Danish Party distributes ‘anti-refugee’ spray to women, what could possibly go wrong?

A large group of migrants, mainly from Syria, walk on a highway towards the north of Denmark © Bax Lindhardt
Non-European immigrants are highly over-represented in Danish rape statistics, Daniel Carlsen, founder and chairman of the anti-immigrant Danes' Party, told RT. Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the UK’s Ramadhan Foundation provides a counter view.

A Danish anti-immigrant party has been handing out cans of so-called "refugee" spray in a town in the south of the country. They describe the cans of hair spray as a legal way for people to protect themselves from any threats coming from refugees. They offer hair spray because pepper spray is prohibited in the country.

The stunt hasn't gone unnoticed with a group of pro-refugee activists planning to retaliate with a "hug a refugee" campaign in a number of locations. On Facebook they said they need to respond to the hateful rhetoric of the Party of the Danes by accepting donations for asylum centers.

Founder of the Danes Party Daniel Carlsen, and Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation join RT to debate the issue.

RT: What was the point of this stunt? What were you trying to achieve?

Daniel Carlsen: First of all, we wanted to shed light on two important topics in Denmark. Pepper spray is illegal in Denmark and we think that it is right for women to feel safe on the streets. It is not the right of violators to feel safe. We wanted to shed light on the topic about pepper spray, we want to make it legal in Denmark and we also want, as an activist political party, we want to show legal ways to have some alternative, and our ‘asylum’ spray is a legal alternative to the pepper spray. And in this discussion we wanted to shed light on the fact that non-European immigrants are highly over-represented in the rape statistics in Denmark. And as we could see …a lot of people have a need to have something to protect themselves, and that is something that should be worrying us. People do accept these asylum sprays because they know we have problem.

RT: What was your reaction when you heard this story? Do you think Daniel has a point?

Mohammed Shafiq: The important thing is that if there are criminals in any part of society then it is up to the police and the judicial system in those countries to protect its citizens. It is not up to vigilantism, for hatred, not up to racism. Daniel and his party is a racist political party that is engaged in the most horrific demonization of refugees. Every hour nine children are killed in Syria. These are people fleeing persecution and violence, and Denmark with its rich history of providing shelter - as the rest of the European countries - is what makes our societies great. Is there a problem with a small amount of people involved in criminality? Yes, there is. But actually why isn’t Daniel targeting the perpetrators of rape conducted by fellow Danish men and many young boys in his country? How can we just focus on asylum seekers? Because he is only interested in one type of crime and that is being committed by minorities. If he is really serious about tackling the issue of rape and protection of young women, then he would be targeting all rapists, not just rapists from one particular community.

RT: It is a fair point, Daniel, if your concern is everybody’s welfare, then you shouldn’t be targeting only refugees.

DC: Of course, it is a fair point. One should be also able to use this spray on other people than migrants – and they are migrants, not refugees. But we have a very dangerous situation on Europe right now. You may talk that it is only a small minority. But it is simply not true. We have a great majority of Muslims in Europe who are in favor of Sharia. That’s a fact…Non-Europeans are highly over-represented, and it is the same in all European countries…

RT: Many people in Europe do feel concerned at the number of migrants that are coming into their own countries. We can’t pretend that there is not a problem.

MS: There are issues, and there are problems, and they’ve got to be dealt with more sensitively. These are refugees from Syria, from Yemen and parts of Africa that are feeling persecution. The racist narrative that Daniel has been talking about is basically “Europe is just for white people.” Well, I’m sorry, sir, Muslims, Africans, Asians have been part of the fabric of European society for generations. And Europe is at its best, Denmark is at its best, the United Kingdom, Christian communities are its best when they welcome refugees and those feeling persecution. If Daniel is really serious about tackling violence against women then why is he just targeting the women who have been attacked by migrants and refugees…?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.