DF hard-liner dead at 74

Politicians across the spectrum lament the passing of Jesper Langballe

Jesper Langballe, the former Dansk Folkeparti parliament member, passed away on Saturday at the age of 74.

Langballe, who left parliament in 2011 after a ten-year stint, was a long-time sufferer of diabetes and suffered from poor health in recent years, according to his cousin and former parliamentary colleague, Søren Krarup.

Politicians across the spectrum, including his Danish-Syrian former parliamentary colleague Naser Khader, lamented the death of Langballe, who was also a priest and a hard-liner when it came to the immigration debate.

“I disagreed with him on almost everything, but I liked him because he didn’t hide his feelings,” Khader wrote in an Ekstra Bladet opinion piece on Sunday.

“We often drank coffee together and it only goes to show that you don’t have to hate one another just because you disagree.”

Langballe was DF’s immigration and integration spokesperson and enjoyed considerable influence during Anders Fog Rasmussen’s (V) tenure as prime minister when DF was part of the government coalition.

READ MORE: No more Muslims, say DF leaders

Didn't mince words
In late 2010, he was fined for issuing a statement concerning Lars Hedegaard, the former head of Trykkefrihedsselskabet, the Danish press freedom association, who found himself in hot water after some incendiary words about Muslims.

“Of course Lars Hedegaard shouldn’t have said that there are Muslim fathers who rape their daughters, when the truth seems to be that they kill their daughters (honour killings) – and also turn a blind eye to it,” he said. 

Statements like this and his no-nonsense stance on immigration in general made Langballe a target for radical Muslims, including Adnan Avdic who in a column next to Khader's in Sunday's Ekstra Bladet revealed that he wouldn’t be shedding any tears for Langballe. He wrote that he hoped Langballe “would rot in hell” and likely soon be joined by Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist behind the most incendiary of the Mohammed drawings.

Before his political career, Langballe worked as a journalist for Jyllands-Posten newspaper before becoming a priest in 1975.