Monday July 2, 2018
By Sidra Javed
According to the new rules, “ghetto
children” will be separated from their families once they turn 1, for at
least 25 hours, each week for mandatory lessons in “Danish values.”
Denmark’s government is introducing
radical news laws to regulate the lives of low-income Muslims living in
“ghettos,” in an effort to protect “Danishness,” according
to a government plan. One of these policies will include separating
babies from their mothers for several hours a day to instill Danish
values in them.
In Denmark, the word “ghetto” describes
a neighborhood with more than 1,000 residents with the following
attributes: over 50 percent of the residents are immigrants from
non-Western countries, at least 40 percent are unemployed and 2.7
percent have criminal convictions.
Many right-leaning political leaders consider these areas as “holes”
in Denmark’s map where Danish language and culture is seemingly lost to
generation after generation of immigrants.
For decades, Denmark has been pushing to integrate immigrants and
conform them to serve a small and homogenous population. About 87
percent of Denmark’s 5.7 million residents are of Danish descents while
the rest are immigrants. Currently there are 254,000 ghettos scattered
in Denmark. Of the 60,000 people living in the areas, around two-thirds
are from Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Somalia.
According to the new crackdown, “ghetto children” will be separated
from their families once they turn 1 for at least 25 hours each week for
mandatory lessons in “Danish values,” which include learning about
Christmas and Easter. If the parents refuse to comply, their welfare
payments would be stopped.
There are other punitive measures against residents of ghettos as well.
One of the measures would allow courts to double
the punishment for certain crimes for residents of the ghettos. The
attempt to target the poor population more harshly than Danish elites is
another example of the classist values of the Danish government.
Another policy would impose
4-year prison sentences on parents who forced their children to make
long visits to their country of origin that could damage their Danish
schooling and increase surveillance and monitoring of the ghetto
However, some radical proposals, like placing a curfew on “ghetto
children” after 8 p.m. were rejected, but only because it was too
challenging to enforce it. Martin Henriksen, the chairman of
Parliament’s integration committee, actually suggested that young people
in the areas could be fitted with electronic ankle bracelets — just
like during the German Nazi era.
Rokhaia Naassan, a pregnant woman who is fast approaching her delivery date, is angered with the mandatory “preschool” program.
“Nobody should tell me whether or how my daughter should go to
preschool. Or when,” she said. “I’d rather lose my benefits than submit
She also said her daughter was taught so much about Christmas, she came home demanding presents from Santa Claus.
In fact, activists and left-center politicians believe Danes have
become so desensitized to the plight of the immigrants that they no
longer register the negative nuances of the word “ghetto” and how many
of the measures hark back to the Third Reich’s separation of the Jewish
“We call them ‘ghetto children, ghetto parents,’ it’s so crazy,”
Yildiz Akdogan, a Social Democrat, said. “It is becoming a mainstream
word, which is so dangerous. People who know a little about history, our
European not-so-nice period, we know what the word ‘ghetto’ is
By pushing the story about how much immigrant and refugee families
cost Dane taxpayers, the Danish People’s Party has won many voters away
from the Social Democrats, who have long fought for the Danish welfare
state. However, while trying to protect Danish values, these policies
will undermine equality before the law.