Criminal immigrants: In 2005, 22 percent of all males of immigrant descent aged 20-29 were convicted one or more crimes. The corresponding number for ethnic Danish men of the same age was 9.8 percent. Around 70 percent of the inmates of secure youth institutions have non-Danish ethnic background.
“The municipality of Copenhagen has not comprehended that this group of youth with Muslim backgrounds needs a different approach than those with a Western background.”
— Nicolai Sennels, psychologist
Islam causes youth to go astray
New book blames Islam for immigrant crime rates being significantly above the Danish average
Thomas Ambrosius, MetroExpress
February 19, 2009
Nicholai Sennels, Danish psychologist, author of Among criminal Muslims. A psychologist’s experience from Copenhagen
Islam inhibits integration and causes a higher frequency of crime — but the municipality of Copenhagen turns a blind eye to this fact. This is the controversial message in the new Danish book Blandt Kriminelle Muslimer (“Amongst Criminal Muslims”), which will be published next week (February 24th, 2009). The author of the book is psychologist Nicolai Sennels, who until last year was working at the secure youth institution Sønderbro in Copenhagen, Denmark. Nicolai Sennels criticizes the municipality for a policy of too much carrot and too little stick in efforts directed at youngsters with a Muslim background.
“Even though it’s a taboo to mention it, it is a fact that culture and religion makes a difference. Criminal youth with a Muslim background perceive the Danish approach in secure institutions, schools, and other institutions to be weak. The Danish approach is one that encourages self-reflection, but they do not understand this. They get the impression that they are not punished for their actions, and this causes them to lose respect for the system,” he says, and blames the way children are raised in Muslim families, which emphasize consequence, tradition, and religion.
He hopes that his book will open the eyes among politicians and in the social system. Integration Advisor Manu Sareen partly agrees with Nicolai Sennels:
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“Social circumstances may explain the main part of the differences in crime levels, but culture also has significance. For instance, many immigrant parents permit their boys to be out in the streets late at night, where they cause destruction and commit other crime. It is our duty as a society to teach these parents to raise their children properly,” says Manu Sareen, who also states that Nicolai Sennels makes an untenable correlation between Islam and crime.
Jan Andreasen (Social Democrats), member of the Committee for Integration in the municipality of Copenhagen, acknowledges that cultural problems have been neglected for years:
“But during the latest three years we have broken the negative trend, and we are quite aware that we may need a firmer approach in the secure institutions.”
Nicolai Sennels rejects that the trend has reversed:
“The fact is that in Copenhagen the percentage of immigrants among young criminals has risen from 56 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2008, he says.
» » » » [Gates of Vienna: (Original: MetroExpress, translated by Henrik Ræder Clausen)]
» » [Nicolai Sennels Homepage]
Danish Psychologist: “Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is not possible”
EuropeNews 31 March 2009
An Interview by Felix Struening
"Islamization of Paris" A Big Warning to the West.
Danish integration problems with Muslims became public worldwide in 2006 when the newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Exactly two years later riots broke out again because of the reprint of the Mohammed cartoons by all major Danish newspapers.
Currently 70% of the prison population in the Copenhagen youth prison consists of young man of Muslim heritage. Is this recent violence and general violent tendency among Muslims solely coincidental, or is there a direct connection?
In February 2009, Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychologist published a book entitled Among criminal Muslims. A psychologist’s experience from Copenhagen. In his book, Nicolai Sennels shares a psychological perspective of this Muslim Culture, its relationship to anger, handling emotions and its religion. He based his research on hundreds of hours of therapy with 150 young Muslims in the Copenhagen youth jail. EuropeNews interviewed the author about his book and its consequences on integration of Muslims in Europe.
EuropeNews: Nicolai Sennels, how did you get the idea to write a book about criminal Muslims in Denmark?
