Copenhagen resembles most other cities after a night of celebrating New Years Eve. Broken and slightly battered, would describe the city´s most popular squares and public spaces after last nights raunchy celebrations. However, the one caption that caught my eye this morning was a post on Facebook by the photo journalist, Niels Hougaard, working for the Danish national newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Niels, Copenhagen-based, captured a unique moment early this morning in the City Hall Square, Rådhuspladsen. A group of men and boys from the Ahmadiyya Congregation, based in Hvidovre, Denmark´s oldest Muslim community, travelled in the early hours of this morning, after morning prayers, to one of the city´s most treasured places and within an hour had cleaned up to what earlier had resembled a war zone. Niels´most welcome caption has been well received and rightly so.
2014 was a year of brutal negativity regarding the relationship between ethnic groups, not only in Copenhagen, but in Denmark as a whole. So this positive story got 2015 off to a refreshing start. It also highlighted that such initiatives taken by local residents, regardless of ethnic originality, that refuse to blend in, but dare to stand out, should be greeted with respect and gratitude.
Finally to end this first blog of a new year, may I repeat the words that was imprinted on the fluorescent vests of the group from the Ahmadiyya Congregation, “Love to all. Hate to none.”
Photo taken by Niels Hougaard.