A Dane by any other name

Former MEP worries that a minister and a journalist may not be qualified to discuss immigration

Mogens Camre, a former member of the European Parliament for Dansk Folkeparti, stirred up a firestorm over the weekend by making a now-deleted Facebook post wondering if either Manu Sareen, the integration minister, or DR journalist Erkan Özdens had the proper background to be discussing immigration in Denmark. The Danes in question respectively have Indian and Turkish roots.

“I had a strange feeling while watching DR1 news this evening,” posted Camre. “A journalist who seems to have come from the Middle East was interviewing an integration minister from India on the best ways that immigrants can assimilate in Denmark.”

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Sareen fires back
Camre’s comments caused Sareen to see red,

“What the hell is up with him? Someone should tell the man that it is 2014,” read Sareen’s Facebook response to Camre’s post.

“There are three layers at work here, “the minister told TV2 News.

“Firstly, one cannot be Indian and be part of the Danish government. Secondly, it is hopeless that he does not recognise Erkan as first and foremost a journalist [who has been active since 2003]. Finally, both Erkan and I are Danes. When is one ‘Danish enough’? I have lived here since 1971 and it is crazy to not consider us as Danes.”

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“You have become completely irrelevant”
Özdens’ DR colleague Kim Bildsøe Lassen also lambasted Camre via Facebook,

“Your comments about Erkan Özden have nothing to do with substantive debate and are not grounded in professional, substantive issues but rather something – that I honestly do not understand – that you think is relevant. If that is the level of your thinking, then you have become completely irrelevant.”