Denmark party targets Muslims

Immigration by Muslims main focus of election campaign of ruling coalition's ally.

    Rasmussen called elections five months early to take advantage of a flourishing economy [EPA]

    The posters have not provoked any backlash.
     

    Another shows veiled women under the headline: "Follow the country's traditions and customs or leave."
     
    Xenophobic strain
     
    Therkel Straede, a Holocaust expert at a Danish University, compared the party's tactics to those used by the Nazis during World War II.
     
    "The DPP is not Nazi, but its ideology, with its xenophobic extreme nationalism, resembles Nazism, since it tries to stamp out a minority," he said.
     
    After Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister, scheduled snap elections for November 13, the DPP presented a series of law proposals aimed at Muslim immigrants.
     
    These include bans on wearing the Muslim headscarf in public places and on special worship areas for Muslims in the workplace.
     
    Rasmussen called the elections 15 months earlier to take advantage of Denmark's flourishing economy and the creation of a new centre-right party, New Alliance, which could widen his parliamentary majority.
     
    Danish values
     
    Peter Skaarup, the DPP’s deputy head of party, said: "There is every reason to tighten the screws, because Danish values are under pressure."
     
    In a third poster, the party makes reference to the crisis sparked by the publication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper two years ago.
     
    The row that followed led to attacks on Danish embassies, burning of the country’s flag and boycotts of its products across the Muslim world.
     
    The poster shows a hand drawing the prophet over the words: "Freedom of expression is Danish. Censorship is not. Defend Danish values."
     
    During February 2005 general election, the DPP won 13.3% of votes, making it the third-largest party in parliament and having a significant influence on Rasmussen's Liberal-Conservative coalition government.
     
    Neck and neck
     
    Opinions polls published on Saturday showed that the centre-right coalition and the centre-left opposition were neck and neck.
     
    A Gallup poll showed that the Liberal-Conservative coalition and the far-right would together win 84 seats in parliament, compared to 82 for the centre-left coalition headed by the Social Democrats.
     
    A Megafon poll

    showed the centre-left coalition with 87 seats against 83 for the ruling centre-right.

     
    A total of 90 seats are needed for a majority in the 179-seat parliament.
     
    If he is re-elected, Rasmussen could find himself in the difficult position of building a majority comprising both the far-right DPP and the New Alliance - two parties with opposed views.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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