Every Wednesday morning, at eight and a half hours, the crowd invests the lobby of the central library of Copenhagen. If these men and women end up here before going to work, this is not to take lives. But to sing, together, traditional songs, according to the tradition of the “morgensang”. This time of sharing is very widespread, the country maintains social cohesion. But it can also generate tensions.

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A controversy is born the end of July to about the first selections for the edition 2020 of the Collection of songs in the high school . With each new republication of old-fashioned songs are removed for the benefit of securities are more recent. The operation often causes conflicts when some see their favorite song to disappear. But for this nineteenth edition, among the hundreds of titles compiled, a song about the month of ramadan is especially cringe.

Tell the story of Denmark from the point of view of a muslim

Composed by a rapper Danish of moroccan origin, Ramadan in Copenhagen has been pre-selected to be part of the selected pieces. “If I have to be the first muslim to contribute to this book, I’ll tell you what it looks like Denmark from my point of view,” said its author, Isam B., alias Isam Bachiri.

The morgensang is a cultural practice that is very widespread in Denmark. Many children learn the songs of the Collection of songs in the high school to the school, the official anthology of the titles most popular in the country. Some students carry on the tradition at the university in forming corporations, and the songs resonate even during the political meetings.

“We can say that it has become part of the backbone of Danish democracy,” says the New York Times Kristine Ringsager, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Arhus. To such a point that The book of songs in the high school , has itself become a national symbol. Born in the Nineteenth century in the educational institutions popular offering courses for more than 18 years, this is the book most sold in Denmark with more than 450,000 copies sold since 2006. “The songs that are compiled are considered to be a treasure that represents what it means to be Danish,” continues Kristine Ringsager.

“The committee is in the process of deciding for the people”

For Jorgen Carlsen, one of the six members of the committee of selection, the song has its place in the anthology. “Four to five per cent of the Danish population has a cultural fund muslim, he says in the New York Times . But for a part of the population, represented in particular by the Danish people’s Party, extreme-right, the muslim festival has nothing to do in this expression of national identity.

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“up Until 2006, every time a song from the collection was modified it was to add a song already sung spontaneously,” said Alex Ahrendtsen, spokesman for the Danish people’s Party. There, we reversed the process. The committee is in the process of deciding for the people. This is elitist.”

The Danes will have to wait until November 2020 to determine the final list of the ten-ninth edition of the digest. Isam B., who just released a new single, love the idea that Danes from across the country sing its words. “It would be incredible,” he says.

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