Denmark criticised for limiting religious freedom – The Post

Denmark criticised for limiting religious freedom

Meanwhile, Turkish private schools in the country are closing down because parents do not want to publicly support anti-Erdogan sentiments

The Danish ‘forkynderlov’ is in conflict with religious freedom, believe experts (photo: iStock)
December 20th, 2016 3:46 pm| by Lucie Rychla
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European experts criticise Denmark for taking interventions against religious extremism one step too far, reports Kristeligt Dagblad.

Danish Parliament on Monday adopted the last part of the anti-extremism package, the so-called ‘forkynderlov’, which includes a public sanction list of religious preachers.


According to Ingvill Thorson Plesner, a human rights researcher at University of Olso, and Peter Edge, a professor of law at Oxford Brookes University, the new law is in conflict with religious freedom.

READ MORE: New austerity measures for ‘tolerated’ asylum-seekers in Denmark ‘violate’ human rights

“Uncommon” way to fight extremism
“With these laws Denmark stands out by going further than we see in Norway and other European countries,” Plesner told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“The difference is that the Danish initiatives come into conflict with self-determination of religious communities. I have not seen examples of similar regulations in other countries.”

Plesner observes that limiting freedom of expression may be necessary whilst combating hate crimes and other types of violence, but she stresses that “religious communities and their leaders should not have to follow more stringent restrictions on their freedoms than other organisations and citizens in general.”

Similarly, Edge calls the Danish intervention “very uncommon” and claims British authorities would not single-out one group of the population to fight extremism.

READ MORE: Experts: Denmark overlooking right-wing extremism

Turkish private schools closing down
Meanwhile, Turkish private schools in Denmark are experiencing significant financial losses as many parents pull their kids out of institutions listed as supporters of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher and political opponent of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ballerup Privatskole and Østjyllands Privatskole have already closed down due to lack of funds and three have received assistance from the Education Ministry.

Other schools were forced to lay off employees.

So far, 600 students have been enrolled to other schools because their parents want to avoid problems on future trips to Turkey.

'Forkynderlov' includes the following interventions:


  • a public sanction list of foreign religious workers who may be forbidden entry to Denmark
  • a dress code and a compulsory course in Danish family law, human rights and democracy
  • criminalisation of express approval of certain offenses committed during religious training
  • efforts to improve the quality of democratic education at private religious schools
  • efforts against associations that oppose or undermine democracy and human rights

 

(Source: Kristeligt Dagblad)