Thursday, February 19, 2009

Youths, Crime, and Islam

Open debate in the press about important issues is one of the most refreshing things about public life in Denmark. Here in the USA we have a press that is theoretically free, but which self-censors to the point of parody. Major American media do not stray past a certain line of decorum — for example, the Motoons were never published in any significant media outlet in the USA.

In much of the rest of Europe, public discussion is both constrained by law and tightly bound by a stifling social consensus. But Denmark is different, and topics that are taboo in most parts of the West are routinely aired in the Danish press.

The article below is from Tuesday’s MetroXpress, and was kindly translated for Gates of Vienna by Henrik Ræder Clausen:

Islam causes youth to go astray

New book blames Islam for immigrant crime rates being significantly above the Danish average

by Thomas Ambrosius

SønderbroIslam inhibits integration and is causes a higher frequency of crime — but the municipality of Copenhagen turns a blind eye to this fact. This is the controversial message in the new Danish book Blandt Kriminelle Muslimer (“Amongst Criminal Muslims”), which will be published next week (February 24th, 2009). The author of the book is psychologist Nicolai Sennels, who until last year was working at the secure youth institution Sønderbro in Copenhagen, Denmark. Nicolai Sennels criticizes the municipality for a policy of too much carrot and too little stick in efforts directed at youngsters with a Muslim background.

“Even though it’s a taboo to mention it, it is a fact that culture and religion makes a difference. Criminal youth with a Muslim background perceive the Danish approach in secure institutions, schools, and other institutions to be weak. The Danish approach is one that encourages self-reflection, but they do not understand this. They get the impression that they are not punished for their actions, and this causes them to lose respect for the system,” he says, and blames the way children are raised in Muslim families, which emphasize consequence, tradition, and religion.

He hopes that his book will open the eyes among politicians and in the social system. Integration Advisor Manu Sareen partly agrees with Nicolai Sennels:
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“Social circumstances may explain the main part of the differences in crime levels, but culture also has significance. For instance, many immigrant parents permit their boys to be out in the streets late at night, where they cause destruction and commit other crime. It is our duty as a society to teach these parents to raise their children properly,” says Manu Sareen, who also states that Nicolai Sennels makes an untenable correlation between Islam and crime.

Jan Andreasen (Social Democrats), member of the Committee for Integration in the municipality of Copenhagen, acknowledges that cultural problems have been neglected for years:

“But during the latest three years we have broken the negative trend, and we are quite aware that we may need a firmer approach in the secure institutions.”

Nicolai Sennels rejects that the trend has reversed:

“The fact is that in Copenhagen the percentage of immigrants among young criminals has risen from 56 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2008, he says.

Sidebar Quote:

“The municipality of Copenhagen has not comprehended that this group of youth with Muslim backgrounds needs a different approach than those with a Western background.”

— Nicolai Sennels, psychologist

Sidebar Factbox:

Criminal immigrants

In 2005, 22 percent of all males of immigrant descent aged 20-29 were convicted one or more crimes. The corresponding number for ethnic Danish men of the same age was 9.8 percent. Around 70 percent of the inmates of secure youth institutions have non-Danish ethnic background.


Henrik R Clausen said...

Thanks for posting, Baron.

It bears mention that MetroXpress is a for-free newspaper with a circulation of 227,000 daily copies. This article was not tucked away on page 37, it was blasted over the front page with a big headline.

Related, the news of Pakistan implementing Sharia law was on top of that page. We have real media here :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I do hope an English translation is released soon, as I'd very much like to read this book.

Henrik R Clausen said...

AFAIK, no English translation is currently planned. I'll read it soon and evaluate if it's feasible or if it's too Denmark-centrik.

babs said...

It seems that the Dutch are being offered informationfrom all fronts of the media.
When will they rise up?
They allowed the Jews to "face it alone" during the recent Gaza conflict. When will they rise up against their own circumstances?

Baron Bodissey said...


These are the Danes, not the Dutch. Don't confuse them, or the Danes will get annoyed (although the Dutch may be flattered).

The Danes did not (and do not) leave the Jews to "face it alone".
Denmark has a very low tolerance for anti-Semitism.

Zenster said...

“The municipality of Copenhagen has not comprehended that this group of youth with Muslim backgrounds needs a different approach than those with a Western background.”

As others here have mentioned; Perhaps these Muslim youths would be more at home with the sort of punishments doled out by their own preferred shari'a law.

A lashing here, a stoning there and I'm sure they'd all straighten right up.

As always, Islam begs to be paid in its own coin.

Czechmade said...

They are homesick! Let them go, be human.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Word from Nicolai Sennels is that the book should translate into English (or other languages) quite easily.

Then it'd mainly be a question of finding a suitable and willing publisher for it.

Sagunto said...


"These are the Danes, not the Dutch. Don't confuse them, or the Danes will get annoyed (although the Dutch may be flattered)."

The mistake is understandable and as a Dutchie, I'm very fond of Danish folk. Moreover, studies suggest that - apart from a more free market orientation among the Dutch, we and the Danes share many cultural traits (more than e.g. Dutch and Germans). I am, however, slightly at a loss why Danes - as a people - should be annoyed when a geographically challenged contributor from (?) accidentally confuses them with the Dutch. As to the flattering part, as citizen of Amsterdam, I don't feel it and I can sincerely vouch for my fellow Swamplanders that they probably won't either, since there's no need or cause for it ;-)

Kind regs from Amsterdam (Holland, Lowlands, the Netherlands),