Denmark is one of Europe’s smallest countries; it has only 5.5 million inhabitants. Until the beginning of this year it was known mainly for dairy products, butter cookies, Legos, and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. However, conservative Europeans had been watching Denmark for some time. Since Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s center-right coalition came to power in 2001, Copenhagen has introduced the most sensible immigration policies in Europe.
Today, Denmark is at the center of a controversy over 12 drawings, the infamous Danish cartoons. Syria and Iran have virtually declared war on Denmark, Danish consulates and embassies have been attacked in the Middle East and Africa, and Islamic countries are officially boycotting Danish products.
Those who believe that the whole issue has to do with 12 cartoons are naïve. Denmark is being punished for its alleged Islamophobia. Its crime is not the publication of 12 drawings in Jyllands-Posten, a paper in the rural province of Jutland. Its crime is the staunch refusal of the Danish Vikings to allow Muslim immigrants to impose their laws upon their host country.
In 2001, the various parties of the center-right and so-called “far Right” won the Danish elections. As a consequence, Rasmussen’s free-market Liberals formed a coalition with the Conservatives. The new government did not have the majority in the Folketing, the Danish Parliament, but it received the support of the Dansk Folkeparti, the populist, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party led by the housewife-turned-politician Pia Kjaersgaard.
In return for Kjaersgaard’s support, but also because the two coalition parties believed it was necessary, the government introduced drastic measures to curb the influx of low-skilled immigrants from Third World countries. “There is no danger that Denmark will become a multicultural society, because this is not our goal,” Rasmussen said before the elections.
The new government introduced legislation that made it harder for immigrants to enter Denmark and to acquire Danish nationality. Copenhagen began to repatriate illegal immigrants and encouraged rejected asylum seekers to leave. It implemented stricter rules to determine who should receive residence permits. It slashed social benefit payments to newcomers, allowing them only a box of bare necessities.
As a result, the number of asylum seekers in Denmark dropped from 12,100 in 2000 to 3,222 in 2004. The number of people recognized as refugees decreased from 5,159 in 2000 to 1,607 in 2004. Residence permits for family reunification dropped from 10,021 in 2000 to 4,791 in 2003. The number of people acquiring Danish nationality fell from 18,811 in 2000 to 6,583 in 2003, with Asians down from 7,844 to 1,436 and Africans from 2,371 to 312. People who wanted to become Danes had to pass a language, culture, and history test.
After the February 2005 elections, which the Labour opposition lost, Rasmussen formed his second Liberal-Conservative minority government. Again he could count on the support of Kjaersgaard’s Dansk Folkeparti. “Our immigration policies are widely supported by the people,” Rasmussen said.
The government announced that in 2006 it would curb the flow of immigrants from Third World countries even further. According to Claus Hjort Frederiksen, the minister for employment, immigrants from countries such as Somalia, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon constitute an untenable burden on Danish welfare. “We are simply forced to adopt a new policy on immigration. The calculations of the welfare committee are terrifying and show how unsuccessful the integration of immigrants has been up to now,” he said. Frederiksen announced that from this year on immigrants will only be allowed into Denmark if they have a job waiting for them. A government committee calculated that if immigration from Third World countries were blocked completely, 75 percent of the cuts needed to sustain the very generous Danish welfare system in the coming decades would not be necessary.
Despite threats and international pressure, Rasmussen refused to give in to demands that he apologize for cartoons published in a privately owned newspaper, but he misjudged his enemies by underestimating the extent of their deceit. The imams continued repeating their lies and called for an international boycott of Denmark. By the end of January, Muslims were up in arms throughout the Islamic world. Danish products were boycotted, flags were burned, embassies and consulates were ransacked and destroyed.
Where Denmark is concerned, however, the lying imams seem to have shot themselves in the foot. There is a general call to expel Abu Laban and the other imams, as well as all immigrants who do not accept the values of Danish society. The affair has conveyed the message that a multicultural society cannot work because the intolerant culture will impose its will on the tolerant one. “I believe it has become obvious that the imams are not the people we should be listening to if we want integration in Denmark to work,” said Integration Minister Hvilshøj.
The events in Denmark have been closely monitored in the rest of Europe, and will probably strengthen the electoral appeal of immigration-reform parties, who have been observing Danish policies for a couple of years now. In France and Germany, leading right-wing politicians and advocates of law and order, such as Nicolas Sarkozy, the French interior minister, and Wolfgang Schäuble, his German colleague, spoke out in support of the Danish government.
The cartoon affair comes as the second clash in barely three months between the traditional territorial nation-states of Europe and the forces of Eurabia. The first clash was November’s French intifadah when Sarkozy opposed gangs of Muslim thugs who wanted to assert power over parts of French territory. In Denmark, radical imams tried to assert power over the media. In both cases, Europe fought back, albeit hesitantly. The Danish resistance even compelled the generals of Eurabia to enlist the help of the entire Muslim world to intimidate one of Europe’s smallest countries. And still the Vikings held their ground. Perhaps all is not yet lost.