Copenhagen: A majority of Danes fear Islam
is an obstacle for social cohesion, despite one in two
believing that immigration is positive for Danish society,
according to a study published on Tuesday.
In a survey by the Ramboell institute, some 54.9 per cent
believe that Islam hinders social harmony, while 39.9 per cent
disagree and 5.2 per cent did not comment.
Yet 49.7 per cent of respondents believe that immigration
since the 1960s -- and the integration of immigrants, refugees
and their offspring -- have been generally positive for Danish
society. Some 42.4 per cent believe immigrants have been
negative for society and 5.9 per cent abstained from comment.
"People find it difficult to discern between culture and
religion and see honour crimes, forced marriages as a part of
Islam," Imran Shah, spokesman for the Danish Islamic community
told the conservative Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which
published the results of the survey.
He said this attitude means Islam is therefore seen as a
problem for Denmark`s liberal society.
The results of the study, which interviewed 970 people
from August 9-12, were published in Jyllands-Posten as part of
a long series on immigration.
Notably, it exposes that people aged 26 and over are more
skeptical of Islam, compared to those aged between 18-25.
The ruling conservative-liberal coalition, which came
into power in November 2001, backed by the extreme right
Danish People`s Party, has built a restrictive immigration
policy to limit the influx of refugees and immigrants.
According to the survey, 42 per cent of Danes are
satisfied with this policy, while 29.2 per cent deemed it too
rigid and 21.4 per cent said it is too flexible.