• Bold
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Özlem Cekic was born to Kurdish parents in Turkey. When she was a child, she and her family moved to Denmark. In 2007, she challenged the status quo by becoming one of the first minority women to be elected to the Danish Parliament. Her inbox soon filled with sexist and racist insults that had little to do with her politics and everything to do with her background. Cekic’s initial reaction was simply to ignore the emails, but she began charting an altogether more courageous course. Her story will prove inspiring to anyone who has faced criticism online.


Özlem Cekic, one of the first minority woman to be elected to the Danish Parliament, had a simple solution to her hate mail problem: She deleted the emails. Yet hate mail kept pouring in. She took actions to protect her family but continued to engage in public debate. In 2010, a man who had physically attacked other Muslim women began to stalk and pester her. “Why does he hate you so much?” her son asked. She answered that some people were just stupid. It was easiest to think about the people on the other side of a divide as “the bad guys,” characterizing them as “stupid, brainwashed, ignorant...

About the Speaker

Özlem Cekic is one of the first Muslim women elected to the Danish parliament. 

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