Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Danish pranksters in action

Denmark is continuing to show little fissures in her relationships with her immigrant population. In a brief Danish newspaper report that is remarkable both for what it does so and what it doesn't say, it appears that some, at least, are seeing if they can replicate France's civil unrest.

Faint reverberations of recent French immigrant riots continued in the Danish city of Århus Wednesday night, as teenagers rampaged through its Rosenhøj quarter, setting dustbins on fire, smashing shop windows, and trying to set fire to one store. A 19-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the attempt to set the shop ablaze. The district had seen several nights of disturbances last week as young people took to the streets smashing shop windows, hot dog stands, and setting fire to a pre-school and a fast food restaurant. Last week's disturbances were blamed on youth gangs and a city housing association promised a DKK 10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. City officials reacted to the original disturbances by entering into a dialogue involving the young people and their parents, social workers, the police, teachers, and housing association members. The methods appeared to have worked, and the weekend had seen quiet in the quarter. On Monday, Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the right-wing Danish People's Party, said the disturbances should be treated as terrorist acts. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, however, rejected her call, saying there was a difference between terror, the riots in France's suburban immigrant quarters, and the Århus disturbances, which he called 'pranks'.
Why do I find this report interesting? Because of what it alludes to, without actually saying anything. Thus, the opening paragraph speaks of echoes of the immigrant riots in France, with young people rampaging through a suburb. No mention at all of who these rioters are, but I think the "faint reverberations" language is intended to say, without saying, that the rioters are Muslim immigrants. The article then obliquely touches upon the tensions that hamper most European countries when they try to deal with the problem. The leader of the "right-wing Danish People's Party," a phrase that somehow carries connotations of 30's style fascism, contends that the youths are "terrorists" (another oblique hint as to the rioters ethnic/religious identity). The Prime Minister, however, who clearly stands in contrast to this "right-wing" idealogue, says that these "suburban immigrants" are merely pranksters. With this kind of stultifying dialogue, burdened with implied political connotations, although nothing is said explicitly, it's little wonder that Europe is at an impasse. There is no way, when all conversations are in code, to establish policies that welcome and assimilate immigrants, so that the latter enjoy the economic fruits of and respect the dominant culture without being forced (as they are in France) to lose their cherished cultural and religious identity. For what it's worth, I don't think these random agitators will succeed, but it's interesting to see them trying.