Nicolai Sennels: I got the idea in February 2008 during a conference on integration in Copenhagen, where I was invited as the first and only psychologist working in a Copenhagen youth prison. My speech at the conference was about the fact, that foreigners’ culture plays a significant role concerning integration, crime and religious extremism. I emphasized, that people from a Muslim culture find it difficult, if not impossible, to create a successful life in Denmark.
This statement was met with great resistance from Danish politicians and also my own boss from the youth prison. I was quite surprised since I thought that my point is obvious: some cultures fit better into Western societies than others. All of Europe is currently struggling to integrate Muslims but this endeavor seems to be impossible. According to the Danish police and the Danish Bureau of Statistics more than 70% of all crimes in the Danish capital are committed by Muslims. Our national bank recently published a report stating that a Muslim foreigner costs more than 2 million Danish kroner (300,000 euros) in federal social assistance on average, caused by the low participation in the work force. On top of this, we have to add many additional types of social welfare that unemployed people can receive in our country: expenses in connection with interpreters, special classes in school – 64% of school children with Muslim parents cannot read and write Danish properly after 10 years in a Danish school – social work, extra police etc.
My statement resulted in a legal injunction, a kind of professional punishment, which stated, that if I ever repeat this, I could be fired. According to the Copenhagen authorities it is apparently permitted to state that the serious problems among Muslims are caused by poverty, the media, the police, the Danes, politicians, etc. But two things are definitely not allowed: 1) discussing the significance of culture and 2) our foreigners own responsibility for their integration in our societies. Unfortunately many very powerful politicians lack a clear understanding of the psychological aspect of culture and the influence it has on integration.
EuropeNews: What were the reactions in Denmark?
Sennels: The book was received with a great amount of attention, already before the book was officially published on February 24 2009. It was on the front page of one of the biggest national newspapers in Denmark, and I was on the radio and TV participating in debates with politicians and other experts on the subject. The first publication of the book was sold out after three weeks.
Since then, there have been some big changes in Danish integration policy, which seems to have been influenced by the book and the attention it got. From my personal point of view, the widespread attention shows that my statement is true: there is simply a great need for a deeper understanding of how Muslims’ culture influences their chances for integration.
The very famous politician, Naser Khader, who is Muslim and the author of the bestseller “Honor and Shame”, wrote a review of my book and stated that it should be “obligatory reading for students, social workers and teachers.” Jyllands-Posten, the brave newspaper that first published the Mohammed cartoons, calls the book “an original piece of pioneer work”.
EuropeNews: Let’s have a closer look at the book. You talk about four myths of integration. The first one concerns the difference between the cultures of immigrants.
Sennels: What I discovered during my work at the youth prison was that people of Muslim heritage have other needs for social work than Danes or people of non-Muslim cultures. These different needs require more attention, and psychologists need to do more research on these topics in order to be able to create effective social politics.
I completely agree with my critics that personal and social problems can lead to anti-social behavior among both Westerners and Muslims. However, there is still extremely disproportional anti-social and anti-democratic behavior among Muslims. The Danish Bureau of Statistics published a report (01 and 02) stating that Muslim countries take the first eight places on the top 10-list of criminals’ country of origin. Denmark is number nine on this list.
EuropeNews: So that means, we have to treat Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants in a different way?
Sennels: Seen from a psychological and also humanistic perspective, it is very clear that people from different cultures have different needs when they have or create problems. My own experience is that Muslims don’t understand our Western way of trying to handle conflicts through dialogue. They are raised in a culture with very clear outer authorities and consequences. Western tradition using compromise and inner reflection as primary means of handling outer and inner conflicts is seen as weak in the Muslim culture. To a great extent they simply don’t understand this softer and more humanistic way of handling social affairs. In the context of social work and politics this means that they need more borders and stronger consequences to be able to adjust their behavior.
EuropeNews: That leads us directly to the second myth: it is often said, that the criminality of immigrants is caused by social problems, not by their cultural background. In your book you disagree and point to the religion of the Muslims as a source of criminality.
