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Le programme juridique du gouvernement social-démocrate minoritaire

On October 6, 2020, with the opening of the new parliamentary year 2020-2021, the Social Democrat minority government announced its legislative agenda for the coming year. This new agenda includes three important legal changes, which have been underway for a while.
First, the Ministry of Aliens and Integration aims to criminalise donations from foreign donors included on a list of undemocratic organisations. (See ”Denmark to criminalise foreign funding for mosques in effort to ’counter extremism’”, Middle East Monitor, 27 October 2020). This initiative is not a new thing. A broad political agreement to prevent financial contributions from Gulf States has already been proposed in 2016 after the documentary Mosques behind the veil, showing hidden camera footage from a number of Danish mosques, created intense debate. See Sinclair, Kirstine, “What Goes on in the Mosque ? Or : A Tale of Two Tongued Imams,” Center for Mellemøststudier News Analysis, April 2016.) The specific drafting of the bill was troublesome, because it is difficult to target contributions to mosques perceived to be extremist, while not affecting contributions to for instance the Catholic churches, which are generally perceived as unproblematic. Different models were thoroughly treated in a 2017 report of the Ministry of Immigration and Integration Affairs, Åbenhed om udenlandske donationer til trossamfund og religiøse foreninger. Rapport fra arbejdsgruppe om større gennemsigtighed med udenlandske donationer til trossamfund m.v., but when the bill was presented in Parliament in 2019/2020, in the midst of a number of media stories about mosques receiving funding from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the political treatment of the bill was discontinued due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The bill does not specify whether mosques receiving imams salaried by the Turkish Diyanet would be included. This will be an administrative decision.
Another bill with the political intention to regulate the Muslim field was presented by the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs as a proposal for an ‘Act on sermons in languages other than Danish.’ The purpose of the bill, which would require all sermons to be translated to Danish, is to create greater openness of religious preachers in Denmark speaking in languages other than Danish. The bill has not yet been presented, but from what has been argued by the Minister and the Social Democrat spokesperson, it has already led to controversy because of the consequence it may have for some Christian churches, for instance the German-speaking Lutheran congregations within the Church of Denmark.
Finally, the Ministry of Aliens and Integration also presented an ‘Amendment of the Penal Code, the Passport Act and the Aliens Act’ in order to strengthen the efforts against negative social control. The Ministry suggests adding an explicit reference to negative social control in the provision of the Penal Code on psychological violence, and to make negative social control explicit in the form of retention in a marriage by means of religious divorce contracts. Also, it proposes to ban religious marriages of minors and tighten penalties and deportation rules against those who try to detain a person in a forced marriage. This bill is also part of a longer-running strategy to prevent negative or honour-related social control, amidst media debates on religious marriages and divorces.
One of the most controversial initiatives, the introduction of an age limit of 18 years for male circumcision, has, however, not been presented by the government but is the result of a citizen’s initiative (B 7 Forslag til folketingsbeslutning om indførelse af 18-årsmindstealder for omskæring af raske børn (borgerforslag). On the basis of 50,000 signatures, the parliament must take up a discussion. The bill has, however, not been adopted as it is not supported by either the Social Democratic minority government or by the largest opposition party, the Liberal Party.

D 10 décembre 2020    ALene Kühle

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