Sunday, February 2, 2014

No More Muslims In Denmark: Danish People’s Party

Muslim women protesting in Copenhagen.
No more Muslims, say DF leaders. Senior members of Dansk Folkeparti espoused the opinion that there are enough Muslims in Denmark and border controls should be established to stop more from entering the country.

DF’s defence spokesperson Marie Krarup said that the time has come to completely halt Muslim immigration. “We should limit the size of the Muslim minority in Denmark,” Krarup wrote in a blog for Berlingske newspaper.

Anders Vistisen, number two on DF’s list of candidates for the European Parliament, agreed that the number of Muslims in Denmark should be limited. DF’s citizenship spokesperson, Christian Langballe, couldn’t see how a total ban against Muslims could be put into place.

“It is impractical to call a complete halt, but I think that Muslim immigration must be limited,” he told Berlingske.

No More Muslims: Enough Already Here in Denmark

There are enough Muslims in Denmark and no more should be allowed in.  That's the latest message from senior members of Dansk Folkeparti (DF), the right-wing Danish People's Party. (There are about 270 thousand Muslims living in Denmark  -- 4.8% out of a population of 5.6 million).

DPP's spokesperson Marie Krarup said that the time has come to completely halt Muslim immigration.  "We should limit the size of the Muslim minority in Denmark," Krarup wrote in a blog for Berlingske newspaper.  Anders Vistisen, who is a candidiate for the European Parliament, agreed that the number of Muslims in Denmark should be limited.

DF's citizenship spokesperson, Christian Langballe, was more sympathetic.  "It is impractical to call a complete halt, but I think that Muslim immigration must be limited," he told Berlingske.  The DF party believes that many Danes, especially those who live in the countryside, are troubled with Muslim immigration into Denmark. 

Deputy party-head, Søren Espersen, said that he does not have a problem with Islam as a religion, but is vehemently opposed to it as a political system.  "They look at Sweden, France, England and Germany and do not like what they see," he said.

Others believe that Muslims already get too many concessions as a minority in Denmark.

Karina Lorentzen, the integration spokesperson for government coalition party Socialistisk Folkeparti, told Danish media that such statements are similar to opinions expressed by the Nazi's about Jews. "It is a sick mindset to identify all Muslims as a problem simply because they are Muslims," Lorentzen said in a statement. "It is reminiscent of Hitler, who identified Jews as a problem simply because of their religion."

Danes: We are too tolerant of Muslims

A Muslim man with four wives in Copenhagen.
The public debates over banned Christmas trees, halal meat at schools and cashiers wearing headscarves appear to have made the Danish population more wary about giving their Muslim neighbours cultural concessions.

According to a new survey by market researcher TNS Gallup, carried out for Berlingske newspaper, every third non-Muslim Dane is under the impression that Denmark is too tolerant of its Muslim minority population.

Jens Peter Frølund Thomsen, a political science professor at Aarhus University, said that the most surprising thing about the survey was how little the Danish mentality has shifted, even though the Muslim immigrants arrived years ago.

“The demands of assimilation weigh heavily on the Danish public," Thomsen told Berlingske. "We have a very ethnocentric culture and when people speak of integration in Denmark, they’re really talking about assimilation.”

Danes right to protect values

Mehmet Necef, a lecturer at the Institute of Middle East Studies at the University of Southern Denmark and the co-author of the book ‘Er Danskerne racister?’ (‘Are Danes Racist?’), argued that Danes are right to guard their values.

“A decision to only serve halal-butchered meat is a failure because initiatives that cater specifically to a certain group will generate considerable irritation in the other group,” Necef told Berlingske. 

Necef pointed to the survey findings that showed that even 20 percent of people who vote for left-wing party Enhedslisten believe that the Danes are too tolerant of Muslims. “There is even irritation amongst people who have a positive view on Muslims and immigrants," Necef said.

Hotly-debated issues

Burning of Danish flag by Islamist Muslims.
Muslims' place in Danish society has taken centre stage this past year following a number of high-profile incidents that left ethnic Danes feeling irked by what they interpreted as Muslim minorities imposing their culture upon them.

