A young Danish psychologist, Nicolai Sennels, made news last year in Denmark after publishing a book entitled Among criminal Muslims. A psychologist’s experience from Copenhagen. He has worked for several years directly with young criminal Muslims in Copenhagen and has come to the conclusion that there are four myths concerning the successful integration of Muslim minorities.
At a conference on integration in Copenhagen, he provoked a legal injunction that nearly got him sacked for suggesting that present failed policies were misdirected. He claimed that Islamic culture plays a significant role concerning integration, crime and religious extremism. He emphasized that people from a Muslim culture “find it difficult, if not impossible, to create a successful life in Denmark.” In an interview in EuropeNews he says:
This statement was met with great resistance from Danish politicians and also my own boss from the youth prison. I was quite surprised since I thought that my point is obvious: some cultures fit better into Western societies than others. All of Europe is currently struggling to integrate Muslims but this endeavor seems to be impossible. According to the Danish police and the Danish Bureau of Statistics more than 70% of all crimes in the Danish capital are committed by Muslims. Our national bank recently published a report stating that a Muslim foreigner costs more than 2 million Danish kroner (300,000 euros) in federal social assistance on average, caused by the low participation in the work force. On top of this, we have to add many additional types of social welfare that unemployed people can receive in our country: expenses in connection with interpreters, special classes in school – 64% of school children with Muslim parents cannot read and write Danish properly after 10 years in a Danish school – social work, extra police etc.
Sennel’s book is to be translated into English this year. Whilst we in Australia believe that things are different here from Europe, the facts outlined by the courageous Sennels go a long way in explaining why at least some Australians are expressing a growing malaise about burkas. A surprising 85.7 percent of Australians want them banned in this country.
The debate in the media appears to want to bury or deliberately misunderstand the reasons for these growing attitudes toward Islam. The use of the word “Islamophobia” or phrases like “you are playing the race card” by leading ABC journalists who should know better, have the same distaste and function as words such as racist, or homophobe. Even the typical rebuttal from local Islamic personalities such as Susan Carland, proud of her “convict” and NZ roots, that her full head scarf is “just a piece of cloth”, belie the observation of husband Waleed Ali. “[My wife] has become a foreigner [in her own country] by virtue of the fact that she has become a Muslim.
It seems obvious that it is unintelligent to suggest that head scarves, burkas and nikabs are merely pieces of cloth, like baseball caps as a Melbourne ABC presenter tried to suggest. Identity is fundamental to the analysis by the Dane Nicolai Sennels, and it is surely essential reading to help us come to an informed understanding of an international phenomenon.