Denmark’s social democratic government wants to allow sermons in places of worship only in Danish from 2021. This is primarily intended to control and combat Islamist hate preachers. But the law also affects German and Greenlandic minorities who are angry and hope for an exception.
Compromise: simultaneous translation for Arabic
The new law is supposed to give more transparency and control for some Islamic communities, in which preaching is mostly in Arabic up to now. In Denmark there were repeated scandals with Islamist hate preachers who called for violence. How this law will be implemented in detail is not yet known. A compromise would be possible, according to which a sermon given in Danish is simultaneously translated into Arabic. This happens out of consideration for devout immigrants who do not speak Danish very well. It remains to be seen whether what the translators say will be checked.
Other parishes upset
Because the Danish constitution does not allow restrictions for just one religious community, German and other minority parishes in the country are also affected. They have also held their services in their native language so far. There is now great consternation: The Greenlanders, which belong to the Danish kingdom, are also protesting. The fact that their old colonial power Denmark wants to forbid them to worship in their language on Danish soil is viewed as very negative.
Right-wing populism as an example
With the Danes, however, the plan is well received. The socialist Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, made gains in the 2019 election with promises to pursue a strict policy on foreigners. It brought back former socialist voters who switched to the right-wing populist Danish People’s Party (DF) because of the lax migration policy. To be credible, Frederiksen has to keep her promises now. But other parties are also increasingly orienting themselves towards the right-wing populists’ course, trying to win back voters.