According to a new report from the Immigration and Integration Ministry, half of the descendants of non-western immigrants in Denmark want to do away with the freedom to criticise religion.
Interestingly, the report (here in Danish) found that descendants of non-western immigrants seemed to be more eager to defend religion than immigrants in Denmark.
Some 48 percent of descendants agreed that it should be illegal to criticise religion, compared to 42 percent of immigrants who had been in Denmark for at least three years. For ethnic Danes, the figure was at 20 percent.
“When you are marginalised from society, religion can help you with an identity and feeling part of a community. That’s not a problem in itself, but it does become an issue if that becomes your only point of affiliation,” Halima El Abassi, the head of the ethnic minority council REM, told Kristeligt-Dagblad newspaper.
Democracy trumps God
The report also delved into other opinions and values among immigrants and their descendants, such as opinions on gender equality, homosexuality and what it means to feel Danish.
On the one hand, many immigrants identify more with feeling Danish than they did a decade ago and tolerance about homosexuality has also increased.
But on the flipside, there has been a rise in the number of ‘new Danes’ who believe that women should only marry a man who their family accepts. The immigration minister, Mattias Tesfaye, found the results concerning.
“In one way, I understand that immigrants from the Middle East hold onto the values they were raised with. But it should be such that more and more accept the values of democracy from generation to generation,” Tesfaye told BT tabloid.
“When religion and democracy clash, it is God who must move aside. And when half of the descendants believe that religion should be exempt from criticism, I interpret that as people thinking that democracy must step out of the way.”