Mon, Jun 15, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Denmark’s elections to focus on immigration policy

Reuters, TONDER, Denmark

While most of the country’s 260,000 Muslims are moderate, and some figures suggest fewer than half are practicing, the media focus on a handful of radicals, such as two who last week urged Muslims not to vote shouting “To hell with the constitution” and calling Denmark a dictatorship.

The pair praised and attended the funeral of Omar Hussein, the Copenhagen gunman who attacked a free speech event and a synagogue, killing two. He had been rapidly radicalized in the months before the attack.

“When you read about the people who want Sharia law in Copenhagen and disallow voting, what kind of ‘thank you’ is that? Shouldn’t they just be happy they’re allowed to be here,” Richard Gugolka, the son of a Polish immigrant, said at the border event.

“I’m not allowed to say it, but we need to decide what kind of refugees we want to take in,” he said.

Such views, and the events that have prompted them, make many Muslims in Denmark feel alienated. Muslim leaders and politicians immediately condemned the pair and Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the radical group with which they are often associated.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir is extremely desperate, because more and more mosques and more and more imams preach democracy,” retorted Ozlem Cekic, a Turkish-born member of parliament for a smaller party. “They have become completely isolated, and therefore it is important to emphasize that they talk nonsense.”

Meanwhile, some left-wing politicians despair of the mainstream parties’ “race to the bottom” on the issue.

“They are competing on who will make the toughest rules. Thorning boasts she has deprived children the right to get to safety with their parents in Denmark,” Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, a politician and activist, wrote on Facebook.

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