The Islamization of Copenhagen

Jews and gays warned to stay away from certain parts of the city.

Bit by bit, it’s getting worse.

In recent years, life in the city of Copenhagen has hardly been free of, shall we say, problems related to Islam. But for the most part, the worst of it has been confined to Muslim neighborhoods such as Nørrebro. And residents of Copenhagen have at least been able to console themselves that conditions in their city were nowhere near as bad as those right across the Øresund Bridge in the now notorious Swedish burg of Malmö.

Well, as an editorial in Jyllands-Posten acknowledged last week, “conditions such as those in Malmö…are beginning to appear in Copenhagen.”

In a news story that appeared on the same day as the editorial, Jyllands-Posten reported the latest example of these “conditions”: both the Israeli ambassador to Denmark, Arthur Avnon, and the head of Copenhagen’s Jewish community are now advising Jews in that city to stop wearing yarmulkes and Stars of David and speaking Hebrew loudly in public – even in neighborhoods that they think of as “safe.” Asked about this advice, Police Commissioner Lars-Christian Borg told Jyllands-Posten that Jews – and gays, too – should stay away from parts of the city where there is a recognized “risk of clashes and harassment.” (Nice euphemism for “Muslim neighborhoods,” that.)

The Jyllands-Posten editorial bleakly toted up other examples of what they described as the city’s increasing readiness to adapt to the ever-worsening situation in the Danish capital: Copenhagen’s Jewish school “looks like a small fortress,” supplied with an elaborate security system and police protection, a constant reminder to the children that there are people who wish to do them harm; the head of the Danish-Palestinian Friendship Society, who is also a leading figure in Denmark’s ruling Socialist People’s Party, recently opined that Hitler should have killed even more Jews than he did, and went unpunished and all but entirely uncriticized for it; Copenhagen’s mayor called on Jews not to display too many Israeli flags at a recent multicultural festival, an admonition that was generally regarded as sensible: “why pick unnecessary fights?” Why “provoke”? Once again proving itself to be morally head and shoulders above virtually every other major newspaper in Europe, Jyllands-Posten called on Danes to recognize just how dangerous it is to respond in a passive and accommodating way to Muslim hatred, and urged them to  stand up to it before it’s too late.

One person in Denmark who has stood up, in at least a small way, is a gay guy in his thirties named Jim Lyngvild. He works as a clothes designer and fashion commentator and in recent years has been a frequent guest on Danish TV talk shows and a participant in a number of Danish reality shows, including that country’s version of Survivor. These activities have made him a familiar face in his native land.  But one of the undesirable side effects of his recognizability, as the newspaper Fyens Stiftstidende reported last week, is that every time he walks along a pedestrian street in Copenhagen – or for that matter in Odense, a small city on the Danish island of Funen, near the rural village in which he lives – he finds himself being called “faggot” or “gay pig.” And as Fyens Stiftstidende put it, “it’s always the same people who scream at him.”

Simply put, Lyngvild never gets heckled by ethnic Danes. Or by immigrant-group members who are walking along by themselves. But he says that when a bunch of “second-generation immigrants” pass by him on the street – and this happens, he says, pretty much on a daily basis – “I can be sure that they’ll yell at me.” (Nowhere in Lyngvild’s article, incidentally, does the word Muslim or Islam appear; instead he follows what is now pretty much standard practice in the European media, which prefer terms like “second-generation immigrant” and “people with another ethnic background.”)

Until the other day, Lyngvild didn’t react to the daily harassment. In a way, he’d gotten used to it. He was brought up, he says, “to turn the other cheek.” Which is not to say he ever stopped despising and resenting this treatment by strangers. The idea of yelling such ugly things at somebody on the street is just beyond his comprehension.

But last Thursday he realized he’d had enough. “I came home from London and was walking through the train station in Odense. A group of second-generation immigrants yelled ‘faggots’ at me.” When he got to his house, he was still angry – so angry that he went on Facebook and, in an indiscreet moment, typed out a Danish word that translates roughly as “Paki pigs.” Shortly afterwards he thought better of it and removed the posting. By then, however, it had already attracted considerable attention – from, among others, the Danish police, who promptly threatened to charge him with racism.

He says he doesn’t care. “Of course I’m not racist. I’m just so tired of not being allowed to defend myself.” He’s also sick of the fact that while people from other cultures are allowed to declare their cultural pride, ethnic Danes are expected to “shut up” – for to say anything suggestive of pride in one’s Danish identity or in Danish culture can easily be interpreted these days as racism.  He’s not having it: “I am enormously proud of my heritage.  And I want to show it.”

In a Facebook posting about the Fyens Stiftstidende article, Lyngvild writes: “And I stand by every single word!!!” Some Danes who commented on the article on Facebook made it clear that, in their view, the police are right: with his indiscreet Facebook posting and his admission to feeling pride in his Danish heritage, Lyngvild has proven himself to be a racist. Others disagreed. One woman mentioned that her fifteen-year-old daughter is scared to go to school because certain classmates call her a whore. School authorities are indifferent, and any parent who dares to react is then labeled, yes, a racist. “But who is it that’s racist, when they think that all Danish girls are whores?”

Last week brought another story from Denmark of some folks who have stood up to all this in what may, again, be regarded as a small way. Of late, young Muslims have apparently stepped up efforts to extort money from business owners in Nørrebro. The idea, of course, is to collect tribute, or Jizya, from non-believers who are viewed as dhimmis living on Muslim turf.  In August, a woman whose bar in Nørrebro has been vandalized by young Muslims, courageously reported one such extortion attempt to the police, who ended up making an arrest. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, a group of young Muslims tried the same thing with Holy Cross Church, also in Nørrebro, telling the verger that the house of worship was in their territory and was obliged to fork over some dough. To their credit, church officials, like the bar owner, went to the cops. Not so much to their credit, the same church officials appear to be trying to cloak the entire episode in silence: members of the parish council have been advised not to speak to the media, and the dean of the church and local bishop also refused to comment.

The lesson, of course, as the editors of Jyllands-Posten obviously recognize, is a simple and familiar one: as Edmund Burke famously put it, all that’s necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. In Denmark, as elsewhere in the West today, alas, the good men – and women – who are daring to stand up to the evil of Islamization in even small ways are so rare that people write articles about them.

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