Leading Danish politician calls for ban on Muslim asylum seekers

A boy waves Danish flags as he joins fellow migrants, mainly from Syria. PHOTO: REUTERS

A boy waves Danish flags as he joins fellow migrants, mainly from Syria. PHOTO: REUTERS

A leading Danish politician has called for a ban on all Muslim refugees entering the country for up to six years.

The deputy leader of the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, Soeren Espersen, said Muslim asylum seekers should be barred from Europe because it needed “a respite after recent terrorist attacks.” He said they wanted a “religion neutral” crackdown on immigration, but added, “Islam is a belligerent religion. One should not be blind that many who commit terror find inspiration in Islam. That is why there is a connection between the number of Muslims in a country and the general security risk.”

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In an opinion piece for Danish newspaper Berlingske, Espersen claimed Westerners need to “stop being naive” and telling themselves that Islam is a religion of peace. He suggested the existing 270,000 Muslims in Denmark already posed a serious risk as they could be harbouring ISIS sympathisers.

The country’s main opposition party, the Social Democrats, condemned the politician’s call for a Muslim ban comparing his comments to the controversial rhetoric of Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump. They accused him of attempting to create a system of “religious apartheid.”

Social Democrat MP Lars Aslan Rasmussen, whose father is Muslim, said the position amounted to “religious discrimination or religious apartheid.” Anders Samuelsen, the president of the Liberal Alliance, a centre-right minority party, told Politiko website, “It makes no sense and is very un-Danish. Just because there are problems with some Muslims, does not mean they are all guilty.”

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The director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Jonas Chrstoffersen, called the proposal “discriminatory” and pointed out the UN Convention on Human Rights said every person had the right to “enjoy asylum from persecution”.

A spokesperson for the Radical party, Rasmus Nordqvist, said, “The Danish People’s Party’s latest proposal undermines not only human rights and conventions, but will destroy Denmark as a free, open and tolerant society.”

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His party’s immigration spokesperson, Martin Henriksen, said it would not pass a law explicitly banning Muslims if they were in government but would aim to reduce the number coming into the country to zero. The nationalist party is Denmark’s second largest and supports the ruling Liberal Party in the Danish parliament but does not have an actual role in government.

Denmark, which has a population of 5.5 million, received 21,000 asylum applications during 2015. It has suffered comparatively little extremist violence with its most recent attack in February 2015 when a Danish gunman of Palestinian descent killed a filmmaker and a guard at a synagogue and wounded five police officers before killing himself.

This article originally appeared on Independent.

Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1153481/leading-danish-politician-calls-ban-muslim-asylum-seekers/