Denmark, please Don’t!

Finding a niche for radicalization in Danish society is rather a dangerous intellectual exercise, the consequences of which may become excuse in drawing wrong attention to a peaceful Danish society. A country which is known for its positive role in the developing nations needs more practical approach to promote reconciliation within among different cultures and ethnic communities. Denmark invests an enormous amount of intellectual and financial resources to promote integration and cultural harmony, but, a certain type of academic and media attributes too casting negative impact on the efforts of Danish government.

Entitled, “Denmark’s unnecessary clash of civilizations”, a special contribution, to CNN, the two Danish academics from Danish Institute of International Affairs (DIIS): Fabrizio Tassinari and Mona Kanwal Sheikh have provided a very bleak picture of racial relations between the natives and Danish Muslim immigrants. Their prediction that, “Denmark is in the midst of a clash of civilizations. And while it may not be an actual war, the perceived fight among some Danes is hardening the lines of conflict between Islam and the West”.

This reflection inherently carries contradictory frame of reference because by nature, Danes and Muslim immigrants have been living side by side for decades. Danes have been welcoming Muslim immigrants, and continue to have billions of dollars trade/investment in the Islamic world. The usage of expressions of “war” and “hardening lines of conflict” between Islam and the West are rhetorical devices that are being applied for the purpose of remaking headlines in the mainstream media. It would be an intellectual dishonesty to claim that Danes as community support any conflict in the way the authors tried to portray – similarly, the West, on the other hand, cannot be represented “only” by Denmark, and therefore the contextual character of the article misleads the readers.

The fact of the matter is that a successful integration of second generation Muslim immigrants, especially, Pakistanis, Turkish and Arabs in all walks of life (e.g. medicine, engineering, IT, computer sciences, social sciences and business administration) is an indication that such exaggerated assessments will only benefit those who seek to undermine the “goodwill” of tolerant Muslim communities in Danish society. Although constructed on the recent incident of “a failed attempt to kill one of the country’s staunchest critics of Islam, Lars Hedegaard”, the article is full of previous controversies on the freedom of expression and cartoon crisis, and lacks new information.

The issue of fundamentalism is being faced by both Islamic and Western worlds, and would require remedies at all levels. The growing patterns of anti-Semitism and Islamphobia are worrisome developments, and hence the reason to launch inter-faith dialogue & for further inclusion of Muslim youth in the emerging business and employment opportunities. Despite all the complexities and issues of religious intolerance, it is entirely prudent to desire from Denmark that please don’t fall into trap of radicals and hardened assessments of academics.