The Jewish community reported
2003, mostly threats and provocations, and including two serious incidents. Most occurrences appeared to be
directly connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The link between
antisemitism and anti-Zionism was debated continuously in the Danish media
the jewish community
Denmark was the first Scandinavian country
that permitted Jews to settle there when they arrived in the 17th century. Jews
have enjoyed civic equality since 1814 and citizenship since 1849. Today there
are 7,000 Jews in Denmark, out of a total population of 5.25
million. Most of the community is concentrated in Copenhagen, but smaller communities exist in Odense and Aarhus. About one-third are Polish Jews (or their children) who
found sanctuary in the country after the 1968 antisemitic campaign in communist
Poland. The central communal organization
is the Mosaiske Troessamfund. The community operates only one synagogue,
the Great Synagogue completed in 1833, as well as the
Caroline Jewish Day School (established in 1805). Joedisk Orientering is
the leading Jewish publication.
political parties and extra-parliamentary groups
The Danish National Socialist
Party (DNSB) took advantage of the heated debate on the place of Muslims in
Danish society by attempting to recruit new members in areas where Muslims are
concentrated. However, it remains a very small and marginalized group. In
November government subsidies to the DNSB radio station, Radio Oasis, were
Extremist Islamic Groups
An investigation of the Muslim organisation Al-Aqsa, which
collects money purportedly for humanitarian aid,
was still underway in 2003. The investigation was begun after a new anti-terror law (paragraph 114A) was
passed in 2002. Al-Aqsa is the Danish chapter of Al-Aqsa International
Foundation, designated a terrorist group by the US authorities in May.
On 5 October Politiken
published an article on ‘Imad
Yarkas, a member of al-Qa‘ida living in Spain, with alleged links in Denmark. One such contact, Said Mansour, had his residence searched by the Danish police and was arrested for
possessing a loaded weapon. On 25 August Jyllands Posten reported that, according to the Police Intelligence
Division (PET), Said Mansour was also connected to al-Qa‘ida’s sprititual leader in Europe,
Abu Qatada. Another Muslim Danish resident, Omar Ma‘ruf, was sentenced to death in the
country of his birth, Morocco, for terrorism. PET has been closely examining the recruitment of Jihad warriors in
Danish mosques. A 46-year-old Algerian living in
Aarhus (Denmark’s 2nd largest city) was arrested for bank robbery and for
sending money to the Algerian FIS (Islamic Salvation Front).
The minister of justice
asked the state prosecutor to decide whether or not the fundamentalist,
trans-national Hizb ut-Tahrir (HUT) could be banned in Denmark. This
followed the organization’s loss of its
appeal on 14
March to revoke the 2002 court decision determining that it was guilty of
racism for handing out flyers calling for the murder of Jews “wherever you find
them.” HUT leader Fadi Abdul Latif,
claimed that his own conviction was not about racism at all but about silencing
those who would criticize Israel (see ASW 2002/3). In May 2004 the State
Prosecutor stated that there was no basis in Danish law for prohibiting HUT.
The Jewish community reported 36 antisemitic acts in 2003, mostly threats and
provocations. Many appeared to be directly connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Violence, Vandalism,Threats and Harassment
The two most serious incidents were an assault on a rabbi, on 13 March, at a train
station in Odense, Denmark’s third
largest city. A group of ten Arabs attacked the rabbi kicking him in the
stomach. After other passengers and railway employees intervened, halting the
attack, the perpetrators made a ‘slit throat’ gesture. In the second incident, a bomb
threat was received by a kosher butcher shop on 28 Sepember. The bomb squad cordonned
off the area and removed four pipes with protruding wires, which were found not
to contain explosives.
A politician from the Radical Left Party,
Kim Sejr, formed an organization at the beginning of December
aimed at passing legislation forbidding the brit mila (Jewish
circumcision). Further, the chairman of the Ethical Council, Ole Hartling,
warned at the end of January that circumcision is an assault on babies which
should be outlawed. The chairman of Parliament’s Foodstuff Committee, Christian
H. Hansen, from the Danish Peoples’ Party, called for a ban on all forms of
ritual slaughter in Denmark. There were no public protests from the Jewish
community, in keeping with its long tradition of keeping a low profile.
A scandal arose
in the Danish boy scout movement when it emerged that they had played ‘Jew hunting’ at a camp in
January. The game included wearing yellow patches and swastika patches. The
incident was largely swept under the carpet, with leaders of the movement being
told that such games could not be tolerated.
weeks in January a chat room in the leading Danish newspaper Politiken
carried calls for the murder of Jews, providing the names of six prominent
Jews. The writer, who called himself ‘Theodore Roosevelt’, wrote “Death to Bent Melchior [formerly
chief rabbi of Denmark]”; “You have
no right to exist”; and “Jews are legitimate targets”. When a complaint was
made to the police, Arab writers claimed that their freedom of speech was being
between antisemitism and anti-Zionism/anti-Israelism was continually debated in the
Danish press throughout 2003. In July stickers resembling the Israeli flag were
posted in Copenhagen. They contained the word NAZIONISME?, in
which the letter O was replaced by a Jewish star. Moreover, during the screening of the anti-Israel film The Occupied, made
by Danish journalist Joergen Flindt Petersen, there was a telephone call in
which the person threatened to kill all the Jews.
headline “The World’s Strongest Lobby,” a man called Kjeld Poulsen wrote in
Jyllands Posten on 8 March that no American president with an anti-Israel position could be elected because Jews
“control a very large percentage of the American press as well
as… radio and television.”
International Prayer Day in March, a private organization, Danish Church Emergency Aid, issued texts to be read during
describing the serious situation in Lebanon, for which they blamed ‘the Jews’.
Job, a private left-wing organization, which mobilizes high school students to
raise money for needy regions, and which has often taken an anti-Israel stance, joined the Boycott
Israel Campaign initiated by the Special Workers Union in 2002 (see ASW 2002/3).
responses to antisemitism
The overtly racist and antisemitic
local radio station Radio Holger lost its license to broadcast.
Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Copenhagen synagogue on the 60th
anniversary of the Danish Jews’ escape to Sweden during World War II.