Denmark: Islamic Faith Society upset at Nazi comparison

Denmark: Islamic Faith Society upset at Nazi comparison

The Islamic Faith-Society is very upset that the Education Minister Bertel Haarder drew a parallel in Danish newspaper Kristligt Dagblad between religious private schools and private schools run by Nazis or autonomes. Albeit the latter do not exist.

As part of the government anti-radicalization strategy, 25 private schools will get extra inspection to ensure that the students are being prepared for a life of freedom and democracy. In the first pass, five schools will be visited by the National School Agency.

Haardel said that the inspection isn't only directed at Muslim schools but "also Nazi or autonome, if such would exist."

The spokesperson of the Islamic Faith Society, Bilal Assaad, wrote in a press release:

"The education minister equates between Muslim private schools and totalitarian institutions - without blinking. How Catholic schools will take this statement would be interesting to see. This deliberate comparison from a minister, who runs his ministries by throwing ashtrays when things don't go as he wishes, is surprising"

It was unfortunately not possible to get a detailed comment form Bilal Assaad yesterday. Generally, there is dissatisfaction in the private school sector with extra supervision, which they see as casting suspicion.

It's still unclear which schools will be inspected, but the head of the Danish Private School Association, Ebbe Lilliendal, guesses that all 20 Muslim private schools will get a visit. In addition, he says that Catholic schools could be included since some of them have many students of immigrant backgrounds.

The head of the Association of Catholic Schools in Denmark, Georg Høhling, is however not satisfied with this. He points out that the 21 Catholic schools in the country have been operating for over 100 years in Denmark, and there hasn't been one example of the schools leading to extremism.

"We thinks it's so important to teach democracy and equality, that all Catholic schools have it in their object clause. Catholic schools have, simply based on their view of humanity, a duty to educated the children to freedom and democracy," says Georg Høhling.

He wanrs against shooting wildly against private schools.

In a letter to the newspaper, Bertel Haarder explained that he didn't say that Catholic schools would be investigated. In practice, the School Agency decides which schools will be inspected.

The School Agency now formulated four objective criteria for the inspection visit. Private schools which meet at least two of the criteria can get an inspection visit, says education chief consultant Anders Andersen of the School Agency.

The criteria:
1. Schools are based on religious or political views.
2. Schools which didn't explicitly state how they will meet the legal requirement for students to be prepared for a society of freedom and democracy, like the Danish society.
3. Schools where there's a concern that students are isolate themselves or exclude themselves from others based on their religion, skin-color or political convictions.
4. Schools where former inspections have shown there's a concern that the schools don't meet the requirement for preparing students for freedom and democracy.

In addition to the four objective criteria, they will also attempt to get a geographical spread, and visit both large and small schools.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

See also:
* Denmark: "We'll do the same to Nazi schools"
* Denmark: More supervision of Muslim schools
* Denmark: UN to decide legality of comparing Muslims to Nazis
* Denmark: DPP responds with UN imam complaint

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