Denmark making progress
Unsurprisingly, this is upsetting some people.
Bruce Bawer explains.
Not So Rotten in Denmark?
They're not turning things around, but at least they're trying to slow down the decline.
On July 1, the New York Times ran a long article by Ellen Barry and Martin Selsoe Sorensen headlined “In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos.’” How harsh? Henceforth, starting at the age of one, children living in designated “ghettos” – in other words, “low-income and heavily Muslim enclaves” – have to spend at least 25 hours a week receiving instruction in Danish values, “including the traditions of Christmas and Easter, and Danish language.” Parents who refuse to obey may lose their welfare payments.
Given the proven failure (over decades) of innumerable Muslim immigrants in Denmark to learn Danish, find jobs, and otherwise integrate into Danish society – not to mention the tendency of young people who've grown up in those “enclaves” to join gangs, commit violence, and express open hostility to native Danes and their culture – these laws sound eminently reasonable. In fact, anyone aware of the scale of the problem might well pronounce them tame and insufficient. But not the Times. Barry and Sorensen describe the new laws not as a responsible attempt to prevent the kind of social and economic collapse looming in next-door Sweden, and to preserve a free, safe, and solvent Denmark for future generations of ethnic Danes and the descendants of immigrants, but rather as a “tough” and “sinister” expression of the Danish government's “ire.”
One law that the Times writers single out for disdain “would impose a four-year prison sentence on immigrant parents who force their children to make extended visits to their country of origin...in that way damaging their 'schooling, language and well-being.'” Barry and Sorensen plainly find this law unspeakably severe. One wonders if they know what they're talking about. The fact is that countless Muslim parents in Europe send their kids “back home” for years at a time – it's called “dumping” – so that they can attend Koran schools, soak up Islamic codes of conduct, and (most important) be shielded from such abhorrent Western phenomena as individual liberty and sexual equality.
As it happens, this practice has been studied extensively. It represents a profound danger to the children involved – girls especially – as well as to the Western countries to which they eventually return. In her 2001 book But the Greatest of These Is Freedom: The Consequences of Immigration in Europe (2011), Hege Storhaug of Norway's Human Rights Service explained that “girls are sent abroad so that they won't be able to live on equal terms with males and enjoy the right to choose their own spouses”; some of them, moreover, “are sent abroad at puberty to be prepared for marriage – to be prepared, that is, to be good wives who live up to the demands and standards set by men in their families' homeland.” Is a four-year prison sentence too tough a penalty for parents who do such things to their children? No, especially when you consider that Danish prisons could be mistaken for luxury hotels while the madrassas in which these people enroll their kids look like, well, prisons – and the marriages (usually cousin marriages) into which those girls end up being forced are, in all but name, prison sentences.
Barry and Sorensen interviewed two critics of the new laws – a pair of Muslim sisters whom they depict as model citizens and describe as being fluent in Danish (but who are also, bemusingly, on welfare). “Danish politics is just about Muslims now,” one of the sisters complained. “I don’t know when they will be satisfied with us.” Gee, maybe when you stop bleeding the Danish treasury dry? Maybe when the 30,000 or so members of your “community” across Europe who belong to Islamic terrorist cells stop plotting murderous mayhem? Sister #2 griped that “her daughter was being taught so much about Christmas in kindergarten that she came home begging for presents from Santa Claus.” Sounds like a salutary change from what's happening elsewhere in Western Europe, where, as part of nefarious propaganda campaigns, non-Muslim kids are routinely taken on school trips to mosques, shown how to put on a hijab, and taught to recite the shahada – all of which the Times and newspapers like it routinely celebrate. “Nobody should tell me,” Sister #2 added, “whether or how my daughter should go to preschool....I’d rather lose my benefits than submit to force.” Fine. Get a job.
Toward the end of their piece, Barry and Sorensen dutifully quoted a handful of Danes who enthusiastically support the new measures. One woman mentioned her shock at being invited to a wedding only to discover that the guests were separated by sex. Another said, “We pay their rent, their clothing, their food, and then they come in broken Danish and say, ‘We can’t work because we’ve got a pain.’” A third observed: “You could say, of course, parents have the right to bring up their own kids....We would say they do not have the right to destroy the future freedom of their children.” Nevertheless, in classic Times sob-story fashion, the piece concluded with a quote from a Muslim high-school student who warned that the new laws, however well-intentioned, will only serve to bring about the “parallel society” that Danes are “so afraid of.” What malarkey! Those parallel societies already exist all over Western Europe, and the Danish government is doing more than probably any of its counterparts in Western Europe to eradicate them – and thereby save its people, their society, and their values from everything that those parallel societies portend.