Last Christmas, the decision by a resident’s association of a housing complex in the northern Zealand town of Kokkedal to not fund an annual Christmas tree led to so much controversy that the cultural minister at the time, Uffe Elbæk (formerly Radikale), received death threats.

Then, this past summer, heated debates over whether halal meat should be served in public institutions or pork in the nation’s daycare institutions prompted the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne), to step in.

“We need to remember in our zeal to welcome new citizens not to lose sight of our own culture,” Thorning-Schmidt told DR Nyheder back in August.

Danes, immigrants lead separate lives

Lise-Lotte Duch, the head of FAKTI, an association that helps female refugees and immigrants, contends that one of the biggest problems is that Danes and immigrants lead separate lives that rarely intersect. Because of that, prejudices are never broken down.

“If I had a Pakistani neighbour, I might think that their kids were noisy, that it smelled of curry and that their shoes on the step-landing were bloody annoying," Duch told Berlingske. "But if I get to know them and the wife offers to buy me a cola while I’m sick with the flu, I would suddenly become more tolerant of the other things.”

According to the survey, just 27 percent of Danes have Muslims in their social network, including work colleagues and family members.

Not official policy

Danish People Party's leaders at the press conference.
The call for a complete ban to Muslim immigration does not exactly jibe with official DF policy. Deputy party head Søren Espersen called calls by Holger Gorm Petersen, a local DF politician in Vejle to turn Muslims around at the border “silly and stupid”.

Espersen did say that he felt many Danes, especially those who live in the country away from the major cities, are uneasy with the amount of Muslims coming into Denmark.

“They look at Sweden, France, England and Germany and do not like what they see,” he said. Espersen said that he had no problems with Islam as a religion, but was vehemently opposed to it as a political system. DF party head Kristian Thulesen Dahl has declined to comment on his fellow party member’s statements.


Karina Lorentzen, the integration spokesperson for government coalition party Socialistisk Folkeparti, showed no such restraint and compared the opinions expressed by the DF members to Nazism.

“It is a sick mindset to identify all Muslims as a problem simply because they are Muslims,” Lorentzen said in a statement. “It is reminiscent of Hitler, who  identified Jews as a problem simply because of their religion.”

Lorentzen said she “was not surprised” by the statements. “What is more surprising is that DF has been able to put a lid on these discriminatory attitudes that are now becoming visible,” she said.

Christmas is typically such a festive time, but for one housing association in the Zealand town of Kokkedal, it has, thus far, been anything but.

It all started when the association’s nine-person board, five of whom are Muslim, voted against having a Christmas tree this year. They apparently balked at the estimated 7,000 kroner of the tree, but had earlier had no qualms about spending some 60,000 kroner on a party celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid.

Nearly immediately after news of the decision broke, the story of the axed Christmas tree was taken up by the Danish media with gusto after several politicians and commentators suggested it demonstrated an intolerance towards Danish customs held by the minority Muslim population. Before we knew it, Denmark was in the midst of a ‘War on Christmas’.

“It is deeply troubling that our integration efforts have failed so badly that Danish traditions are removed and replaced by Muslim traditions the moment there is a Muslim majority,” Konservative MP Tom Behnke told DR News. “This is an example of a lack of respect for Danish traditions and culture. We should not want a Denmark where Danish traditions disappear when there is a Muslim majority present.”

Local newspaper Frederiksborg Amts Avis, which broke the story on its front page last week on Wednesday, reported that there is deep frustration that the new majority on the board is not representative of the views of the Egedalsvænge housing complex’s residents, and not least of its many Muslims.

The newspaper added that the decision had led to tensions by creating an ‘us against them attitude’ in the housing complex.

And create tension it did.

Muslim protesters in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Karin Leegaard Hansen, a 29-year-resident of Egedalsvænge, was elected as the chair of the residents’ association in September. “The vast majority of the residents support the Christmas party, maybe 99 percent, but a majority of the board still voted against it,” Hansen told Jyllands-Posten.

