Cartoon Row Over, a Danish Muslim Rises

Days before elections, all eyes turn to Syrian-born MP
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2007 5:23 AM CST
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, right, on Wednesday Oct 24 2007 during a speech in the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen where he called early national elections for Nov. 13. Fogh Rasmsussen's...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With Denmark holding early elections on Tuesday, the Times of London profiles the probable kingmaker in the next parliament: a hugely popular Syrian immigrant and secular Muslim. After the worldwide uproar over cartoons depicting Mohammad, Naser Khader founded the New Alliance party to counter anti-Muslim sentiments. Now, polls predict his party will hold the balance of power and Khader will get to pick the next prime minister.

"Denmark is a little country that needs to be in connection with the rest of the world," says Khader, whose party is projected to win up to 12 seats next week. With the ruling Liberals and the opposition Social Democrats both predicted to come up short, only Khader can provide the necessary votes for a majority—which means he can set the agenda on immigration, integration, and foreign policy.