Saturday, February 11, 2006


Denmark is a Christian country, and the official religion is the Evangelical Lutheran Church, established in their Constitution as the established Church of Denmark. 85.4% of the population in 1998 were members of that church. Alongside the established church various other Christian churches are represented in Denmark and have been accorded the status of officially recognised religious communities. These are (in order of size)

  • Roman Catholic Church with c. 35,000 members
  • Danish Baptist Church with c. 5500 adult members
  • Pentecostal churches with c. 5000 members
  • Jehovah's Witnesses with ca. 15,000 members
  • Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) with c. 4500 members....
During the last decades of the 20th century, the largest of the non-Christian communities has been dominated by Muslim immigrants; on the basis of the number of immigrants from Muslim countries now resident in Denmark, the number is estimated to be c. 119,000 (1998), made up of a number of mutually independent Islamic communities.

Despite being definitely a minority religion, NeanderNews revealed that Copenhagen kids only [used to] get Halal prepared meats in their school hot lunchs(!). The ‘Committee for Education and Youth’ (very scary) decided in 2001 to only use the halal meat for the hot lunch dishes.

Apparently now this will be changing. Below are excerpts from a translated Jyllands-Posten article dated February 7, 2006 (link in Danish):
Showdown about halal-meat in schoolchildren’s lunch

By LAURITS NANSEN and MARIA L√úTZEN (Jyllands-Posten Copenhagen)

Students in the Copenhagen council schools shall no longer be denied the choice of pork when they buy their daily hot lunch in the school’s canteen. Out of consideration to pupils with a moslem background there is presently only halal-butchered meat - and no pork at all - in the daily hot meals which are offered at a price of 15 kroner (appr. 2,35 US $) in the canteens of the 49 schools run by the council of Copenhagen.
I am shocked that they used to restrict meals for all children just to accomodate the desires of a small minority. This shows what cowards the Europeans are; they probably caved in to Muslim demands for fear of violence, but seeing the world wide violence because of a few cartoons, the Danish seem to be growing a backbone.
A political majority in the council’s committee for children and youngsters now demand that porkchops and meatballs be introduced on the menu.
How about a nice Danish Ham
“We need to see more freedom of choice in the canteens. It’s fine with me that the ethnic minorities can have halal-meat but those who want pork should find it available.
That is very reasonable. According to our State Department10% of Danish exports are in agricultural products (of which pork and pork products cover 48%)
When it comes to food there are many minorities and they should all be accomodated”, says Jan Andreasen, spokesman on educational issues for the [ruling] Social Democrats. He suggests that some days of the week there will be dishes of pork, vegetarian meals or fish. He makes it clear that he is not opposed to halal butchering which means that the throat of the animal is slit while it is still alive but unconscious.
I wonder what PETA would think about that.
Liberal and conservative politicians are in favor of pork and other non-halal dishes being on offer in the canteens every day. “We suggest two or three different meals to choose among in order that both Christians, Jews and Moslems are accomodated,” says Pia Allerslev, council member from Venstre, the liberal party of Denmark.
That only sounds reasonable.
Conservative council leader Majbritt Mamsen would rather that no halal-meat at all was served. “It just is not right that my own and other children should eat food which has been processed in accordance with the rituals of a foreign religion.
Good point.
As a minimum we ought to be able to offer pork or other sorts of non-halal meat to the children of non-moslem background”, Majbritt Mamsen says.
Judith Apter Klinghoffer reported Some of today's (2-9 2006) articles and debate in Jyllands Posten are about food served in all public schools in Copenhagen, by far the largest city in Denmark. And why would that be interesting ? Its interesting because its a fact, that all food served is "halal" (that is "food allowed" in Islam).

Why is that so ? Well, approximately 30% of all the children in the public schools of Copenhagen have a "foreign background", most of them Muslim.
That still means that a 70% majority is caving to the demands of a 30% minority.
So in a country that is one of the worlds leading producers and exporters of high quality pork-meat - we don't serve pork chops to any of the children, just out of good will towards the Muslim parents. . . .

The reason why so many of the children have a Muslim background, is that Denmark received many immigrants from the mid-80s till now. The Muslim immigrants concentrate in the large cities and they have a birth rate much higher than Danes. Before that, there weren't many Muslims in Denmark compared with today. So the presence of this new group in our society has raised some questions.

Some examples of the previous debate in Denmark:
  • In my town Muslims suggested to close the cafeteria of the local swimming-bath for men, at times when Muslim women were bathing - because the cafeteria has windows to the swimming-bath...
  • A Muslim woman took a company to court because she was fired for insisting on wearing a Muslim head scarf at work, which was not company policy.
  • Some teachers say they have problems with parents, that wont allow their children to draw, go to camp, participating in birthday-celebrations and so on.
  • Danish Imams have said things like: Women that are not "covered" - can blame themselves for being raped. Quite disturbing in the context, that there has been some cases of young Muslim men group raping young Danish women.
    I hope they were prosecuted by Danish law, and not Sharia law
  • Some public schools have made special bathing-facilities at the gym for Muslim children, since they "cant" take a bath together with the other children.
So the issue here in Denmark, from my point of view, is about setting limits for, how far a religious minority can set the agenda on everything it comes into contact with - in a country that is highly secular and where freedom of religion, speech, sex and other subjects is practically total.

The drawings were just part of the whole background and debate. Most Danes are not very religious (if at all) and I am sure that half the Danish population are wondering why anyone could get offended - at all.


bernie said...

I linked to your post from Converting to Islam is not enough

Don Singleton said...

Thank you. That is a very complete list. I will be checking your blog out frequently and doing trackbacks.