These days the problems concerning the refugees is a sour subject in Denmark. In Denmark we all remember the day refugees walked across the country on the motorway. As a Dane I am at one hand more or less embarrassed by the way Denmark is perceived by the outside world. On the other hand I haven’t lost faith in the Danes, as I can see how much of a difference the Danish people actually want to do.
A friend of mine told me about a local initiative where the children of the neighbourhood can come and get help with their homework. She told me that most of the children knew Danish better than their native tongue and thereby, complicating simple communication between children and their families. Integration seems to be going very well, you may think. But hold on for a moment and try to follow my train of thought.
Carolin Goerzig and Khaled Al-Hashimi touches a very interesting subject in relation to this in their book “Radicalisation in Western Europe: Integration, public discourse, and loss of identity among Muslim communities”. In the description of a workshop in the book one subject the book analysis is radicalisation and religion. The respondents of the workshop is seen creating an in- and out-group according to their religious background vs the religious background of the country they live in. A out-group, with all the people with opinions consistent with theirs and an in-group with people they can rely on having the same opinion as themselves. Thereby, an in-group and out-group situation is created concerning the fact that the exterior reality is not consistent with their interior reality – a reality consistent with the cultural and religious worldview in the family of the immigrants versus the outside world with its many different world-views. The framework of Goerzig and Al-Hashimi is the society the immigrants live in versus the family-life the immigrants have. However, what if both the exterior as well as the interior reality is causing young immigrants to distance themselves? A feeling of being marginalised from both the society one lives within and also from ones family? If someone had a feeling of being different within the outer reality as well as what was supposed to be ones inner reality, a reasonable conclusion could be that one would search for a reality or peers within which or with whom one can feel average and like-minded.
For instance, if a young girl or guy with another ethnical origin than the country he or she lives in. If he or she because of his or hers ethnical origin is labelled by the society as different however is still labelled as different at home because he or she is not capable of communicating fully with his or hers parents because he or she does not fully speak their original language, would that not cause a situation where a young girl or guy would search for like-minded, a substitute family, and therefore, could be exposed to different types of harmless as well as less harmless groups, where they might be exposed to an extremist worldview that might have a great affect on them.
In Denmark it is almost considered a success if the young women and guys is capable of getting around and communicate in flawless Danish. In fact, in a new special allowance called “integration allowance” an extra amount of money (called “dansktillæg”), 1500 kr, is given to those who pass a danish test in a wish to strengthen the danish skills among the immigrants. However, are we forgetting that this may have a marginalised effect on youngsters who cannot have the same support at home, because they simply cannot communicate with their parents? If my inference is somewhat true, such a small thing as language skills could be one more thing in the range of things that could be of great importance regarding whether or not young women and guys is exposed to extremist ideas and actions. Are we in Denmark so focused on immigrants getting so integrated that it is an assimilation and therefore, makes immigrants alienated from their own families? Families who are supposed to offer guidance and support in a time in the young women and guys lifes that has a lot of mixed feelings that can be confusing and weird. Are we stealing away their safety-net and security with the attempt of integrating these people to our standards instead of considering to implement their ideas and worldviews as well?