Something Rotten in Denmark?
by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard
Translations of this item:
A Muslim group in Denmark announced a few days ago 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.
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.
Multiculturalism and Denmark
From: Elisabeth Arnold and Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, Members of the Danish Parliament
As Danish politicians, we are offended by the way integration problems in Denmark were portrayed by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard and we wish to set the record straight ("Muslim Extremism: Denmark's had Enough," Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, Aug. 27).
The authors claim that 40% of Danish welfare expenses are consumed by Muslim immigrants. Denmark has a much broader spectrum of welfare costs than countries in North America. We include not only unemployment benefits and social security but also substantial allocations to housing, transport, homecare, early retirement, protected workplaces, daycare and other smaller schemes. Muslim immigrants do not receive 40% of those allocations even though they represent a substantial part of the clients. The main reason being: It is hard to compete on a job market not interested in employing immigrants.
The further assumption that more than half of all rapists in Denmark are Muslims is without any basis in fact, as criminal registers do not record religion.
Mr. Pipes and Mr. Hedegaard mention that only 5% of young Muslims in Denmark wish to marry a Dane. A sign of self-inflicted isolation, indeed. We welcome the brave 5% who accept intermarriage—they are true pioneers for peaceful co-existence and human contact across cultures. However, the new Danish government has made it extremely difficult for Danish citizens to bring a foreign spouse to Denmark. The ruling opinion obviously is that intermarriage should be avoided.
Mr. Pipes and Mr. Hedegaard also claim that Muslim violence threatens the 6,000 Jewish citizens in Denmark. Rumours—also hitting the front pages of major newspapers—tell that identified Jewish Danes figure on a death list. Danish authorities consider death threats very serious, but police investigators have so far found no evidence of real threats.
During the coming decade, Denmark will need 100,000 new pairs of hands in the workforce. The Danes produce fewer children and live longer. Integration must work better and immigrants admitted to Denmark should be welcomed. On this point, we take inspiration from Canadian society, which is open to other cultures and religions.
Re: Multiculturalism and Denmark
From: Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard
Elisabeth Arnold and Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, two members of the Danish parliament, are "offended" by our article "Muslim Extremism: Denmark's had Enough" (Aug. 27).
Most Canadian readers may not realize that both writers are politicians belonging to the Socialist-Radical Liberal government that was defeated last November—indeed, Ms. Nielsen was its minister of culture. They have an axe to grind.
Both protest our conclusion that Muslims "make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists," saying that because Danish statistics do not correlate religion with crime, this assertion "is without any basis in fact." Statistics Denmark does, however, produce numbers on immigrants from Third World countries and their descendants, which it reports makes up 5% of the population; and it is known that Muslims make up four-fifths of this element. The latest police figures show that 76.5% of convicted rapists in Copenhagen belong to that 5% of the population, and from that we drew our understated conclusion.
Our critics then sow confusion about the word "welfare." We wrote in English for an English-speaking readership, and used "welfare" in the conventional English sense of meaning public assistance in the form of cash or food stamps—not in the Danish sense of including "housing, transport, homecare, early retirement, protected workplaces, daycare and other smaller schemes" as mentioned by the two politicians.
As for the numbers involved, former Socialist spokeswoman for immigration and integration Ritt Bjerregaard has leaked figures from an unpublished study showing that in 1999, the 5% of the Danish population made up of Third World immigrants received 35% of all welfare payments (Danish: kontanthjaelp). This percentage is higher today and therefore we wrote that that 5% consumes "upwards of 40% of the welfare spending."
Both MPs may not believe Danish Jews are threatened but the Jewish population itself believes it is under siege. This obliviousness of Ms. Arnold and Ms. Nielsen is part of a larger problem, whereby they have long been among the most vocal cheerleaders of massive immigration and completely blind to the problems this creates. Unfortunately for them, Danish voters do see the problems and threw their coalition out of office last November.
Finally, we are at a loss to explain the notion our critics forward that the current government believes "intermarriage should be avoided" between Danes and foreigners, an outrageous accusation which no one of any political stature has advocated. To the contrary, the policy of the government is integration, not segregation.
Mar. 19, 2008 update: Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, one of the co-authors of the letter above, sometimes wears a hijab.
Feb. 18, 2009 update: The Islam in Europe blog translates an article in Kristeligt Dagblad, "'Muslim culture plays role in criminality," based on the work of psychologist Nicolai Sennels and his rsearch with some 200 youths in Sønderbro, Copenhagen Municipality's institution for young crime suspects. Excerpts:
June 23, 2011 update: According to a just-released Norwegian police report, in every one of 86 solved cases in 2010 of assault-rape (i.e., rape carried out through brute force) was carried out by an attacker described as being of "non-Western appearance," a euphemism for Muslim immigrants.
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