Denmark: Tax Authority teaching employees about Islamic culture
Via Danish blogger Uriasposten (via Jyllands-Posten), Jyllands-Posten and Fyens Stiftstidende: About 100 employees of the Danish Tax Authority will be taking a course in Islam next month, in order to learn why male Muslim pizzeria owners won't shake hands with female Tax Authority employees. They will also learn not to take it personally if a kiosk owner of Middle Eastern background curses them.
The course 'Operational culture and Islam' is being given in the context of the Tax Authority's focus on ghetto areas, which is part of the government's overall ghetto plan. The project, which started off on Jan. 1st, runs throughout the year and will help map out the extent of tax fraud, benefit fraud and illegal money transfers abroad in the ghetto areas.
The Tax Authority intends to check 65,000 residents and 1,200 companies in 26 ghettos across the country. So far the Tax Authority picked 2,216 people for inspection, out of which 1,613 were found to be OK, and 70 were sent to the municipalities for further investigation. The rest are still being investigated. Some of the cases they're checking include: how can people live off a negative income, why six men live in a small apartment when their families live nearby, how a person with normal income can send 3 million kroner abroad over four years, and why it seems that an 18 year old girl moved in with five men in a little apartment.
During inspections the Tax Authority personnel must show up in person, and that's the reason for the course. Erik M. Rosenbæk of the Tax Authority says that the course explains to the employees why some women won't shake hands, and why some men can be very loud when the Tax Authority comes to visit. In both cases it's due to culture, and it's important that the Tax Authority people get insight into that.
Mikkel Dencker of the Danish People's Party says it's completely incomprehensible and wants the relevant minister to explain this course.
"What on earth does Muslim culture have to do with tax collection? And what is the deeper meaning of having Tax Authority employees understand why some Muslim women won't shake hands, while some Muslims men are loud when the Tax Authority comes for a visit? There are equal tax laws for everybody and the Tax Authority should treat everybody the same." Mikkel Dencker says that it smells bad when there's special consideration for Muslims. Additionally, this course is a waste of taxpayers' money.
See also: Oslo: Municipality teaches Muslims about Sharia law in the job-market