While Danish Integration Minister Inger Støjberg of the Liberal Party created a nation-wide hullaballoo with her recent opinion piece about Ramadan being dangerous for society, the Danish People's Party (DF) has taken it a step further, suggesting that all Muslims who cannot perform jobwise during Ramadan should be fired, the Jyllands-Posten daily reported.
In her divisive opinion piece, Støjberg ventured that Muslims should take a leave from their jobs during Ramadan, because the practice of abstaining from food and drink during the daytime allegedly poses a safety risk for the rest of society.
By contrast, the anti-immigrant People's Party doesn't believe Muslims should be entitled to a holiday for religious reasons.
"Although many Muslims observe Ramadan, they must still take care of their work, and children should attend their schools. If they cannot figure it out, they should be fired or sanctioned. We have to report them to social services," Martin Henriksen argued.
According to Henriksen, Støjberg's suggestion is a slippery slope, which may lead to Denmark accepting Muslim holidays on an equal footing with Danish ones, a perspective he finds "totally unacceptable."
"I do not accept the premise that one has to fast or die trying just because it's Ramadan. Religion is a private matter, and you must keep it to yourself. If it goes beyond your job, then you shouldn't be able to have that job. The minister should have sent this signal instead of calling for a holiday for those who can't work," Henriksen said.
The DF spokesman called Ramadan a "problem in Danish society" and ventured that Støjberg's commentary only "made it worse" as it could be perceived as "surrender to the growing Islamization" Danish society allegedly is facing.
In her opinion piece, Støjberg suggested, among other things, that it might be dangerous for bus drivers to perform while fasting. The Bus Drivers' Union 3F, however, assured that it has never encountered problems with Muslim drivers during Ramadan.
"In Copenhagen alone, I believe that 50 percent of all bus drivers are of various ethnic origins, yet we have never heard of a single case where the Islamic fast has been a problem," 3F chairman Jan Villadsen said. He also called it "reprehensible" of Støjberg and Henriksen to push a problem that doesn't exist.
In stark contrast to the Liberals and the DF (both parts of the ruling "blue" coalition), the left-leaning Alternative party tweeted a special greeting to all those who work during Ramadan.
Kære alle medborgere som arbejder i ramadanen — og i øvrigt også tager en tørn under jul og nytår. Tak. Og Ramadan mubarak til dig og din familie💚 pic.twitter.com/WNPsbOiU4P— Alternativet (@alternativet_) May 21, 2018
A total of about five percent or about 280,000 of Denmark's entire population of 5.6 million are estimated to be Muslims. The most common countries of origin are Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. During Ramadan, all food and drink between daybreak and sunset are forbidden for all practicing Muslims, bar a few exceptions such children and pregnant women, the sick and the elderly.