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Burning the Danish flag. Photo supplied

Muslims voters in Denmark signal electoral shift

The mobilization of Muslim voters in Denmark has led to massive advances for radicals in vulnerable residential areas, according to post-election pundits.

Published: June 12, 2019, 11:11 am

    Copenhagen

    “It worries me, because it shows that there is no separation of the various powers, but instead parties are bonded together not on political grounds, but rather on the premises of Islam. It can affect the very basic uniformity we have in Danish society,” Søren Hviid Pedersen, a debater and high school teacher with a PhD in political theory, noted.

    As Danish daily Jyllands-Posten reported on Friday, urban districts which are on the government’s ghetto list, have seen an organised mobilization of their residents. In Gellerup in western Aarhus, an electoral group was set up, in co-operation with a mosque and various associations.

    The group recommended that people vote for the Radicals and the Unity List.

    In Gellerup the Radical Liberals went from a voting share of 5,1 percent in 2015 to 34,2 percent in 2019. The same trend was seen in Vollsmose, Tingbjerg and in Nørrebro, where the Unity List also won a strong show of support.

    A priest Sørine Gotfredsen remarked: “When you begin with this mobilization, and even stand with authorities in the lead recommending specific parties (to vote for), the parallel society has gone from being introverted and closed and in general completely deaf towards the surrounding society to wanting to enter into the debate in order to change society. The parallel society comes a step further in the struggle for what defines Denmark.”

    But a sociologist of religion, Brian Arly Jacobsen, at the University of Copenhagen, does not believe that one should attach too much importance to the imams — or that there is anything wrong with Muslims organising themselves into special Facebook election groups.

    “In a democracy, it is a legal argument that they have used, and in that perspective, I do not think it is a problem that they have mobilized on the basis of certain interests. There are also other community groups that do that,” he said.

    The Aarhus councilor for the Radical Left, Rabih Azad-Ahmad, also sees no problem. On the contrary, he welcomes the fact that more residents in for example Gellerup have taken up “democracy”.

    The group of immigrants and their descendants with voting rights has increased by one quarter since 2011, figures from Statistics Denmark show. Particularly Radical Liberals have hijacked voters with an immigrant background.

    Radical Liberal Party leader Morten Østergaard has the reputation of an “halaal hippie”, since he contributed to the exceptionally good election results that the Radicals received in Vollsmose, Gellerup in Aarhus and Tingbjerg in Copenhagen.

    In these three places the party grew by between 23 and 29,7 percentage points to become the largest party.

    The Aarhus Mosque of Peace recommended, at a free dinner shortly before the general election, that thousands of Muslims vote red. Not a single conservative party was invited to the election meetings in Aarhus.

    The Mosque of Peace in Aarhus formed part of the special election committee with other associations in Aarhus Vest. The election committee convened electoral meetings, but deliberately chose to exclude the Liberals, the Danish People’s Party, Conservatives, New Civils, and Liberal Alliance.

    Instead, only pro-immigration parties were represented at the electoral meetings.

    In Copenhagen’s mosque, only certain candidates were recommended to the mosque-goers. Conservatives complained that it was undemocratic.

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