‘Immigrants must celebrate Christmas to be Danish’

Copenhagen, Feb 17 (IANS) The Danish Peoples Party is demanding that immigrants should celebrate Christian festivals such as Christmas and Easter if they want to call themselves “Danish”, a media report said on Friday.

“Going to church”, the party’s immigration spokesman Martin Henriksen said, would at least put new arrivals “on the right track”, The Local news portal reported.

Henriksen’s remark came a week after Denmark’s parliament revisited the vexed question of what it means to be a Dane.

Henriksen said he believed that celebrating Christian festivals would help new arrivals to Denmark understand the majority culture in the country.

“To do that, you need to understand Christianity and its meaning for the Danish people,” he argued.

“You have to participate in that part of our cultural package to experience the things that bind the majority of our population together through common rituals and traditions.”

This, he argued, would include celebrating Christian festivals such as Easter and Christmas, and even visiting Danish churches.

The Danish People’s Party’s suggestion has been sharply criticised by the other parties, with the Liberal Alliance’s immigration spokesperson Laura Lindahl denouncing the attempt to tie national identity to religion as “un-Danish”.