Denmark’s controversial plan to force immigrants to send their children to values classes

27th Jul 2018
Denmark’s controversial plan to force immigrants to send their children to values classes

Leader of the Danish Conservative Party, Søren Pape Poulsen, denied the One Denmark Government initiative “singles out” Muslims
(Photo: European People’s Party/ Creative Commons)

Nadine Osman

Danish immigrants on welfare will be forced to send their infants to values classes under the new One Denmark Government scheme introduced on May 28.

The infants of immigrants, largely from low income or heavily Muslim populated areas which the government has called “ghettos”, will be subjected to new laws forcing them to learn values such as Christmas, Easter and the Danish language from as young as one-year-old.

If parents fail to enrol children, they could lose their welfare benefits. The Danish Government generally labels neighbourhoods as “ghettos” if they meet two out of three requirements, according to NPR: Half of the residents are immigrants from non-Western countries, 40 per cent are unemployed, or 2.7 per cent have criminal convictions.

As of right now, there are 25 enclaves that fit the bill. And nearly all of them are heavily populated by immigrants from Muslim-majority countries.

 

Targeting Muslims

Conservative Leader, Søren Pape Poulsen, denied the initiative “singles out” Muslims, who make up two-thirds of the nation’s immigrant population and have grown in recent years due to an influx of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, insisting an understanding of Danish values is requisite to “have a good life”, regardless of race or background.

The “ghetto” areas are filled with non-Western immigrants, however. As of 2017, Denmark’s housing ministry said non-Western immigrants made up 66.5 per cent of the “ghetto” populace. They also account for 8.7 per cent of Denmark’s 5.7 million population.

Around half a million are from Muslim backgrounds, a group that swelled with Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian refugees crossing Europe, according to the New York Times. The Danish Government have been attempting to assimilate “ghetto” communities into mainstream society for decades.

In March, a plan to eradicate ghettos by 2030 under a One Denmark scheme was unveiled by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said he wanted to ensure people of non-Western backgrounds were contributing to society. A month earlier, authorities proposed to double punishments in underprivileged parts of the country struggling with crime.

The bill also suggested setting up so-called special punishment zones by police to hand out more severe punishments for certain offences such as theft and vandalism. In June Denmark voted to ban the niqab becoming the fifth European country to pass such a law.

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