​Renouncing Islam: Danish anti-immigration party suggest ‘grotesque’ program

Reuters / Nils Meilvang / Scanpix Denmark
The Danish People's Party has proposed a controversial nationwide program of assisting Muslims who want to renounce their religion. However, the ruling coalition wants the Danish state to distance itself from religious issues.

The opposition Danish People’s Party (DF), which according to a recent poll has 19.6 percent of voter support, has proposed that the Danish government could offer help to those Muslims who would like to abandon their religion but are afraid of threats and backlash from Islamist fanatics.

“We have seen many examples of people wanting to leave Islam but having a hard time doing it or not daring to do it because they fear reprisals from certain groups within the Muslim communities of Denmark. This is a way in which we can begin doing something about it,” the DF immigration spokesperson Martin Henriksen told Politiken, as cited by the Local.

Henriksen stressed the program is not going to be obtrusive and will only offer help to those who request it – those who “live a double life because they don’t dare to leave the religion.”

“People shouldn’t directly be offered an exit. One should make the decision oneself. And if one decides that they no longer want to be there, there should be a place to go to get support,” Politiken cited Henriksen as saying.

”One of our time's great challenges is the threat from Islamism and the pressure on freedom rights that have built up over many years,” Martin Henriksen said earlier.

READ MORE: Danish Islamists refuse to deradicalize, insist Danes change their values

The idea of such a program has found a degree support among Venstre, Denmark’s primary opposition party.

“We should help the young people who are repressively forced to remain in an environment they don’t want to be a part of. It is precisely in these kinds of situations that the power of the state can go in and help,” Venstre spokesman Martin Geertsen told Politiken, stressing that the DF should “find some money for it.”

Denmark’s government coalition of Social Democrats and Social Liberals (Radikale) parties called Henriksen’s idea “grotesque” and “un-Danish.”

“We have freedom of religion in this country. And that means that politicians should not declare one religion better or worse than another. To make special initiatives aimed at particular religions is very un-Danish,” Trine Bramsen, spokeswoman for the Social Democrats’, told Politiken.

The DF has recently also supported the idea of ‘Mohammed cartoons lessons,’ and compulsory studies of the Charlie Hebdo related crisis and its aftermath in all the country’s schools. The DF insists it should be done in religious studies.

“If you live in Denmark you should also be able to tolerate seeing the drawings,” party spokesman Alex Ahrendtsen told the daily Berlingske daily newspaper.

READ MORE: Mohammed cartoons class: Danish politicians want Charlie Hebdo taught in schools

Today, approximately 250,000 Muslims live in Denmark.