In an unprecedented move, Denmark has decided to regulate the demographic mix in certain neighbourhoods by expelling people of foreign origin, the majority of whom are Muslim. A report by the Spanish daily El Pais says that several tenants of foreign origin, especially Muslims, have received eviction notices.
While the information seems unreal to the world used to getting news of politically correct governance, Danish legislation allows it. With a view to reducing the proportion of the so-called “non-Western” population in certain regions of the country to less than 30%, the authorities may ask tenants to leave their homes, as their presence in these localities skews the demography.
In 2018, the Conservative-Liberal coalition government had made a law to end “parallel societies” and put an end to “hard ghettos” in Denmark. To do that, the law has initiated a transformation of certain areas now, aiming at improving the standard of living in these living areas, argues the Danish government.
Every December, the Ministries of Interior and Housing publish a list of “transformation zones” targeted by this objective to be achieved by 2030. The definition of these “transformation zones” apply to residential areas exceeding 1,000 inhabitants and meeting several socio-economic, educational or criminal conditions.
The most ambiguous condition for defining a transformation zone is that more than half of the inhabitants must be “non-Westerns”. This is about not only foreign residents but also people born in Denmark and/or having Danish nationality.
Did Denmark make an anti-Muslim law?
El Pais met with tenants facing eviction from the Mjolnerparken neighbourhood in Copenhagen, where more than 80% of the 1,700 residents are considered “non-Western”. The Spanish daily says they are stunned by the eviction notice from the Danish authorities, as they claim they occupied their accommodation normally.
A Danish woman of foreign origin said she had no intention of leaving her accommodation. She is a Muslim. The people covered by this regulation have one thing in common, they are Muslim.
According to Lamies Nassri, the director of the Danish Center for Muslim Rights, interviewed by El Pais, the notion of “non-Western” is a courteous way of saying “Muslim”. Denmark has approximately 6% of citizens of Muslim religious persuasion.
Muslims are clearly at the centre of this Government of Denmark policy. In 2018, the country had completely banned the wearing of the burqah and the niqab. Recently, the Committee for the Fight for Forgotten Women, founded by the Social Democratic government, recommended banning the veil in schools.
Denmark focuses on reducing immigration
This law joins the armada of anti-immigration measures that Denmark has put in place since 2001 — such as the urge for the ‘naturalisation’ of children of foreigners born in Denmark at their majority. Since 2004, it is no longer possible, they must begin an obstacle course to obtain the nationality of the country where they have lived since their birth.
In general, obtaining Danish citizenship has become even more difficult and sometimes impossible even for people who have lived and worked for years in Denmark.
The reception conditions for refugees and asylum seekers are the strictest in Europe. The country had even demanded the return of Syrian refugees to their homes, believing that since 2019, the situation has improved in the country.
Denmark is also the only country that formalised in 2020 the notion of “non-Westerns”. It has legal value and includes all populations from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan. Or only Muslim countries.
In the report on so-called Islamophobia, a term Muslims conveniently slap on anybody seeking to review Islam critically, in Europe in 2021, Denmark is named as one of the countries — along with France and Austria — with one of the strictest policies against Muslims.
This category of citizens is not only used in housing but also in politics. Election candidates are also labelled as “Western” or “non-Western”. “35% of all descendants of migrants — many of whom are Muslim and born in Denmark — are not of Danish nationality”, recalls the report on ‘Islamophobia’. They, therefore, do not have the right to vote in Denmark. Finally, everything is tied up so that the rights of Muslims are restricted and they do not have access to representativeness in Danish society.
In Europe, being scared of Muslims is now normal
Denmark is the first European country to legalise this type of measure. In some European countries, the rule is social and tacit. France, which is cited as one of the countries advocating an ‘Islamophobic’ policy, participates in this type of exclusion. As rentals are accepted after an in-depth study of the tenant’s personal file and financial guarantees, it is possible to do this ethnic or religious sorting yourself.
An NGO called “SOS Racism” carried out a test eight months ago on the real estate market, posing as owners wishing to rent their property, except to “Arab” or “black” profiles. The pro-Muslim activist group’s survey revealed that of the 136 real estate agencies surveyed and distributed throughout France, 49% agreed to practice a discriminatory selection, excluding certain ethnic groups.
Confusing religion with race, which leads to such an alarm raised by the NGO above, is commonplace in Europe. In the recent past, then-Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel had used this confusion as a weapon to silence citizens of her country who were protesting against letting Syrian refugees in.
A wind of exclusion is blowing over the European Union and is normalizing. France allows discriminatory behaviour towards Muslims to fit naturally into its society.
European and international bodies such as the UN criticise Denmark’s government, but the country continues its policy of purging Muslims from the population. According to El Pais, the Danish law on “transformation zones” could put thousands of Muslims on the streets by 2030.
— Translated by Surajit Dasgupta from a report in El Pais dated 26 November 2022