How Germany is Committing Suicide by Islam - Thilo Sarrazin
Sennels: Well, I would rephrase it as “Muslim culture” instead of “religion” because there are a lot of Muslims who don’t know what is written in the Quran and who don’t visit the mosques. But they are strongly influenced on a cultural level. And there we see that especially anger is much more accepted in the Muslim culture.
One example: in Western culture and also in other non-Muslim cultures, like in Asia, you see aggression and a sudden explosion of anger as something you’ll regret afterwards, something you are ashamed of. It is completely opposite in the Muslim culture. If somebody steps on your honor – what I as a psychologist would call self confidence – you are simply expected to show aggression and often also verbal or physical revenge. So, aggression gives you a low status in our cultures, but a high status in the Muslim culture.
There is however another and much deeper reason for the wide spread anti-social behavior in Muslim communities and their strong aversion against integration – namely, the very strong identification that Muslims have with belonging to the Muslim culture.
My encounter with the Muslim culture has been a meeting with an exceedingly strong and very proud culture. This is certainly something that can ensure an ancient culture’s survival through changing times – Islam and the Muslim culture are excellent examples of this. A strong and proud culture unfortunately also makes the culture’s members almost unable to adapt to other values. In Germany, only 12% of their 3.5 million Muslims see themselves as more German than Muslim; in France and Denmark, only 14% of the Muslim populations respectively see themselves more as French or Danish than Muslim. Research among Muslims living in Denmark also shows that 50% of the 1st- and 2nd-generation immigrants are against free speech and 11% would like to see the Danish constitution exchanged with the sharia law (more numbers from this research can be found in the printed issue of the newspaper). These high percentages are of course frightening, but especially disturbing is the fact that there are no differences of opinion on this topic among Muslims who are born and raised in Muslim countries and the opinion of their children who are born and raised in Danish society. When it comes to identity among Muslims, nationality does not count at all in comparison with culture and religion. The consequence is a powerful and growing opposition to Western culture and values in Muslim ghettoes throughout Copenhagen and other major European cities.
EuropeNews: As you already pointed out, a lot of Muslims have a strong connection to their religious identity. The third myth you dismantle in your book is about the percentage of extremist’s and fundamentalists among Muslims. It’s often presumed that this percentage is relatively small. What is your experience?
Sennels: People hope that most Muslims are modern and accept Western values. My experience is different, and this has been proven by the statistics in Europe that I just quoted. In February 2008, we had some deadly serious riots by young Muslims in Denmark.
Those riots were partly a reaction to the great focus by the Danish police on the steeply rising crime rates in Muslim areas. The other reason was the reprinting of the Mohammed cartoons in all Danish newspapers. This reprinting was an act of solidarity with the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose life was, and still is, seriously threatened.
In these riots, we saw Muslims who don’t practice the Islamic religion in their daily lives standing up for their culture and religion in a very aggressive way. Copenhagen was smoking for an entire week due to several hundred of fires, and the police and firemen trying to calm the situation down were also attacked. A big part of the rioters ended up in the prison where I worked, and I therefore I had the chance to talk with them. Almost all of them were Muslims, and they all claimed that what they have done – starting fires, attacking the police etc. – was justified since Danish society, through its pressure on integration and through reprinting the Mohammed cartoons, has proven itself to be racist and against Islam and Muslim culture. The few Danish people among the rioters were completely different. Their explanation of their actions was predominately a search for adventure or excitement.
EuropeNews: The fourth myth is that poverty among immigrants leads to their bad social situation. In your book, you tell us that the opposite is true.
Sennels: You can formulate this important question like this: do people get social problems because they are poor, or do they become poor because they create social problems? My experience is that the very low focus on supporting one’s children in school and on one’s own education and the lack of motivation for creating a professional career is a crucial factor for the poverty, which many Muslims experience in both our societies and in Muslim countries. On top of it, one fourth of all young male Muslims in Denmark have a criminal record. Poor reading skills, a strong aversion against authorities and a criminal record simply make it very difficult for you to get a well paying job. It is anti-social behavior that makes you poor. Not the other way around.
