Islam in Denmark

Since the late sixties when Denmark joined the European search for migrant labor, the country had an almost unrestricted labor immigration policy for some time. It was completely stopped in 1974 and replaced by restricted allowance of family reunification. Nowadays Denmark has one of the strictest immigration and refugee policies in Europe. Between 1968 and 1990 the number of Muslim immigrants rose from2 , 000to approximately60 ,000. They come from Turkey, North Africa, and Pakistan, and due to political unrest in the Middle East after1980 , they come from Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. The Muslim community is concentrated in and around Copenhagen.

The Danish constitution contains an article on freedom of religion, however, the religion of the state and the monarch is Evangelical Lutheranism. Based on that fact the Lutheran church is one of the departments of the Danish state. This fact has the capacity to influence the state's relations with the Muslim community, as family affairs such as birth, death and marriage registration fall under the ministry of church affair's duties. The other Christian communities and also the Jewish one have a constitutional status as recognized faith communities, but not Islam. Voluntary associations related to the church started a dialogue with the Muslims in the country to learn more about their needs and problems. This dialogue led to the best funded research project based on state funding dealing with the situation with Muslims in Europe, especially Denmark. Muslim organizations were closely involved in this project.

Denmark is one of the biggest European producers of halal meat. Since the1970 s the representative of the Muslim World League in Copenhagen functions as the authority guaranteeing the halal status of meat, especially poultry from Denmark. The bulk of the production goes to different parts of the Muslim world, but it is also available in European supermarkets for supply to the Muslim communities, especially in countries were the restrictions are tighter.

In public schools religion is taught as based on Christianity, but with space for information about Islam and world religions. Denmark allows the establishment of schools based on religious or ideological ideas, if parents come together to found it. As a result the country has a number of Muslim schools.





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