Rune Engelbreth Larsen
Danish Hate Speech and Xenophobia

A few examples of hate speech and xenophobia from Danish mainstream debate, where it has been a widespread and increasing phenomenon since the mid-nineties: Danish Hate Speech & Xenophobia.

International media has repeatedly critisized racist tendencies and increasing discrimination in Danish society - a criticism that first gained particular international attention in 2001-2002, where Danish People's Party became a dominant political influence in Danish politics. A few examples:

Radio Netherlands: »What happened to Denmark? It currently has the lowest jobless rate in 25 years and is one of the richest countries of Europe. And on top of that immigrants make up for only 4.9 percent of the population. Many European countries harbour much more immigrants than Denmark. So how did the extreme right Peoples Party of Pia Kjaersgaard manage to set the tone of the election campaign by focussing on immigration and xenophobic sentiments?« (November 21, 2001).

Washington Post: »A wave of anti-Muslim sentiment has bolstered far-right parties in some European countries since Sept. 11 and left the continent's large communities of foreigners wondering how long their welcome will last. The changing mood has found its fullest political expression here in Denmark, where an anti-immigrant party won 12 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections in November, nearly doubling its showing from the previous election. Its campaign posters featured a picture of a young blond girl and the slogan: 'When she retires, Denmark will have a Muslim majority'.« (March 29, 2002).

Financial Times: »While most Danes would be loath to admit it, there are some uncomfortable parallels between the new measures and some of Mr. Le Pen’s stated policies.« (May 3, 2002).

The Guardian: »Denmark's government is now taking steps which will turn one of the world's most liberal countries into a bastion of introverted nationalism. There is no 'final solution' looming in Copenhagen, but there is the creation of new solutions, using legalised discrimination. (...) So for all of those who shake their heads over the silence of our forebears, here's a chance to show we are not like them. In the heartland of liberal Europe, there is now a minority community, defined by their age and lack of Danish citizenship, who have just lost a key component of their human rights.« (Comment by Stephen Smith, co-founder of the UK-based Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre, June 5, 2002).

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: »By court order, the head of the DPP, Pia Kjaersgaard, may not be labeled 'racist', but she keeps things humming in her own party's ranks with frequent xenophobic utterances. Late this past May, referring to Sweden's relatively open policy toward foreigners, Kjaersgaard remarked that the Stockholm regime was perfectly free to let Swedish cities become Scandinavian Beiruts, replete with mass rapes, revenge killings and clan wars.« (June 19, 2002).

The Guardian: »Denmark may long have been perceived as the small, friendly country which gave the world Lego, Hans Christian Andersen and the beauty of Copenhagen. And it still gives more of its wealth in aid to the developing world than any other country and has welfare benefits that are among the most generous in the industrialised world. But on Monday Denmark will acquire a less friendly image when it introduces the toughest immigration laws in Europe. On the same day as it takes over the EU's prestigious rotating presidency and begins to broker a common EU asylum policy, the new laws will turn Denmark, overnight, into one of the world's most hostile places for asylum seekers.« (June 29, 2002).

Since 2002 these tendencies have only been strengthened in Denmark.

July 2006