"I'm a Danish citizen at the first place and I always say that I'm keen on the welfare of this country even more than the prime minister himself," Abu Laban, who has been living in Denmark since 1984, told IslamOnline.net in an interview.
Abu Laban said that his remarks which were published by Jyllands-Posten on Thursday, May 11, were taken out of context.
"I said that I would have to leave Denmark to a Muslim country only if I was forced to do so," he said.
The head of the Danish Islamic Community, Abu Laban said he would hope to be buried in Denmark though he always feels homesick.
"Al-Quds is always there at the bottom of my heart," he stressed.
He said he hates to be the center of media "manipulation" all the time and to be accused of being linked to terrorism "while I am working day and night and with much sincerity for the well-being of this country."
"I don't understand the logic behind this sullying media campaign at such juncture," he said, adding that it was not wise to "turn the knife in the wound."
He was referring to the crisis of Danish cartoons that lampooned Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), which plunged the West and the Muslim world into the worst crisis in recent history.
The cartoons were first published by Jyllands-Posten in September and reprinted later by European newspapers on claims of freedom of expression.
The drawings, considered blasphemous under Islam, have triggered massive and sometimes violent demonstrations across the Muslim world.
The editor of Jyllands-Posten has apologized for offending Muslims but defended the paper's right to publish the cartoons.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said he regretted the hurt caused to Muslims but refuses to apologize for the publications of the drawings.
Abu Laban said he has been the subject of nerve-racking harassment from media and lay people.
"The other day a man with eyes filled with hatred and anger approached me in the bus and started shouting swear words," he said.
"I'm sad to say that I come across such situations every now and then and receive hate e-mails, which also contains insulting cartoons."
Abu Laban lamented that he and his colleagues did not found much support from the Muslim minority in Denmark, estimated at some 180,000 people.
"They fear to stand up and be counted," he said.
Abu Laban has been seen along with other scholars by Danish media and politicians as the main instigator of the controversy that erupted earlier this year over the cartoons publication.
Denmark's Deputy Prime Minister Bendt Bendtsen in March called for the expulsion from Denmark of imams including Abu Laban.
The imams hit back, arguing that they had to "internationalize" the issue after their complaints to the government and the paper at issue fell on deaf ears.
Abu Laban received acknowledgment from Danish police for not advocating violent protests by Muslims in Denmark during the row, which sparked violent protests leading to deaths in several other countries.
"I could have provoked a revolt, created hell in Denmark, led Muslims to react violently, but did not do so," Abu Laban said Thursday.
"But I was very badly treated in return."Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16