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Denmark Minister Calls Fasting Muslims ‘a Danger’ in Ramadan

COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s immigration minister, who closing yr celebrated the rustic’s more and more strict access rules by way of posting a Facebook image of herself with a cake, has recommended that Muslims fasting for Ramadan must keep house from paintings “to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society.”

The minister, Inger Stojberg, made the remarks in a newspaper column on Monday in which she referred to as adherence to the non secular observe “a danger to all of us.”

The monthlong Ramadan vacation, which started closing week, comes to day by day fasting from break of day to nightfall, a length that in Denmark lasts as much as 18 hours an afternoon throughout the spring and summer time. Ms. Stojberg pointed in specific to bus drivers and other folks operating in hospitals.

Her feedback caused complaint from Muslims and immigration advocates.

“This is a minister who is supposed to strengthen integration and strengthen social cohesion between population groups,” mentioned Natasha Al-Hariri, an integration advisor who holds a regulation level and is Muslim. “But she’s doing the opposite: She’s stirring up a debate based on no figures, no statistics and no anecdotes.”

The administrative center of Ms. Stojberg, whose professional identify is immigration and integration minister, didn’t go back a choice for remark.

Members of her center-right Liberal Party, which leads the present govt, distanced themselves from her remarks.

“In Denmark there’s room for everybody — if you believe in Jesus, Allah or Buddha — as long as you mind your duties and take responsibility for your actions,” mentioned Fatma Oktem, a celebration member and previous member of Parliament, who was once born in Denmark to Turkish oldsters.

A up to date Justice Department proposal to prohibit the dressed in of “clothing items that cover the face” — together with burqas — in public was once already checking out the boundaries for some celebration individuals.

Responding to Ms. Stojberg’s feedback, Jacob Jensen, a Liberal member of Parliament, advised fellow politicians in a Facebook post to “concentrate on solving real problems first,” and added that the control of employees throughout non secular vacations was once easiest left to employers.

“If a nurse didn’t eat or had been to a Christmas party, there’s a head nurse to handle it,” he mentioned in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s not something for us politicians to get involved in.”

Arriva, one in all Denmark’s major bus operators, declined to touch upon Tuesday, however a spokeswoman was once quoted by way of the Danish newspaper BT as announcing that it had by no means had any injuries involving a motive force who was once fasting.

“We ran some information campaigns and had a Ramadan flier with advice on how to drive during Ramadan,” the spokeswoman, Pia Hammershoy Splittorff, was once quoted as announcing. “We’ve done that for some years, but have also ascertained it wasn’t necessary.”

Celebrating Immigration Rules With Cake

Ms. Stojberg made headlines in March 2017 when she posted a picture of herself on Facebook with a cake celebrating the passing of the rustic’s 50th immigration restriction.

“Today the 50th restriction was passed on immigration. This must be celebrated!” she wrote in a publish that confirmed her protecting the cake, which was once adorned with fruit, the quantity 50 and a Danish flag.

The publish, which brought about an outcry on social media, got here at a time when nations throughout Europe have been dealing with a backlash towards immigration and tradition wars over nationwide identification.

The integration minister additionally integrated a hyperlink to an inventory of ministry laws, equivalent to a law requiring newly arrived asylum seekers to give up valuables like jewellery and gold to assist pay for his or her keep in the rustic.

Handing Over Assets for Living Costs

That regulation — which Denmark’s Parliament handed in January 2016, the similar month that the rustic imposed temporary controls alongside its border with Germany — required that asylum seekers who entered the rustic with property of greater than 10,000 kroner, or about $1,250, will have to assist cover the cost of their lodging.

Criticized by way of activists and United Nations officers, the regulation was once amended to exempt “objects with sentimental value” like wedding ceremony and engagement rings and circle of relatives portraits.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen mentioned on the time that the regulation’s goal was once to introduce the similar necessities for asylum seekers that the rustic’s electorate confronted: to make use of their very own assets ahead of qualifying for welfare advantages.

The regulation was once applied just four times in the yr after being presented, in step with DR, the nationwide broadcaster.

Laws in Germany and Switzerland additionally require asylum seekers with property exceeding sure quantities to give a contribution to their dwelling prices.

Serving Pork to Children

Ms. Stojberg additionally got here beneath complaint in January 2016 for referring to an anecdote — later revealed as untrue — public day care middle in town of Aalborg had banned children from eating pork, and suggesting that the ban was once an consequence of multiculturalism.

After the tale was once discredited, she mentioned she regretted having discussed it in a speech.

The factor of serving red meat at faculties had wider resonance in the rustic on the time, on the other hand. The the town of Randers introduced a policy that month that serving conventional Danish meals like red meat was once crucial for holding nationwide identification.

The the town council, announcing that its goal was once to not drive somebody to consume one thing that “goes against one’s belief or religion,” deemed that Danish meals tradition will have to be a “central part of the offering — including serving pork on an equal footing with other foods.”

Critics of the coverage mentioned it were supposed to stigmatize Muslims, whose nutritional rules, like the ones for Jews, forbid red meat intake.

Tess Felder contributed reporting from New York.

A model of this text seems in print on , on Page Anine of the New York version with the headline: Danish Minister Sees ‘Danger’ in Islam Ritual. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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