Danes’ anti-immigrant backlash marks radical shift

An anti-immigrant backlash, bordering on xenophobia, is sweeping across Europe. Sentiments once associated with ultra right-wing parties are becoming mainstream. Many taboos are being broken – nowhere more starkly than in Denmark – the erstwhile poster child of the welcoming and nurturing welfare state.

Currently, the nation’s best-selling book is called Islamists and Naivists. “We compare Islamism to Nazism and communism because they are all three of them a totalitarian ideology,” says Karen Jespersen, who co-wrote the book with her husband, Ralf Pittlekow.

Their politically incorrect analysis would suggest they’re right-wingers. But they’re diehard Social Democrats – proud veterans of the student protests of the 1960s. Jespersen, a feminist and a former interior minister in charge of immigration issues, says the radicals’ goal is the Islamization of Europe.

NPR, 20 November 2006