Minister of Social Affairs Karen Jespersen: "We should have listened to Per Madsen…"
An opinion poll conducted by Sonar shows that Danes are becoming increasingly opposed to Islam. 56% of Danes consider the roughly 130,000 Muslims in Denmark as "a threat to the Danish religion and culture" (Source: Jyllands-Posten, 26.9.) A similar Sonar-Poll conducted in 1997 put the figure at 46%. The greatest resistance to Islam is to be found among the voters of the Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti), where the figure is a predictable 94%.
Another Sonar-inquiry shows, that 48% would "react negatively" if a Muslim woman, wearing a headscarf, were to work the checkout at the supermarket (source: Jyllands-Posten, 30.9.).
A third Sonar-inquiry shows, that 41% of Danes want refugee- and immigration policy put to the people in a referendum (source: Jyllands-Posten, 3.10.). Among Danish People's Party voters, 88% are in favour of a referendum.
Jørgen Bæk Simonsen , leader of the Carsten Niebuhr Institute at Copenhagen University, sees a growing cultural racism in Denmark: "For more than ten years I have been travelling the length and breadth of the country, holding talks on Muslims and Islam and for the most part I have never experienced any actual racist attitude in Denmark. On the other hand, I do experience a form of cultural racism, where the negative attitude to Muslims is "packed in" in politically correct attitudes, e.g. the position of women in society. And this attitude is obviously, that Islamic culture is inferior to Danish culture. But this is caused to a large degree by the fact that the Danes cannot or will not hear what Muslims are saying." (Jyllands-Posten, 26.9.)
Minister of social affairs Karen Jespersen is probably a perfect example of this "not actually racist", but "culturally racist" attitude, draped in the mantle of politically correct opinions and beliefs: "It is a big mistake to view the cultural differences as something symbolic, on a par with our "roast pork" and "Christmas Day". For many immigrants, it's a question of completely different norms, not least in attitudes towards women. It simply won't do: If immigrants want to remain in this country, then they have to be part of Danish society. This does not mean that they have to cast aside all of their culture, but basically they have to learn to function under the terms of the Danish society." (B.T., 22,10.) Karen Jespersen continues: "We must likewise go on the offensive against the extremely intolerant attitude some immigrants display towards Danes. For example, hassling girls that wear oversized trousers, or boys that dress differently than they do themselves. In a worst-case scenario, it could end with gangs of young immigrants terrorising a local community. I have unfortunately myself experienced a very prejudicial attitude towards Danes. This could result in very dangerous and heavy-handed conflicts, because of course; Danes will not accept this in the long run (…) It was a major betrayal of young immigrants, that the Danish society quietly accepted such reprehensible practices as arranged marriages and forced marriages. From the Danish point of view, many saw it as a "cultural peculiarity" which immigrants should be allowed to practice. Instead of going on the offensive against these misogynist attitudes."
In the same interview, the minister of social affairs maintains that "We should have listened to Per Madsen" Ishøj's Social Democratic Lord Mayor (Ishøj is a satellite town to Copenhagen). "He drew attention to these problems at a very early stage -- and was very unpopular. But he was proved to be more right than we were prepared to give him credit for at the time."
This Per Madsen, who Karin Jespersen is now bringing in from the cold, is the same individual who in The Danish Society's (Danske Forenings) member's journal, amongst other things, expressed the view that "Muslims are still living in the middle ages, with an oppression of women and female culture which is unheard of in this country. Women are bought and sold as if they were cattle, and women are beaten and mistreated" (Danskeren [The Dane] no.1, 1989, p.3).
The Social Democratic leadership have certainly shifted position in the course of the last ten years. Right into the arms of The Danish Society's stereotypical image of foreigners as the enemy -- even though the Social Minister still makes a mild effort to make it seem more palatable.
At the Progress Party's (Fremskridtspartiets) annual convention in 1997, 80% voted no to the re-admission of Mogens Glistrup to the party from which he was excluded in 1991, but to the shock of the party's parliamentary members, he was once again voted into the party he founded during the convention of 1999. 236 delegates voted for, while 131 delegates, together with the four parliamentary members, voted against.
He was not many minutes returned to the party before he wreaked havoc at the annual convention, when as a newly admitted member, he found himself ineligible as a candidate to the central committee and loudly accused the party leadership of being corrupt and rotten and threatened with a court case.
Glistrup demanded to be the party's campaign leader and made it clear that there was a need for a completely new party manifesto -- and concerning what had just been adopted: "It is only fit for the bin." (Jyllands-Posten, 27.9.) During the following days, Glistrup made the headlines with statements about selling Muslim girls to Paraguay and deporting all Muslims out of the country, and the Progress Party's four members of Parliament collectively resigned from the party in protest and founded the movement "Freedom 2000" (Frihed 2000).
