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Otherwise, the letter gets is basically right; although one may argue back and forth about the real level of "anti-immigrant and anti-Islam sentiment" in Denmark. There is probably more anti-Islam sentiment in the US, for example, but the muslims there are better integrated. Then again, they have often stronger roots in the country and many live in "ghettos" like Dearborn, Michigan.
Also, it is of course debatable whether 180,000 is a "very small number" in a population of 5,4 million. At least it's not perceived as such when they are mostly concentrated in the cities.
The Danish national identity is ethnically "thicker" than for instance the Norwegian. Although Danes fondly accuse us of excessive nationalism, our nationalism is arguably more vested in symbols like the National Day and the flag. If you avail yourself of these and speak the language well, you're largely there. The Danish identity is more tied to an elaborate urbane/hedonistic culture, complete with a characteristic joviality, which is harder to emulate. Also, there is a certain xenophobia that might stem from the Danish experience of losing just about every war they have ever taken part in. This gives a fertile soil for operators like Pia Kjærsgård, a kind of female Jürg Haider, or at best, Haider light. But enough of this.
The radical imams have been busted for over a week. I can add that they also reportedly led their contacts to think that Jyllands-Posten is owned or controlled by Vogh Rasmussen.
As I said in another comment, these people are as much a problem as anyone. They genuinely abhor the country in which they reside and make no bones about it, while often taking advantage of the language barrier to hide their condemnations of the ethnic majority. But try to convey such nuance to the PC-mongering US leftist blogosphere these days. No, it's all about the racist Danes, bigots every one.
The world's northernmost desert wind.
My point being is this. What is the solution in the long run? Is Islam indeed incompatible with liberalism? Should Islamic immigrants be repatriated? Should Islamic immigration be stopped? Why are there lots of radical Muslims in Europe and not in the US? Why aren't these Muslims better integrated? Do you build a wall around Europe?
I'm not asking these questions to get a rise, either. One needs to seriously address the longterm implications of what this crisis means. Acknowledging and defending free speech - which I agree is of central importance - does not answer any of the above questions, though. This is part of my problem with the people who see the issue only in free speech terms - because they only acknowledge the short term question. What is to be done in the long term? About the existence of radical Islam? About the large differences more generally between the "west" and the Islamic world?
Because whether I or you like it or not, this controversy has revealed a major rift between two world views.
Percentage viewing Muslims as either positive or somewhat positive in various Western countries:
Great Britain: 72%
No here's the drop off:
I'd imagine the Danish numbers would be similar to those of Germany and the Netherlands.
I think the "trend" for Germany is right. But the particularly low numbers in this poll (done in spring 2005) might be related to a whole bunch of honour killings during that time in Germany.
According to a "Die Zeit" article (in German), there were five honour killings in Berlin alone during the four months before that article was published. The one most widely published (and making it number 6) was the murder of "Hatun Sürücu" in February 2005.
That shocked a lot of Germans. Especially after reading in newspapers that a school principal had overheard three pupils of Turkish origin justifying the murder afterwards by saying that she had lived like a "German".
In the aftermath of that murder, the media for the first time wrote about honour killings, forced marriages and so on. Leaving a lot of Germans with a distinctly uneasy feeling.
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