Leading politician moves to the ’ghetto’ … for three days

Radikale head Morten Østergaard fed up with anti-immigration rhetoric

There is little doubt Danish politicians have been taking an increasingly tougher stance regarding immigration in recent years.

From the efforts of the immigration minister, Inger Støjberg, to curb the flow to Denmark to even the traditionally left-leaning Socialdemokratiet (S) aiming for asylum centres abroad, the trend it difficult to ignore.

Moving to the ghetto
Now, Radikale head Morten Østergaard has had enough. In a recent Facebook post the politician blasted the Danish immigration debate and announced he was leaving the halls of Parliament and moving to a vulnerable ‘ghetto’ district in Denmark … for three days (see video below).

“For two decades the immigration debate has raged in Danish politics. This weekend was no exception. The finance minister, Kristian Jensen, wants to be tougher, as does Mette Frederiksen [head of S], so now S is heading for election on a pie in the sky plan regarding Danish unity and Danish asylum centres in [north] Africa,” he wrote.

“New chapters in the same history. A screw without an end. Pure déjà vu. It’s time to say stop. Reality is calling.”

Just yesterday, Morocco joined Tunisia by saying it would not want any of S’s proposed asylum centres in its territory.

READ MORE: Government passes stricter family reunification laws

Getting out there
Østergaard is currently in the beleaguered Odense neighbourhood of Vollsmose, where he has moved in with an elderly lady to get a better idea about the prevailing issues in Denmark’s vulnerable districts. Of Vollsmose’s around 10,000 inhabitants, 75 percent are immigrants and their descendants.

“I want to speak with women on social benefits – the children, teachers, mothers, righteous citizens,” wrote Østergaard.

“And also those who despise democracy and the gang members. Not to console or apologise to them, but to look them in the eye and ask: What is preventing you from reaching out to the endless and easily-accessible opportunities we have in Denmark.”

READ MORE: Minister wants to force immigrant children to attend daycare from an early age

Damning statistics
One thing Østergaard might notice during his short stay in Vollsmose is the number of men not working during the day.

According to a new survey from the Economy and Internal Affair Minister, 60 percent of fathers in Denmark’s biggest ‘ghettos’ areas are unemployed.

The report (here in Danish) also showed that only 25 percent of mothers were employed or taking an education, school marks are drastically lower than the rest of the country, and 60 percent of children in institutions have a non-western background.

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