Newspaper editor challenges Danish People’s Party leader over multiculturalism

A war of words has broken out between Politiken‘s editor-in-chief, Bo Lidegaard, and the leader of the Danish People’s Party, Pia Kjærsgaard, about multiculturalism’s place in Denmark.

The exchange comes in the aftermath of the Norwegian massacre in which right-wing politicians have been accused of creating a negative tone in the debate about multiculturalism.

In an open letter to Kjærsgaard on Thursday, Lidegaard asked her to clearly state what she and her party believes is the future of multiculturalism.

“Do you agree that the multicultural society has come to stay and that the debate now needs to focus on how best to adapt to it? Or do you agree with your party members and other voices who see multiculturalism as a battle that will result in an inevitable showdown?” Lidegaard wrote.

“It’s not about forbidding one point of view or another, but making it clear whether the Danish People’s Party wants to solve the problems related to immigration and integration so we can build a multicultural community in Denmark,” he added.

But in Kjærsgaard’s response to Lidegaard on Tuesday, she accused Politiken of using the debate about the rhetoric used by the right as a cover for attacking the Danish People Party’s political views.

“If you don’t accept the multicultural society or if you try to counteract it you’re automatically stigmatised. In fact you’re not even allowed to criticise it at all,” Kjærsgaard wrote.

Kjærsgaard went on to criticise Politiken for not taking a stance against Muslim extremists in Denmark and for not demanding they tone down their language and rhetoric.

“Do you not accept that it is up to individuals to be responsible for their actions in cases such as Anders Breivik – or is it always ‘other’ people’s fault?”

Copenhagen Post, 9 August 2011

Update:  See “Danish right-wing infiltrated”, Politiken, 10 August 2011