‘Grand-Mosque’ Projects in Copenhagen: Intersections of Respect, Tolerance and Intolerance in the Distribution of Public Space

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This paper considers the recent Danish mosque debate as a debate about distribution of public space to a religious minority and asks whether and, if so, how the case can be described in terms of tolerance and respect. Tolerance and respect are regularly advanced at the level of political theory as concepts and
values relevant to the handling of minority issues. This paper will use the concepts
of tolerance and respect in relation to the Danish mosque-debate as expressed in political assemblies and public debate in two ways: It will test the applicability of the theoretical concepts and in the process draw out some general challenges and lessons concerning the practical applicability of these concepts. At the same time it will use the concepts as an interpretative framework to present and evaluate the actual policies regarding the distribution of public space for the building of mosques played out in the case. One lesson drawn from the exercise in application is that the concepts have a narrower application than often assumed and that application requires differentiation between different potential subjects of tolerance and respect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitics in Central Europe
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)60-80
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • toleration
  • respect
  • public space
  • mosque
  • Copenhagen

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