How Denmark is discriminating its Muslim population

A bizarre new list to categories Muslims based on their countries of origin is at the heart of what critics call an attempt to further discriminate against the community.

Two years ago, Denmark’s former Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye wanted to find out if there was a connection between where people came from and how they appeared in the ministry’s crime and employment statistics.

This led to Tesfaye overseeing the creation of a new and unusual statistical measure, MENAPT: Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, which is different from the classification for non-Western countries already in use by Statistics Denmark — the central authority collecting, compiling and publishing statistics on the Danish society.

MENAPT is an extension of an existing controversial term MENA (Middle East and North Africa), an European construct to club together nations of tens of millions in groups for their own foreign policy needs.

Dr Amani Hassani, a sociologist who writes on anti-Muslim racism, says the worry is that the MENAPT category will become part of the evaluation of citizenship applications.

“Some politicians who are part of the citizenship approval committee have in past years admitted that they vote against applicants who originate from Muslim majority countries,” she said.

European Islamophobia Report 2021, released late last month, where Hassani authored a chapter on Denmark, highlighted in reference to the MENAPT list how structural barriers for Muslims increased through new policies and legislation in Denmark.

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