Danish People’s Party: Ban Arabic in schools
The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to bar students from speaking Arabic in Denmark’s public schools.
Published: 22 June 2016 10:01 CEST
DF's Martin Henriksen: "“If you live in Denmark, you should speak Danish." Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Scanpix
The proposed ban, which has very little chance of ever becoming reality, would apply to both class time and breaks.
“If you live in Denmark, you should speak Danish,” DF spokesman Martin Henriksen told news agency Ritzau.
Henriksen said that the proposed ban specifically targets Arabic because a recent PhD thesis documented how Arabic speaking students in two schools used the language to insult Danish-speaking students and teachers who couldn’t understand them.
“We’re going after Arabic because that’s where the problem lies,” Henriksen said.
He did, however, say that languages like Turkish could be next on his party’s hypothetical blacklist.
“From what I hear, this is unfortunately a problem among students with Muslim backgrounds. There are certain languages belonging to certain cultures and that is what we are talking about,” Henriksen said.
The head of the Danish Union of Teachers' (Danmarks Lærerforening) said the idea was a clear violation of the freedom of speech.
“I am of the basic opinion that there are some values that our society is built upon: freedom of speech, gender equality and democracy, and those are not up for discussion,” Anders Bondo Christens told Ritzau.
It should be noted that DF has a keen knack for proposing ideas during the slow summer season in order to get press coverage and a long history of trying to stop the use of foreign languages in Denmark.
Last June, the party was roundly mocked for proposing a tax on the use of English words in commercials. The party has also previously said that people living in Denmark should not speak their mother language while in public.
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