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Danish ‘ghetto plan’ raises concern

The approval in recent months of pro-integration laws in Denmark has prompted fresh debate over discrimination against Muslims in the country—a topic that some researchers say has received far too little attention.

“Attitudes towards immigration and Islam have hardened during the last 10 years,” said Stig Hjarvard, a professor of media, cognition and communication at the University of Copenhagen. Issues of integration and migration are high on the research agenda in Denmark, he says, but he questions whether this feeds into debates and decision-making. “Clearly there’s a right-wing populist stance on this, but there’s also a kind of enlightenment, secular discourse.”

The Danish government’s self-described “ghetto plan”, published in March, includes harsher punishments for people in specific neighbourhoods with high numbers of immigrants and compulsory daycare from age one for their children. A ban on full-face coverings in public places that came into force in August has also been a focal point of debate.

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