Assimilation vs. Parallel Societies – The Danish Experience with Jews and Muslims

Denmark of the mid-nineteenth century set a marvelous example of community relations and brotherhood based on mutual respect. It was possible because a small minority had seen how it was incumbent upon them to win the respect of their neighbors. In today’s topsy-turvy world, Denmark and other nations are struggling to maintain their noble traditions and culture in the face of provocation from a militant minority of Muslim immigrants that is seeking to impose its will and culture/religion on the majority.

Until the mid-1980s, Denmark was still, along with Iceland and Portugal, the most homogeneous (some observers would therefore conclude the most boring) country in Europe. The population was almost entirely of ethnic Danish origin, speaking Danish and overwhelmingly members of the state Lutheran church (or non-observant) with no significant cultural, linguistic, ethnic or religious minorities. The only historical dispute involving a neighboring country with claims to kinship with a minority in the country involved the German community in South Jutland (also known as South Schleswig). Relations between Germany and Denmark over their respective minority populations were settled in a number of agreements following World War II and ended the only minor irritant among NATO members. Both minorities received assurances of full civil rights and establishing cultural institutions to maintain their respective identities (see Danish Dilemmas: South Schleswig after World War II; The Danish-German Border Crisis of 1945-1950) World Affairs Journal. No immigrant group was ‘visible’ except a tiny Jewish community in Copenhagen and ethnic Greenlanders who were all Danish citizens and Danish speaking.

This began to radically change in the 1980s when large numbers of immigrants received the right to settle and work in the country to fill a shortage of labor.

h/t Marvin