Unfortunately many politicians see poverty as the main cause of integration problems. I think this is a horrible and one-dimensional view of poor people and of people in general. The idea that people’s behavior is decided by the amount of money they have on their bank accounts every month is an exceedingly limited view. I myself, as a psychologist who graduated from the humanities department of the University of Copenhagen, would say that people have many more and stronger factors in their lives than money, which influence their behavior and way of thinking.
EuropeNews: What is the conclusion on your research? Is the integration of people of Muslim heritage into Western societies possible?
3 Things You Should Know About Islam
Nicolai Sennels: I would say that the optimists, the people who say that integration is possible, carry a very great responsibility. There is a very great risk that they are selling us hope, a dream, that has no foundation in reality. This means that they will be the ones who are responsible for Europe looking away from and not addressing its problems until it is too late.
There is simply no research in Europe that supports the optimists’ view. On the contrary, all the research that we have on integration of Muslims in Western societies shows that we are continuing to head in the wrong direction. So I don’t know how these optimists come to their conclusion. Maybe it is a vain and childish hope that everything will turn out well, just like in the fairy tales. Or maybe it is a pseudo-Darwinistic idea that everything will develop in a positive direction. One thing is for sure: they don’t base their judgments on facts.
Of course there are exceptions but for the largest part integration to the necessary degree of Muslims is not possible. Clever and compassionate people are working all over Europe on the problem, and they have spent billions of Euros on the project, yet, the problems still continue to grow.
The psychological explanation is actually simple. The Muslim and the Western cultures are fundamentally very different. This means Muslims need to undergo very big changes in their identity and values to be able to accept the values of Western societies. Changing basic structures in one’s personality is a very demanding psychological and emotional process. Apparently very few Muslims feel motivated to do so. I only know a few who managed, but I also know that it was a long and exhausting struggle on an inner level for them and that they often pay a high personal price on the outer level because their Muslim friends and families despise and/or disown them for leaving their culture.
EuropeNews: But what we are going to do with the Muslims, who are already here?
Sennels: I see two possibilities. Firstly, we should immediately stop all immigration of people from Muslim countries to Europe until we have proven that integration of Muslims is possible.
Secondly, we should help Muslims who don’t want to or are not able to integrate in our Western societies to build a new and meaningful life in a society they understand and that understands them. This means to assist them in starting a new life in a Muslim country. We actually have the economic means to do this. As I mentioned previously, the Danish National Bank calculated, that every immigrant from Muslim countries costs 300,000 euros on average. With this money, we could help these people to live a happy life in a Muslim country without having to integrate in a society they don’t understand and therefore cannot accept. Having money enough to support one’s family and live in a country where one feels at home with the surrounding culture would be a great step forward in the quality of their lives. And we should help them achieve this. Not only the individual Muslim, but also European societies will benefit. Muslims immigrating from Europe to Muslim countries will function as ambassadors for more free and democratic societies: due to their experience from living in a democracy with real human rights and their knowledge of the social systems in Europe, they will take very important ideas and values with them. In this way they can do what hopefully most of them dream of, i.e. help their Muslim brothers and sisters in their home countries by changing the poor conditions and from which they moved away from initially.
Nicolai Sennels, 33 years old, is a psychologist and has worked for the Copenhagen authorities for several years. From 2005 to 2008 he worked at the Sønderbro youth prison in Copenhagen.
» » » » [Europe News]
» » [Nicolai Sennels Homepage]
Harmful myths of immigration
The many myths about integration constitute a serious obstacle to the social work. Problems of integration constitute a potential disaster for our welfare societies. Part of the solution is to gain more knowledge: Good social work is dependent on sufficient information, writes Nicolai Sennels.
By Nicolai Sennels, psychologist, Copenhagen
Danish original in Jyllands-Posten,
March 03 2009
"Islamicisation of London"; Big Warning to the West
In my job as psychologist in the Municipality of Copenhagen I have had more than 150 immigrants, refugees and descendants in treatment. Here I will provide an overview of the integration problems as they look when instead of talking about immigrants you talk with them.
