Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Danish Psychologist: ‘Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is Not Possible’

This is a through and IMO, accurate analysis of why Muslims cannot integrate into non-Muslim societies as seen through the eyes of a Psychologist with experience with Muslim immigrants.


April 5, 2010
Danish Psychologist: ‘Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is Not Possible’

Felix Streuning

Danish integration problems with Muslims became public worldwide in 2006 when the newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Exactly two years later riots broke out again because of the reprint of the Mohammed cartoons by all major Danish newspapers.
Currently 70 percent of the prison population in the Copenhagen youth prison consists of young man of Muslim heritage. Is this recent violence and general violent tendency among Muslims solely coincidental, or is there a direct connection?

In February 2009, Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychologist published a book entitled Among Criminal Muslims: A Psychologist’s Experience from Copenhagen. In his book, Nicolai Sennels shares a psychological perspective of this Muslim Culture, its relationship to anger, handling emotions and its religion. He based his research on hundreds of hours of therapy with 150 young Muslims in the Copenhagen youth jail. EuropeNews interviewed the author about his book and its consequences on integration of Muslims in Europe.

EuropeNews: Nicolai Sennels, how did you get the idea to write a book about criminal Muslims in Denmark?

Nicolai Sennels: I got the idea in February 2008 during a conference on integration in Copenhagen, where I was invited as the first and only psychologist working in a Copenhagen youth prison. My speech at the conference was about the fact, that foreigners’ culture plays a significant role concerning integration, crime and religious extremism. I emphasized, that people from a Muslim culture find it difficult, if not impossible, to create a successful life in Denmark.

This statement was met with great resistance from Danish politicians and also my own boss from the youth prison. I was quite surprised since I thought that my point is obvious: some cultures fit better into Western societies than others. All of Europe is currently struggling to integrate Muslims but this endeavor seems to be impossible. According to the Danish police and the Danish Bureau of Statistics more than 70 percent of all crimes in the Danish capital are committed by Muslims. Our national bank recently published a report stating that a Muslim foreigner costs more than 2 million Danish kroner (300,000 euros) in federal social assistance on average, caused by the low participation in the work force. On top of this, we have to add many additional types of social welfare that unemployed people can receive in our country: expenses in connection with interpreters, special classes in school – 64 percent of school children with Muslim parents cannot read and write Danish properly after 10 years in a Danish school – social work, extra police etc.

My statement resulted in a legal injunction, a kind of professional punishment, which stated, that if I ever repeat this, I could be fired. According to the Copenhagen authorities it is apparently permitted to state that the serious problems among Muslims are caused by poverty, the media, the police, the Danes, politicians, etc. But two things are definitely not allowed: 1) discussing the significance of culture and 2) our foreigners own responsibility for their integration in our societies. Unfortunately many very powerful politicians lack a clear understanding of the psychological aspect of culture and the influence it has on integration.

EuropeNews: What were the reactions in Denmark?

Sennels: The book was received with a great amount of attention, already before the book was officially published on February 24 2009. It was on the front page of one of the biggest national newspapers in Denmark, and I was on the radio and TV participating in debates with politicians and other experts on the subject. The first publication of the book was sold out after three weeks.

Since then, there have been some big changes in Danish integration policy, which seems to have been influenced by the book and the attention it got. From my personal point of view, the widespread attention shows that my statement is true: there is simply a great need for a deeper understanding of how Muslims’ culture influences their chances for integration.

The very famous politician, Naser Khader, who is Muslim and the author of the Honor and Shame, wrote a review of my book and stated that it should be “obligatory reading for students, social workers and teachers.” Jyllands-Posten, the brave newspaper that first published the Mohammed cartoons, calls the book “an original piece of pioneer work.”
EuropeNews: Let’s have a closer look at the book. You talk about four myths of integration. The first one concerns the difference between the cultures of immigrants.

Sennels: What I discovered during my work at the youth prison was that people of Muslim heritage have other needs for social work than Danes or people of non-Muslim cultures. These different needs require more attention, and psychologists need to do more research on these topics in order to be able to create effective social politics.

I completely agree with my critics that personal and social problems can lead to anti-social behavior among both Westerners and Muslims. However, there is still extremely disproportional anti-social and anti-democratic behavior among Muslims. The Danish Bureau of Statistics published a report (1 and 2) stating that Muslim countries take the first eight places on the top 10-list of criminals’ country of origin. Denmark is number nine on this list.