Copenhagen's integration councilman wants to involve religion in public schools and workplaces.
"Islam must fill the classroom and the cafeteria more, if integration is to succeed", says Jacob Hougaard, who is now asking for suggestions from Copenhagen's integration board on how to guide religion in everyday life.
"Religion already fills much today. There is much that is settled, where many Muslims practice, but we must accept that there is a demand for halal-meat, possibility of bathing covered in the schools and for wearing the veil.
He suggests among other things that public schools give vacation during Eid, the Muslim holiday after the fast month of Ramada, and that a religious forum be created which the city will be able to go into dialog.
The suggestion comes after inspiration from Arhus, where on Monday 15 suggestions where brought up. Some suggestion were that Arhus will employ an imam, that employers shall enable prayers and give time off for religious holidays. Nine of the fifteen suggestions were dismissed.
Arhus's mayor, Nicolai Wammen, says that there are some things he won't accept, such as employing an imam. It is a private matter how to relate to religion and prayer. On the other hand, he supports courses for immigrant (New Danes) parents that don't allow their kids, for example, to go to camp.
Feminist and pastor Nahid Riazi calls the suggestion catastrophic.
"It is discrimination. It will stamp many Muslim kids and youth with a mark that's called religion. It gives the imams and the religious forces, what they will have and believe, that in this way the integration problems are solved. The common Muslim thinks only of raising his kid, giving him a good education and avoiding having them end up criminals."
Riazi adds that religion is an adult's private issue.
Jacob Hougaard says it won't lead to discrimination saying that Muslims will be treated like everybody else. However, Muslims live by certain rules which specify how to eat and dress and they also need to explain it to others.
Source: Avisen (Danish), h/t Hodja
See also: Denmark: Recommendations for integration