While crime among immigrants, Islamic parallel societies and Islamic extremism are having an increasing negativ impact on society, the municipal efforts in the field are still stuck in a series of myths about immigrant crime, extremism and the social efforts.
* The first myth is that there is are no differences between immigrants. But of course there are: People from different cultures need different kinds of support when they face trouble. There is a world of difference between what, say, a Japanese, a Somali and an American will need if they are having or creating trouble. We need to apply cultural sensitivity towards te cultural differences that our immigrants bring along.
My own therapeutic experience with young Muslims is, that they find it extremely difficult to understand traditional Danish pedagogics and therapy. Danish youth is to a much greater extent raised with a tradition of “talking tings over” and reflect upon how they personally feel about things.
Muslims, in contrast, are raised in a culture with clear outer authorities (fathers, tradition, Islam), where the consequence is fast and immediate when the family expectations are broken. They have been raised in a firm setting, and Danish pedagogue-speak falls short towards this group.
* The second myth is that immigrant crime is caused by social problems, and that the cultural background of immigrants have no significance in the context. Also on this one the prejudice does not fit with reality: The conclusion of hundreds of psychological interviews with Muslim immigrants is that the Muslim culture accepts aggression to a very great extent.
While an uncontrollable expression of fury is the fastest way to lose face in Danish culture, it is turned around in the Muslim. The willingness to take revenge is, in Muslim culture, considered an expression of strength, and anger is clearly more socially acceptable in Muslim circles. Aggressive behaviour is considered a social tool, used to obtain 'respect', (not merely fear), and status.
The dramatic and destructive manner that Palestinians use to show their rage over the situation in Gaza, the imams incitements to “Holy anger”, family executions (also called 'Honour killings') and violent demonstrations in response to the Muhammad cartoons are all examples of how aggressive behaviour is, in Muslim culture, considered a socially acceptable means of expression.
The fact that Muslim immigrants and descendants commit two to three times as much violent crime as ethnic Danes is also partially caused by this. So, yes: The culture of immigrants is an important component in immigrant crime.
* The third myth is that religious extremism is only found in narrow circles. This is a severe mistake. Almost each and every single Muslim I had in therapy took his/her religious tradition quite seriously. In spite of the fact that most do not follow the words of the Quran, their Muslim identity is extremely strong. The Muhammad cartons the attempts to implement democracy in the Islamic world, and pressure by authorities towards integration into the Danish society have created a strong feeling of resentment against Western values.
In particular 'rootless' young Muslims feel the attraction of extremist circles, because they are being offered a feeling of being significant and to have a purpose, of life as well as of death, that no 'social project' can match. Furthermore, religiousness is a source of status in Muslim circles – and intense religiousness gives high status. A dedicated religious practice and the ability to launch conspiracy theories about Western guilt in the appalling conditions in their Muslim home countries constitute an effective source of social recognition in Muslim parts of the society.
These experiences from my work in the Muslim parts of society are completely in line with similar research outside Denmark: 32 percent of Muslim university students in England consider religious killing justified, an d54 percent of French Muslims believe that Sharia law should be applied worldwide.
In Germany only about 12 percent of Muslims consider themselves 'Germans' and a full 6 percent are categorized as “extremely radical” with “a high degree of acceptance of religious and political violence.” 6 percent may not sound much, but if we transfer the figure to the estimated 220,000 Muslims in Denmark, which is quite reasonable, it translates into some 13,600 Islamic extremists.
* The fourth myth is that cultural and religious factors have no significance for the frequently poor social and economical situation of immigrants. The theory usually states that immigrants are poor due to causes outside their influence, and that this poverty is the cause of dysfunctional behaviour.
The correlation between poverty and social problems is real, but things are not nearly as black & white as for instance claimed by Social Mayor of Copenhagen Mikkel Warming (Enhedslisten – the Danish hard left political party). For what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Are social problems caused by poverty, or is poverty caused by social problems?
