Back in March of last year, Erico Matias Tavares , asked Iben Thranholm - one of Denmark’s most widely read columnists on such matters - if Denmark was on the brink?
Thranholm is a former editor and radio host at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), at which she created a religious news program that set a new standard for religious analysis in the newsroom. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Italy, the United States and Russia to carry out research and interviews. She has been awarded for her investigative research into Danish media coverage of religious issues.
Her response now seems prophetic..
IT: Yes, Denmark is on the brink. And Europe is on the brink. We completely lost our culture, our values and our moral compass. What used to be good is now evil and vice-versa.
You mentioned Denmark being the happiest country in the world but I am not sure that is true. We have high alcohol consumption and about half a million people on happy pills for a reason.
Channel 1, our main TV channel here, recently aired a documentary on three Danish girls who converted to Islam out of their own will, not because they got married or anything like that. They all had the same background, coming from broken homes, dealing with alcoholism and so forth – basically part of the legacy of the 1968 revolution we had across Europe. What these girls lacked was structure, and they found it in Islam because it regulates all aspects of your life: how you dress, what you eat, with whom you can socialize with, how to pray, how to interact as a wife and so on.
That is what the right-wing parties in Europe don’t understand. This is a spiritual battle. There is no political freedom without spiritual freedom. If you go around just forbidding things, like don’t wear the head cloth and so forth, it will not work. Our civilization will gradually disappear.
The only thing that can save Europe right now is a true spiritual, dare I say Christian, revival across the Continent. This played a significant role in the demise of communism in the Soviet Union and East Germany. The churches there provided hidden venues for people to congregate, express ideas and share their faith and hardships.
Since its inception Christianity was always about fighting evil with love, prayer and faith because these three are the key to freedom. And these are the values that the radical left and radical Islam do not tolerate, because of course both demand total obedience to the state and their conception of God, respectively.
ET: Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your courage. You deserve to be in the cover of a magazine, not on some government blacklist. Wish you all the best.
IT: Thank you.
A year later, in an editorial that drew the fury of progressives in Denmark, the country's immigration minister said "a significant group" of refugees "cheats, lies and abuses our trust" to soak the Danish government for additional benefits - or to cheat on exams that allow them to receive asylum status.
According to Inger Stojberg's editorial, which was published in the Danish BT tabloid, thousands of migrants pose as adolescents to receive the additional benefits that the state of Denmark bestows on unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the country. In fact, as many as two-thirds of the refugees admitted to Denmark have later been found to be older than the age they gave during their arrival. More from RT (translation theirs):
Another problem that Stojberg highlighted is the age of so-called minors among migrants, many of whom are believed to be grown men posing as adolescents. "We also see young people under the age of 18 who cheat their way into getting better treatment and more benefits," she stated, stressing that an unaccompanied minor costs over 500,000 kroner ($80,000) per year for the state. "In fact, two thirds of those whom we later age-tested proved to be older than they originally stated," she added.
Stojberg also cited Facebook Groups found online where refugees share answers to Danish language and culture tests that every migrant entering Denmark must take.
However, rather than inciting popular demand to have these loopholes closed once and for all; Stojberg's editorial, which she also posted on her Facebook page, triggered a backlash, with Danish citizens accusing her of "cheating" the Danish people by spreading lies and hate.
And now, less than a month later, Stojberg has gone one step further, calling for Muslims to take time off work during the fasting period of Ramadan, saying the practice is "dangerous for all of us".
As The Local reports, the comments from immigration and integration minister Inger Støjberg, a member of the centre-right Liberal Party, come after Ramadan, Islam's revered month in which Muslims around the world fast from dawn until dusk, began last week.
"I want to call on Muslims to take leave from work during the month of Ramadan to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society," Støjberg wrote in a column for the BT tabloid.
"I wonder if a religious order commanding observance to a 1,400-year-old pillar of Islam is compatible with the society and labour market that we have in Denmark in 2018."
She also said she feared the fasting could affect "safety and productivity," giving as an example bus drivers who have "neither had a drink nor eaten for more than 10 hours".
"This can be dangerous for all of us," she said.
"On the brink" indeed!!
Over the last 15 years, the country has tightened its immigration policies, insisting that migrants must learn the country's customs and language in order to adapt to the labor market.
And the government's immigration curbing policies are working: according to government data, more than 3,000 people applied for asylum in Denmark last year - a steep drop from the spring of 2016, when numbers were near their peak. Over the past three years, the country has taken in some 30,000 refugees, mostly Syrians, Eritreans and Afghans.