Saturday, April 16 2005 @ 07:09 AM Central Daylight Time
Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II claimed that Islam poses a global threat and urged government to show no tolerance toward the Muslim minority in the north European country, reported the Telegraph on Friday, April 15.
“We have to show our opposition to Islam and we have to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on us because there are some things for which we should display no tolerance,” the queen said in an official biography published on Thursday, April 14.
The queen told her biographer Annelise Bistrup that Islam is posing a major challenge to the whole world which requires taking serious measures to face it.
“We are being challenged by Islam these years - globally as well as locally.
“It is a challenge we have to take seriously. We have let this issue float about for too long because we are tolerant and lazy.”
Queen Margrethe, who turns 65 on Saturday, April 16, said the country could have handled “this challenge a bit better, if we had realized what we were up against”.
The monarch who has ascended the throne since 1972, wields no political power in the north European country but does occasionally give comments on political issues.
Queen Margrethe said she was feeling frightened from Muslim “extremists” who have dedicated their life only for religion, Reuters said.
“There is also something frightening about such a totality which is also a part of Islam.”
She stressed that certain response must be shown “and sometimes one must run the risk of being labeled in a less flattering way. Because there are certain things with which one should not be tolerant.”
The monarch said there is “something impressive about people for whom religion imbues their existence, from dusk to dawn, from cradle to grave.”
The Danish government announced last year plans to curb the activities of “radical” religious leaders, a measure seen as specifically targeting imams.
The rules oblige religious leaders to be financially self-sufficient, speak Danish and respect Western values or risk being declared persona non grata.
The monarch said immigrants in the Nordic country should learn the Danish language in order to easily integrate into society.
She maintained “it is wise to make demands on the language. We should not be content with living next to each other. We should rather live together.”
Many newcomers do not learn Danish and unemployment rates among them is still much higher than among Danes, as are crime rates.
Immigrants make up about 8% of Denmark's 5.4 million -- about a third of them come from other EU countries or North America.
Among the immigrants is Margrethe's daughter-in-law, the very popular Crown Princess Mary, who is from Australia.
But Denmark has cracked down on migration in the past three years and the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party, an ally of the center-right government, has pushed through laws making it harder to bring in foreign spouses or qualify for asylum.
Danish Muslims - estimated at 170,000 or around 3 per cent of Denmark's 5.4 million - sounded the alarms that much more restrictive steps would be taken by the government in future.
Islam is Denmark's second largest religion after the Lutheran Protestant Church, which is actively followed by four-fifths of the country's population.