Mads Fleckner, Daily Mail, January 28, 2016
A Danish nightclub boss facing prosecution for banning all migrants who don’t speak his language says he would rather go to jail than back down–because they ‘need to learn a smile isn’t an invitation for sex’.
Tom Holden Jensen has excluded all men from Syria and Afghanistan who cannot speak Danish, English or German from his Buddy Holly club in Søenderborg after a number of women said they felt threatened and intimidated by sexually aggressive men who groped and ‘raped them with hands’ on the dance floor.
The problem was compounded by no one being able to explain to the men that what they were doing was wrong–which led Mr Jensen to ban the men, for the good of his female customers.
But the decision means he could face as long as six months behind bars for breaching Denmark’s racial discrimination laws, yet he has vowed to uphold the controversial policy.
‘The challenge we face is that we can’t communicate with refugees, they don’t understand what I am saying at all.” said Mr Jensen.
‘We reserve the right to operate our business as we have done all the years, also before there was a war in Syria, and we intend to continue that also after the war ends. And if someone thinks differently they are welcome to try it in court.’
Security staff complained to Mr Jensen that migrant men don’t understand Denmark’s sexual etiquette and need to learn that a woman smiling isn’t an invitation for sex.
Mr Jensen, a councillor for the right-wing Venstre party, Denmark’s third largest political group, said bouncers who tried to intervene as women were sexually assaulted on the dance floor claimed the men don’t understand when they are told it is wrong.
‘We have experienced episodes where Syrians have danced too close to women occasions when they have put their hands on their bottoms,’ Mr Jensen told MailOnline.
‘They continued to do so even though the women told them to stop and leave them.
‘But it’s too much of a challenge when they don’t speak a language we understand so we and the women cannot communicate with them.’
He added: ‘We have these challenges with all men, whatever their nationality, not only the Syrian refugees, and we have always had those challenges.
‘But it makes it a the challenge and more difficult to solve the situations with men in larger groups who act inappropriately towards women when they don’t speak a language we understand.
‘In those situations we will have to be physical rather than verbal to them, and we have no desire to be. And we have actually had this language rule since 1997.’
Buddy Holly is not alone in banning migrants in Søenderborg as Den Flyvende Hollender (‘The Flying Dutchman’) has done the same.
And Den Flyvende owner Glenn Hollender is just as convinced he has made the right decision.
‘A large number of men who come from the asylum centre have a very hard time respecting the opposite sex,’ he said.
‘In my eyes, it is harassment when one or more men continue to touch a young woman after she has said ‘stop’.
‘It Is clear that if we ask one of our male guests to stop pulling on a girl, so they must be able to understand what we mean.
‘There were simply too many examples of how they ignored the recommendations that we came by to let the female guests in peace.’
The club owners’ decisions are being mirrored across Denmark in different ways, as it struggles to cope with the thousands arriving every month.
The Danish government raised eyebrows internationally when it passed a package of measures this week which allow officials to confiscate asylum seekers’ assets over £1,025 on arrival.
Some likened the plan–which they claim is to help pay for the migrants stay–to something like the Nazis’ confiscation of gold and other valuables from Jews during the Holocaust.
The government–which has already shut the open borders–hope this will stem the flow of people crossing into the northern European state, where officials have been quite clear that they do not want to become the ‘new Sweden’.
The decisions were made after more than 21,000 migrants and refugees arrived in the country last year, with 3,000 now living in Søenderborg, a town of just 27,000 residents.
The influx has led to an increase in sexual offences committed on women in pubs and nightclubs and women complain they are afraid to go out alone at night in a town where an innocent smile can be misinterpreted.
That’s exactly what happened to Marlene, a supermarket cashier, who smiled at a Syrian man in his 20s, only to have him walk up and put his hands on her face.
‘Since then he started following me where ever I went,’ she told MailOnline.
‘I tried to push him away but he just wouldn’t give up. I was scared.
‘Later he turned up at the supermarket with his friend. I should never have smiled at him.’
She added: ‘Now I don’t dare walk around in the town alone at night.’
But others are less convinced by the catch-all approach.
Michael, who works in a clothing store in the town centre, admits ‘we keep an extra eye on them’, but added: ‘It is only few of them who do so and it is no different from the ‘black sheeps’ among the native Danish residents in our town. But them we know who are.’
Back in the clubs, Charlotte, Sanne and Sarah are also not convinced that it can all be blamed on the refugees.
‘It is not uncommon here that the [local] men touch us women when they get drunk, but we just punch them with our elbows in their stomachs when it happens,’ they told MailOnline.
‘We heard about the incidents in the city with refugee men, but we never experienced it ourselves from them.’
Tine Birkelund Thomsen, who works as a lawyer at Institute for Human Rights in Denmark, says club owners are using complaints as an excuse to keep a group of people out of their establishments.
If his fears prove to be true, he believes they may face prosecution for discrimination.
‘The law is not black and white, but it is a question about whether it is proportional what they do at the discotheque when they reject the Syrians,’ he said.
‘But if it is because they do it as an excuse to keep a specific ethnic group out of the discotheque which it seems like it is discrimination and against the law.’
However, there has yet to be a complaint made against the club owners, according to the police–but if there were, they would investigate.
A police spokesman said: ‘I am not be able to tell if the language part in the law refers to the nationality part in the racism law at present.
‘It is up to legal experts to assess if it illegal to reject refugees because they don’t speak Danish, English or German, .’
However, Mr Jensen says it is nothing to do with race, but simply a decision to ensure the club can continue to make money while not spending large amounts of time dealing with problems on the dance floor.
‘There have been no charges filed against me at all and when a lawyer says they think it might be illegal it says to me that he is also not on safe ground in his judgements,’ he said.
‘There is nothing racist about it.’.