Something Rotten in Denmark?

by | Sep 16, 2002

A Muslim group in Denmark announced last month that a $30,000 bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews, a threat that garnered wide international notice. Less well known is that this is just one problem associated with Denmark’s approximately 200,000 Muslim immigrants. The key issue is that many of them […]

A Muslim group in Denmark announced last month that a $30,000 bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews, a threat that garnered wide international notice. Less well known is that this is just one problem associated with Denmark’s approximately 200,000 Muslim immigrants. The key issue is that many of them show little desire to fit into their adopted country.

For years, Danes lauded multiculturalism and insisted they had no problem with the Muslim customs – until one day they found that they did. Some major issues:

* Living on the dole: Third-world immigrants – most of them Muslims from countries such as Turkey, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Iraq – constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending.

* Engaging in crime: Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark’s 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country’s convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.

* Self-imposed isolation: Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane.

* Importing unacceptable customs: Forced marriages – promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death – are one problem.

* Another is threats to kill Muslims who convert out of Islam. One Kurdish convert to Christianity, who went public to explain why she had changed religion, felt the need to hide her face and conceal her identity, fearing for her life.

* Fomenting anti-Semitism: Muslim violence threatens Denmark’s approximately 6,000 Jews, who increasingly depend on police protection. Jewish parents were told by one school principal that she could not guarantee their children’s safety and were advised to attend another institution. Anti-Israel marches have turned into anti-Jewish riots. One organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, openly calls on Muslims to “kill all Jews . . . wherever you find them.”

* Seeking Islamic law: Muslim leaders openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law once Denmark’s Muslim population grows large enough – a not-that-remote prospect. If present trends persist, one sociologist estimates, every third inhabitant of Denmark in 40 years will be Muslim.

Other Europeans (such as the late Pim Fortuyn in Holland) have also grown alarmed about these issues, but Danes were the first to make them the basis for a change in government.

In a momentous election last November, a center-right coalition came to power that – for the first time since 1929 – excluded the socialists. The right broke its 72-year losing streak and won a solid parliamentary majority by promising to handle immigration issues, the electorate’s first concern, differently from the socialists.

The next nine months did witness some fine-tuning of procedures: Immigrants now must live seven years in Denmark (rather than three) to become permanent residents. Most non-refugees no longer can collect welfare checks immediately on entering the country. No one can bring into the country an intended spouse under the age of 24. And the state prosecutor is considering a ban on Hizb-ut-Tahrir for its death threats against Jews.

These minor adjustments prompted howls internationally – with European and U.N. reports condemning Denmark for racism and “Islamophobia,” the Washington Post reporting that Muslim immigrants “face habitual discrimination,” and a London Guardian headline announcing that “Copenhagen Flirts with Fascism.”

In reality, however, the new government barely addressed the existing problems. Nor did it prevent new ones, such as the death threats against Jews or a recent Islamic edict calling on Muslims to drive Danes out of the Norrebro quarter of Copenhagen.

The authorities remain indulgent. The military mulls permitting Muslim soldiers in Denmark’s volunteer International Brigade to opt out of actions they don’t agree with – a privilege granted to members of no other faith. Mohammed Omar Bakri, the self-proclaimed London-based “eyes, ears and mouth” of Osama bin Laden, won permission to set up a branch of his organization, Al-Muhajiroun.

Contrary to media reports, the real news from Denmark is not flirting with fascism but getting mired in inertia. A government elected specifically to deal with a set of problems has made minimal headway. Its reluctance has potentially profound implications for the West as a whole.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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