But not everyone on the board could agree on why the proposal to have a Christmas tree was rejected. “No-one wanted to take on the responsibility of getting it,” one board member, Ismail Mestasi, told the press. “A vote was taken and it ended as it ended. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I was asked to get the tree. And I didn’t want to.”

But Hansen denied this and has said she offered to take on the responsibility, but that her offer was not noted down in the minutes of the meeting. The situation inside Egedalsvænget was inflamed even further over the weekend when two journalists from TV2 News escaped unharmed after their van was attacked by 25 masked Muslims.

The journalists had gone to the housing complex to report on a petition that was gathering signatures of those who had lost confidence in the housing association’s board. After the men arrived and exited the van, the attackers promptly began throwing bricks and cobblestones at it. The attackers shouted slurs at the journalists, such as “Neo-Nazi”, and told them to leave.

Following the attack, the head of TV2 News condemned the treatment of his journalists. “It’s completely outrageous that things like this happen, but I’m glad it was only our hardware that was attacked and that our personnel were unharmed,” Jacob Nybroe told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “But it’s disappointing that we can’t cover the news everywhere in Denmark.”

The North Zealand Police has said it is now investigating the incident.

Hard feelings over the axed Christmas tree spread far beyond Egedalsvænget as well, threatening to turn into a nationwide conflict between Muslims and ethnically Danish Christians. The Islamic association, Islamisk Trossamfund, told Ekstra Bladet that it has received some threatening phone calls since the issue was first covered.

“We have received direct threats, verbal abuse and other forms of taunting as though it was us who were responsible for this case,” spokesperson Imran Shah said, before adding that Muslims are not allowed to deny other groups their right to celebrate their holidays.

Many were so affected by the board’s decision that they offered to step forward and ‘save Christmas’ with their own funds. Political leaders and private citizens alike offered to pay for all or part of the Christmas celebrations.

Jonas Birger-Christensen, a small business owner from Hellerup, has offered to pay 7,000 kroner for the Christmas party and 7,000 kroner for next year’s Eid celebration. Despite the offer, the drama looks unlikely to subside anytime soon.  Police have announced they are now investigating an accusation of racism made against the board.

“It needs to be determined to what extent the decision by the Muslim members of the board to first vote ‘yes’ to a 60,000 kroner Eid party, then ‘no’ to a 8,000 kroner Christmas tree to celebrate Christian traditions, violates laws by discriminating against Christians and their traditions,” police spokesperson Karsten Egtved wrote in his report.
Danish People Party's Leader Pia Godt.

(The Danish People's Party (DPP) (Danish: Dansk Folkeparti, DF) is a political party in Denmark which is frequently described as right-wing populist by political scientists and commentators, and "far right" by the international Socialist media. The party was founded in 1995 by Pia Kjærsgaard, who led the party until 2012, when she passed the leadership on to Kristian Thulesen Dahl.

DPP supported a government consisting of the Liberal and Conservative parties from the Parliamentary election in 2001 until the election in 2011 (which was won by a coalition of center-left parties). During this time, while not part of the cabinet, DPP maintained a close cooperation with the ruling coalition on most issues. In return for its parliamentary cooperation, the party required support for their political stances.

The party's expressed goals is to protect the freedom and cultural heritage of the Danish people, including the family, the Monarchy and the Church of Denmark, to enforce a strict rule of law, to work against Denmark becoming a multi-ethnic society by limiting immigration and promoting cultural assimilation of admitted immigrants, to maintain a strong welfare system for those in need, and to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth by strengthening education and encouraging people to work, and to protect the environment and natural resources.

The party's popularity has grown since its inception, taking 25 seats in the 179-member Folketing in the 2007 parliamentary election (13.8% of the vote, remaining the third largest party in Denmark.) In the 2011 Parliamentary election, while maintaining its position as the third largest party, DPP received 12.3% of the vote, marking its first electoral decline.)
Burning of Danish flags by Muslims all over the world because of following Danish cartoon.