As Jyllands-Posten reported on December 19th 2008, immigrants from Muslim countries and their descendants occupy the top eight spots in the list of countries of origin for criminals – after age and social circumstances have been factored out. Figures like these put Warming and his equals to shame.
But what exactly about the Islamic culture causes humans with this background to fare so poorly economically? After hundreds of psychological interviews concerning the life in their families here in Denmark, it is clear that the primary cause of poverty in these circles is a lack of emphasis on education.
Immigrant parents could support their children in school and in higher educations much more actively. Further, it is the experience of me and many colleagues that children of Muslim immigrants lack understanding of Danish pedagogical style in schools and other educations, and that this constitutes another obstacle to their further career.
Fitna, by Geert Wilders [01/02] [02/02]
Fitna, film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders offers a critical view on the world of Islam and the Koran. The name comes from the Arabic word Fitna which is used in Islam to describe disagreement and division among people or, a test of faith in times of trial. (Originally the word was used to describe testing the authenticity of gold with varying methods.)
The unfortunate result is that 64 percent of children of Arab background are not able to read and write sufficiently well at their graduation from public school [9 years in Denmark], and that one third of them never receive any higher education. In a knowledge society as in Denmark, where education is a requirement for a decent salary, the economy in families becomes tight if education is not taken seriously.
The fact that up to one in four Muslim descendant of ages 20-29 received a crime sentence in the single year of 2008 does not improve employability. An individual who creates social problems and refuses to adapt to the social requirements of the society, becomes poor. These are the proper causes and effects, not the other way around.
The many myths of integration unfortunately constitute a serious obstacle in the social work in this area. When in the secure institution of Sønderbro, Copenhagen has a 70 percent share of clients with Muslim background, when LO (the Danish Labour Organisation) warns about ghettos proliferating, and when the National Bank estimates that immigrants from non-Western countries cost the Danish society Dkr 23 billion ($ 4 billion) a year, it is no exaggeration to call the integration problems a set bomb under our social society.
Part of the solution is to acquire more knowledge in the field: Good social work depends on sufficient information. We need practical research on the attitudes of various immigrant groups on their attitudes to extremism, democracy, integration, education and participation in the labour market. My on experience from hundreds of interviews is, unfortunately, that we have have a large group of immigrants who do not desire integration and are staunch opponents of democratic and humanistic values.
The battle about the causes of the failed integration is already on. Both the claims that the state gives insufficient funds to the efforts and that the municipalities do not apply the money properly are just that – claims.
After having worked for years in the largest public social organisation of Denmark, I am firmly convinced of the latter: It is our local politicans, who carry the responsibility of designing the practical integration efforts around the country.
The policies in many Danish municipalities have been to offer support and new opportunities, while only the police and the judicial system have been setting limits and showing consequences of bad behaviour. This division of labour could be adjusted with benefit.
Nicolai Sennels is author of the book "Among Criminal Muslims. Experiences of a psychologist in the municipality of Copenhagen”. His openness about the problem eventually forced him to leave his position.
» » » » [Europe News]
» » [Nicolai Sennels Homepage]
» » [German Review of Books: The one thing Muslim immigrants fear is being deported]
» » [Finnish Hommaforum: An interview with Nicolai Sennels]
» » [Gates of Vienna: The Stigmatization Fallacy]
» » [New English Review: Muslims and Westerners: The psychological differences]
» » [Gates of Vienna: Islam Means Never Having to say you’re sorry]
» » [FrontPage: Among Criminal Muslims]
» » [FrontPage: A psychiatric Conference on Truthful Girl]
» » [Europenews.dk: Sexual abuse widespread among Muslims]
» » [Europenews.dk: Open letter to David Cameron regarding Turkey]
» » [Europenews.dk: “Muslim Inbreeding: Impacts on Intelligence, Sanity, Health and Society]