Low-income immigrant neighborhoods in Copenhagen and other cities in Denmark are considered “ghettos” by the government and kids as young as 1 there are forced to take “Danish values” classes away from their parents.
The “ghetto parents” and “ghetto children” who live in these areas are overwhelmingly Muslim migrants, according to The New York Times. And by the time these children turn 1-year-old, their “assimilation” into Danish culture begins.
The government is currently pushing to add a new series of laws labeled the “ghetto package” to be imposed on this group — which lives in some 25 areas across the country. The Danes believe that if those families don’t integrate on their own volition, they should be forced under the law.
At 12-months-old, kids are detached from their parents’ sides for 25 hours a week when they’re expected to attend “Danish values” classes on the national language and religious holidays like Christmas and Easter. If the parents refuse, they face the possibility of being kicked off social welfare benefits.
To compare, the average Danish child living outside the “ghetto” doesn’t necessarily have to enroll in school until the age of six.
This contrast is in line with the Danish government’s increasingly sub-human vernacular used to describe Muslim immigrants.
In January, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen suggested that those living in the ghettos might “reach out their tentacles onto the streets” and spread violence. In the same speech, he blamed them for the supposed “cracks” that “have appeared on the map of Denmark” thanks to the ghettos.
The “package” of new rules consists of 22 in total, The Times reported, which were first unveiled in March. Some still need to come to a vote but the majority of them passed.
A rejected proposal, deemed too radical, suggested that all “ghetto children” should have to stay in their homes after 8 p.m. — a law that would be enforced via ankle bracelets around the leg of each child.
But others currently under consideration include the banning of “re-education trips.” This would prevent immigrant parents from having their kids return to their country of origin for long periods of time, effectively hindering the kids’ new “schooling, language and well-being,” according to the Danish government. The punishment for any rule-breaking parent could carry a four-year prison sentence.
Authorities are also trying to win the ability to fine and imprison immigrants at double the standard rate for common crimes if the offense is committed by someone who lives in one of the 25 ghettos, if the person has no or low-income, or if he or she is uneducated or considered someone of a “non-Western background.”
“Some will wail and say, ‘We’re not equal before the law in this country,’ and ‘Certain groups are punished harder,'” justice minister Soren Pape Poulsen said at a political gathering, according to The Times, “but that’s nonsense.
“To me this is about, no matter who lives in these areas and who they believe in, they have to profess to the values required to have a good life in Denmark.”
But not everyone in the Danish government is on-board with this othering rhetoric. A Social Democrat whose electorate includes a neighborhood called Tingbjerg — a ghetto in the eyes of her colleagues — sees the anesthetized attitude towards this community as dangerous and echoing Nazi sentiments.
“We call them ‘ghetto children, ghetto parents,’ it’s so crazy,” parliament member Yildiz Akdogan told The Times. “It is becoming a mainstream word, which is so dangerous. People who know a little about history, our European not-so-nice period, we know what the word ‘ghetto’ is associated with.”
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