Denmark: 50% of immigrants want to criminalize criticism of religion

Denmark: 50% of immigrants want to criminalize criticism of religion

Attacking religion should be criminal in Denmark, according to half of immigrants and their descendants from Muslim countries who participated in an opinion survey, conducted by Statistics Denmark for the liberal think tank Cepos.

2.792 people answered whether the law should ban movies and books which attack religion. 50% of both immigrants and their descendants answered it should. 35% of immigrants and 40% of their descendants answered it shouldn't, according to Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Geert Laier Christensen, research director for the civic think tank Cepos, thinks that the answers in the study are worrying and he notes in particular that descendants of immigrants from Muslim countries think that the law should protect religion.

"It surprises me that so many don't back freedom here. If this point of view gains ground we risk that free debate will be silenced and it will become legitimate to attack those who attack religion," he says.

In recent months, the Durban II conference, to be held in April, caused debate, since the Organization of Islamic Countries, wants to juxtapose racial discrimination and criticism of religion. This caused several countries to threats with staying away from the conference in protest.

In Denmark, integration consultant Manu Sareen wrote a protest against the conference. He isn't surprised that there are many Muslims also in Denmark who want to ban criticism of religion.

"It's a dismal number, but unfortunately it merely confirms what I hear from young descendants of immigrants. They focus on that everything is better in their parents' homeland, 6,000 kilometer away," says Sareen.


It is not worrying that half the immigrants want to ban books and movies which attack religion, while 80% of ethnic Danes reject a ban. It's a theoretical discussion, since religion in Denmark is protected by both a blasphemy law and a racism law, says Morten Østergaard, spokesperson for integration for the Danish Social Liberal Party to news agency Ritzau.

He warns that politicians such as the Welfare Minister Karen Jespersen (Liberal Party) will artificially inflate the opposition to Muslims.

He disagrees with party member Manu Sareen, who characterizes the numbers as dismal.

Inger Støjberg, Liberal party political spokesperson, disagrees and wants imams and other religion preachers in democracy school.

Sources: DR, Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

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