Muslim children do not feel welcome in public school

Many say they feel more accepted in private schools

Danish public schools, folkeskolen, are not very welcoming to Muslim children, according to some educators.

“Many children who come to us from a public school have felt left out, misunderstood and stigmatised,” Line Mansour, the headteacher at the Muslim school Nord-Vest Privatskole, told DR Nyheder. “They come to us because they are looking for community, security and identity.”

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Figures from Dansk Friskoleforening, the Danish free school association, showed that the number of children going to Muslim schools has increased by 20 percent, from 3,945 in 2009 to 4,738 students in 2012. The increase in the numbers going to private schools overall was just 13 percent.

Sweden does it better
Sidsel Vive Jensen, an education researcher at KORA – a municipal analysis and research group – said that Danish public schools do not understand highly-religious students.

“Schools in Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands are more focused on religious differences and try to handle the differences more directly instead of pretending they are not there,” said Jensen.