Internal debates on Muslims in the Conservative People’s Party

The leader of the Conservative People’s Party, Lene Espersen, has not succeeded in creating internal consensus after the debate on a burqa ban. A group of seven dominant members challenges Lene Espersen regarding questions on integration. “We are an informal network of members of the Conservative People’s Party who doesn’t think we should compete with Danish People’s Party about who can disparage Muslims the most” Peter Norsk says. He is a member of the Conservative Party’s central board. The network is against the Conservative Party’s proposals on banning prayer halls at schools and that benefit fraud should lead to the loss of Danish citizenship.

Only three women in Denmark wear burqa

Only a small number of Muslim women in Denmark wear the burqa, a new study has found, as the government considers possible restrictions on Islamic dress in public places.

While it is estimated that only three women wear burqa between 150 to 200 women use the niqab. Some 60 to 80 of these women are Danish converts to Islam, according to a survey that was conducted for a special commission looking into the contentious issue.

In August 2009 the Conservative People’s Party suggested a ban against wearing the burqa. The idea was eventually dropped because of constitutional and human rights concerns.

The issue now before the government is not an outright ban but whether there should be restrictions in some public circumstances.

Construction of mosques banned

The provincial government of Carinthia, a southern Austrian province, on Tuesday passed a law effectively banning the construction of mosques or minarets. The controversial legislation, passed with the votes of the Conservative People’s party and the right-wing Alliance for Austria’s Future was a sign against the “advancement of Islam”, provincial governor Joerg Haider said. The legislation links the construction of mosques with rules concerning the overall look and harmony of towns and villages, thereby aiming at preventing their construction. While Haider, a former leader of the right-wing Freedom Party that in its heyday enjoyed the support of up to 27 percent of Austria’s voters with its anti-immigration rhetoric, praised the new rules as a “guidepost” for Europe, the province’s Social Democrats slammed the measure as a populist farce.