Immigration & Denmark
DF semi-apologises for Muslim comments
Party admits concern over new Muslim citizens was "exaggerated", but stands by refusal to support citizenship bill
Dansk Folkeparti's (DF) decision to vote against last week's bi-annual citizenship bill because it had too many individuals from Muslim countries led to widespread condemnation.
Now the party has now walked back, if ever so slightly, its assertion that giving citizenship to too many Muslims will "create a shift in the Danish population".
DF's deputy leader, Søren Espersen, told Politiken newspaper that his party colleague Christian Langballe's words went too far.
"That expression is perhaps exaggerated," he said. "I thought that myself when I saw what he said."
Espersen said, however, that he stood by the party's decision to vote against the bill and agrees that there were too many names on the citizenship list that come from non-Western, Muslim countries.
Bill easily passed
The citizenship bill, which occurs twice a year in parliament and typically passes with no political opposition, included the names of 422 non-Western immigrants – largely Iraqis and Afghans – who have otherwise fulfilled all the necessary citizenship requirements. Despite DF's refusal to support the bill, it passed easily in parliament on Thursday.
Under Thursday's vote, many parties made a point of expressing their disapproval of DF's standpoint.
"I just want to make sure that Dansk Folkeparti's spokespeople understand that those of us in Venstre welcome all new citizens, regardless of what countries they came from or what the predominant religion is in those countries," Venstre's Jan Jørgensen said in parliament. "I just want to be 100 percent sure that Dansk Folkeparti has duly noted Venstre's opinion in this matter."
"The beast within"
Socialistisk Folkeparti's Özlem Cekic said that DF's statement was "grotesque".
"Just imagine if they would have said that they wouldn't give Danish citizenship because people were Jewish [rather than Muslim]," Cekic said. "I think it is grotesque, and that it is very upsetting that Dansk Folkeparti in that way would try to stir up the beast within."
Langballe countered Cekic's statement by saying that he didn't not say the word 'Muslims', but rather "non-Western, Muslim countries".
"[Cekic is] playing the Nazi card, and that is absolutely not worth commenting on," Langballe said.
Langballe stood by his assertion that, at least in some places, the Danish population is drastically changing.
"What I mean is that, in some of these ghetto areas, indigenous Danes have become the minority," he told Politiken.