When a Danish minister was called a “Nazi” and a “fascist” on the streets of a mainly-Muslim area of Copenhagen, she had a quick response for her fiercest critics: “get a job” and “behave” instead of harassing local business owners.
While visiting the neighborhood of Nørrebro, Minister for Integration Inger Støjberg said that those “harassing” local bar owners “all have opportunities,” BT reported.
“The only thing that will help is that they take part in Danish society. You can’t just hang around here all day and harass business owners. They should behave themselves,” she said.
The comments were made while Støjberg was in the neighborhood to speak to one of many bar owners who claim they’ve been threatened by local youths and anonymous vandalism. The owners appealed for her help earlier this week.
But while she was standing outside one of the area’s many bars, Støjberg was approached by two Danish women who shouted “Nazi!” as they passed by. When Støjberg asked the women to repeat themselves, they responded by saying “fascist” as they walked away, according to TV2.
The women were stopped by police shortly afterwards, and may face a fine for disturbing public order by swearing at a minister.
Unsurprisingly, the alleged trouble-makers had their own responses to Støjberg’s advice to get a job and an education.
One of the youths stated that he and his friends have an education, but are “just relaxing at the same time.”
Another accused Støjberg of coming to the neighborhood “as soon as there’s a slight incident.”
“This is populist politics. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” the young man said.
But the owner of Mucki Bar believes Støjberg’s attention was very much needed, claiming that bricks have been thrown through the bar’s window during opening hours and that protection money had been demanded from her and her husband.
The owner of another local establishment, Café Heimdal, said that intruders recently entered the bar and told customers to leave.
“Recently some young men came in and shouted that all the guests should leave. They then shouted that the place belonged to them and that Nørrebro is covered by Sharia, so alcohol is forbidden,” owner Heidi Dyrnesli told Radio24syv.
Reports have indeed emerged that some members of the neighborhood have referred to the area as a Sharia zone – a concept introduced by a group called ‘Call to Islam’ some five years ago. The group uses volunteers to conduct daily patrols and approach those who drink, gamble, or engage in other activities contrary to Islamic beliefs.
However, Støjberg sternly stated on Facebook last week that Nørrebro “is not and never will be” a Sharia zone.
“In fact, you are very lucky that it is not…because you will be given a fair trial once the police get hold of you,” she continued.
Meanwhile, Copenhagen police have seemingly taken a more laid-back stance than Støjberg, with chief inspector Allan Nyring telling Jyllands-Posten that “the problem is not nearly as bad as the press make it out to be.”
“Of course, it is serious for the bars that are targeted, but we are dealing here with a small group of disaffected youths who, as soon as spring starts, decide to go out and show off…” he continued.
Nørrebro, one of the 10 official districts of Copenhagen, is located northwest of the city center. It is known for its plentiful bars and nightlife.