perceived as offensive, but such thinking reflects a very strict interpretation of Islam, or is bound up with traditions from areas where one normally does not shake women’s hands.
”The father here probably has some notion or other of what the Islamic rules say. He thinks that he should feel insulted, and reacts to an action that he perceives as hostile. It was the same way during the Muhammed cartoon crisis, when many Muslims felt that they should be insulted,” said Necef.
Translated by Bruce Bawer