Two days after the Times lambasted the new Danish laws, Time's Amro Ali went even further, comparing Denmark's actions on Muslims to – yes – Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews. “The legislation reads like a 19th century missionary enterprise, a colonial experiment to civilize the brown folks,” groused Ali. No, that missionary impulse was part of the reason why one set of Danish leaders after another, against all reason, persisted in flooding their tiny country with unassimilable hordes from a culture that could hardly more different from their own. As for the bit about “the brown folks,” color has nothing to do with it; Hindus, for example, have proven to be not a burden and a threat but a boon to Europe.
No, the new Danish laws are all about the unique danger that Islam represents, and represent nothing more or less than a noble endeavor to keep a small free country from becoming part of a totalitarian caliphate. In his indictment of Denmark, Ali used pretty much every word one might expect: “divisive,” “illiberal,” “bigotry,” “xenophobic,” “discriminatory,” “exclusionary,” “[h]atred,” “fear.” If Ali sincerely doesn't understand Denmark's actions, he might contemplate his own magazine's' dilemma: the one-mighty Time is now on its last legs, a sad shadow of its former self, precisely because its owners failed to respond competently to the profound challenge posed by the rise of the Internet. Denmark's leaders, too, face a profound challenge – that of Islamization, which threats to bring down their small jewel of a homeland – and they're doing everything they can to try to keep their own little vessel afloat.
To be sure, three weeks before the Times and Time started wringing their hands over Denmark's cruelty to Muslims, the Guardian was on the case, with reporter Richard Orange filing an article headlined “Denmark swings right on immigration – and Muslims feel besieged.” Wrote Orange: “The Social Democrats’ leader, Mette Frederiksen, has called Islam a barrier to integration, said some Muslims 'do not respect the Danish judicial system,' that some Muslim women refuse to work for religious reasons, and that Muslim girls are subject to 'massive social control.'” All true. “She has also called for all Muslim schools in the country to be closed.” Good. All they teach is fanaticism and hate. Orange interviewed one Istahil Hussein, 36, who “says the change in Danish opinion so disturbing that she is thinking of returning to Somalia, the country she left 18 years ago.” Good idea. Don't let the door hit you on your way out. Like his colleagues at the Times and Time, Orange represented Denmark's actions as a product of unfounded prejudice. There was no mention of, say, classrooms full of Danish-born children who don't speak Danish or of imams who preach conquest of Europe.
Speaking of which, on July 24, Danish prosecutors charged Imam Mundhir Abdallah, who preaches at a mosque in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, with delivering a sermon in which he read the following sacred text: “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.” It was the first time the Danes ever prosecuted a Muslim cleric for urging the murder of Jews. It may have been the first time any Western European country ever did such a thing. In reporting this news, France24 further noted that five Muslim hate preachers had been banned from Denmark in May of this year– this, while in the U.K., for instance, the government and media soft-pedal mass Muslim gang rapes and deny entry not to Muslim hate preachers but to critics of Islam.
There's more. As The Local reported on July 11, “people who have lived in Denmark for over three years will have to pay for interpreters if required during medical treatment.” Good. One opponent of this measure “rejected the argument that patients should be expected to understand Danish after three years in the country.” Many people, she argued, “have come here for various reasons and have not been able to learn Danish within the three years.” Yes, that's precisely the problem: it's called a lack of effort. When I moved to Norway, I took language classes, studied hard, and was able to pass an advanced fluency test within a few months. I was over forty – way past the optimum language-learning age. Why should Danes do anything whatsoever for people who don't think a free ride in their country is worth taking that kind of trouble?
On July 26 came another story. These days, it turns out, Denmark is receiving fewer tourists from Muslim countries than its neighbors Germany, Norway, and Sweden. The reason? Partly its ban on face-covering veils, partly its ban on halal slaughter. Why visit such an Islamophobic country, after all, when, as the Resett website pointed out, there are plenty of German and Swiss hotels in which each room's furnishings include a Koran and a compass (so you can figure out the direction to Mecca, of course)?
When it comes to resisting Islamization, in short, Denmark is doing a far more impressive job than most of its Western European neighbors. Still, as much as the mainstream media and the rest of the left may squawk with outrage at its attempts to rein in the advance of Islam within its borders, these attempts may all be too little, too late. In a profoundly bleak talk given last year, Lars Hedegaard, the gutsy and eloquent Danish critic of Islam (who is a survivor of both a jihadist assassination attempt and a hate-speech trial), maintained that “once the Muslim population exceeds, say, five percent, it's game over.” Muslims currently make up about 5.3% of Danish inhabitants. Let's hope he's wrong. The Danes, of all people in Western Europe, deserve for him to be wrong.