According to Glistrup, his tactic was to intentionally cause havoc: "Hopefully I have trod on so many toes, that just like my other comments, it will be remembered for many years to come. The Progress Party's only chance is to wake those who have been lulled to sleep. We shouldn't try to enamour ourselves to the old politicians." (Jyllands-Posten, 30.9.) "The goal was to get in and cause havoc. That, in essence, is what the Progress Party thrives on." (Jyllands-Posten, 1.10.)
It was "a capital blunder to say yes to Glistrup again", wrote Jyllands-Posten in it's editorial the 1.10; "He's mad" was written on the first page of Ekstra Bladet the 13.10. None of the daily newspapers supported Glistrup's comments; nevertheless, the Progress Party's electoral support rose with the resurrection of Glistrup, from 1.5% to 3.4% in the space of a few days, according to a "Gallup Poll" in Politiken.
And on the background of a political message, the more supercilious of which, we undoubtedly would have to return to Nazi Germany to find:
"We just can't import Mohammedans and more Mohammedans, and it's only to annihilate and kill Danes that they come here." (Denmark's TV2-News, 27.9)
"They get three months to leave the country. And if they don't leave, then they will be rounded up and put in camps, like we had the refugees in at one time, and invite people to submit tenders, those who will pay the most, they get them. For example, Paraguay says: 'We would like 6,000 Mohammedan girls between the ages of 12 and 20, and we would like to pay five million for them,' yea, and these five millions, they end up in the Danish state coffers, don't they." (DR-P3's radio program "U-land", 28.9.)
"I suggest an extra 8,000 officers. Such a force would be necessary to round up the Mohammedans when the law is adopted, and in the meantime they can be used against the bikers, junkies and burglars." (Jyllands-Posten, 1.10.)
"Of course I'm a racist -- all good Danes are. Either you’re a racist, or else you’re a traitor." (Berlingske Tidende, 11.10.)
"Have you never heard, the way subjects like Barsebäck (Swedish nuclear power plant in the vicinity of Copenhagen) or pesticides in farm produce and so on, are discussed? Any and every doubt, should be to the detriment of the malign, and that is why it doesn't matter if we happen to deport 100,000 too many. We are already too many on the Danish soil, so if we happen to deport 3-4-500,000 too many, than that's OK. It would be worse if we deported too few." (Ekstra Bladet, 13.10.)
At a meeting in November, the Progress Party's representative committee, decided yet again to distance themselves sharply from Glistrup's comments, but nevertheless, decided to keep him on as a member and parliamentary candidate. So in that way the party plays it safe -- who knows, he might even attract (yet) more voters…
Ekstra Bladet's new campaign against immigrants
On the 24th Oct. Ekstra Bladet launches its third campaign directed against immigrants within the space of the last few years: "The New Denmark".
In a full-page advertisement in bold print, it states: "In Denmark I was not born, but here I make my home." The advertisement proclaims, that there now are "413.873 people with foreign backgrounds" living in Denmark -- of course this includes everybody, whether they be American and Australian or African and Asian. Not withstanding, it is the Muslims who for the most part, are the exclusive focus of the campaign, as for example, the Muslim who wishes to " Islamise the whole world", while no Christian, with for instance, an American pedigree, clutters up the headlines. Apparently, it is neither unusual, nor sensational and suspect to find for example, an ex- American who wishes to "Americanise the whole world" or Christianise.
In the campaign's introduction article, Ekstra Bladet's chief editor, Sven Ove Gade writes, that for sure there can be "no doubt" that "gross discrimination of foreigners is an everyday occurrence" after which deep-felt expression for "objectively" to part the sun and the wind the following observation is upheld: "One of the major stumbling-blocks is religion, more precisely Islam which is a political religion, where the goal, at least as far as the Islamic fundamentalists are concerned, is the introduction of a religious state, and where Islamic Sharia law takes precedence over the civil, earthly law. Islamic law is God's law, and God can hardly be accommodated [under] the democratic decisions of the Danish democracy."
That "fundamentalists" are to be found in every religion -- and every political trend -- is apparently of little or no relevance, and Gade's characterization of "the Islamic fundamentalists" is led neatly and gracefully to an identification of these "fundamentalists" and that which he terms "a reality" which also is presented as a depiction of Denmark: "It is a reality which has to be considered -- Danes and Muslim immigrants -- for if we allow Islamic law to take precedence over Danish law, then it will not be long before Danish society is transformed."
The next step is for this "a reality" just as neatly and gracefully to become "the reality" and after that to become "this brutal reality": "Brutal maybe, but that's reality. And it is this reality which every Muslim must consider, if he or she wishes to become an equal member of the Danish society."
Brutal manipulation and propaganda, maybe, but that is the scope of Sven Ove Gade's reality.