Article originally published on Civicus Monitor, 31 December

EXPRESSION

On 9th November 2019, 84 graves in a historical Jewish graveyard in Jutland, Denmark were vandalised with green paint. Some tombstones were also broken. The incident happened on the 81st anniversary of the Nazi Anti-Jewish Kristallnacht violence which took place between 9th and 10th November 1938, where shops and possessions of Jews throughout Germany were demolished.

A few days later, Jacob Vullum Andersen was arrested in connection with the vandalism. Andersen is the leader of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), a self-proclaimed “revolutionary National Socialist activist organisation and a registered political party”. Andersen claims he was not involved in the acts of 9th November 2019 but expressed his support for the vandalism. He and an alleged accomplice have been charged with gross vandalism and a hate crime offence.

Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen expressed her outrage at the incident:

“It pains me to think what it must be like to see the last resting place of loved ones exposed to such disgusting vandalism.”

As previously reported by the Monitor, other hate crime offences have been committed in Denmark, such as the burning of the Quran, the Islamic holy book.

In another incident on the 9th November 2019, a yellow Star of David sticker – a badge worn by Jewish people under Nazi dictatorship, was plastered onto the mailbox of a couple. It is reported that another Jewish family also found the star on their home in the Copenhagen region.

One of the couples, Henrik and Ella Chievitz expressed their outrage on social media.

A 2019 report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights surveyed Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of hate crimes, discrimination and anti-semitism. The survey found that 56% of the respondents in Denmark consider anti-semitism to be a very big problem and 85% believe that anti-semitism in Denmark has increased over the past five years.

ASSOCIATION

Four young Danish women from Tingbjerg, a neighbourhood in the capital Copenhagen, are urging their government to put an end to the annual ‘ghetto list’. Since 2010, the Danish government has released an annual list of underprivileged neighbourhoods to “reduce the difference between the vulnerable residential areas and the more well-functioning residential areas”. However, critics point out that the list is counterproductive and stigmatises inhabitants of listed neighbourhoods. In order to be included on the list an area needs to fulfil at least three out of the following five criteria: high levels of unemployment, low income, high conviction rates for violent and drug crimes and, controversially, more than half of the residents must be of non-western heritage. This last point of the criteria led Amina Safi, a 19-year-old Tingbjerg resident of Afghan origin, and three of her friends to speak out against the use of the ‘ghetto list’. They state that the criteria are discriminatory and that the word ‘ghetto’ disregards the positive developments that many of these neighbourhoods have seen over the years. Together with ActionAid Denmark, a CSO that fights against poverty and inequality, they have launched a petition to ask the government to stop the use of the list of underprivileged areas. By the end of 2019 the petition had already reached over 9000 signatures.