What Does It Mean to be Danish? The Integration of Muslims in Denmark in a Historical Perspective

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    Taking as its point of departure a description of Muslim immigration patterns to Denmark, this article argues that a normalization of Muslim presence in Denmark has been taking place during the period 2001-2016. The article discusses the Cartoon Controversy 2005-06 and shifts in integration policies and argues that the political initiatives are preoccupied with values and national identity characteristics unrelated to the simultaneous developments taking place amongst young Muslims in Denmark. It would seem that integration involving increased political participation and activism and trust in institutions amongst Muslims in Denmark is forming a contrast to political discussions of Danishness. Also, a closer look at politicians’ attempts at defining ‘Danishness’ reveals that no aspects specific to Denmark are included. Rather, Danishness is related to overall liberal rights and freedoms such as democracy, gender equality and freedom of speech. By focusing on such values, legislation and other political initiatives point to ‘the problematic other’ rather than actual activities and developments on the ground.
    Translated title of the contributionDanske muslimer og betydningen af integration : Samtidige debatter i historisk perspektiv
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)2149-2165
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


    • Cartoon Controversy
    • Danish Muslims
    • Denmark
    • Integration
    • Muslim Immigration


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