Copenhagen bars tired of ‘Sharia patrols’ rampage & threats raise issue with integration minister
Pub owners in the Nørrebro suburb of Copenhagen have for months tried to get the Copenhagen Police to take action against a group of youths from an immigrant background, who have been threatening, extorting, and vandalizing bars in broad daylight.
The concept of Sharia zones was introduced by a group called ‘Call to Islam’ some five years ago. Using volunteers, pockets of activists embark on daily patrols of the neighborhood and approach those who drink, gamble, or engage in other activities seen by the group as running contrary to Islamic beliefs.
“Recently some young men came into the bar and shouted that all guests should leave,” Heidi Dyrnesli from Cafe Heimdal told Radio24syv. “They shouted so that the site belongs to them and that Nørrebro is Sharia zone, so there is no drinking alcohol.”
The gangs also use firecrackers and stones to smash windows and assault premises, while the police seem to unable to stop such behavior from youths. Mucki Bar owner, Birgitte Fischer, claims that the gang asked them for at least 60,000 DKK ($9,200) as so-called “protection money.”
On Wednesday, Nørrebro Local Committee of businesses brought up the issue with the Immigration and Integration minister Inger Støjberg, who visited the suburb along with a number of local politicians who denounced the harassment.
As Støjberg toured the area with a group of reporters she was verbally harassed by two women calling her “Nazi” and“Fascist.” Both women were detained over the incident and charged with violation of Penal Code Section 121, that prohibits insulting public officials. Both women risk a fine or imprisonment for up to six months.
Addressing the abuse faced by local bar owners Støjberg stressed that the youth should stop harassing locals and instead must focus on getting “an education and a job, so they can become part of Danish society.”
Earlier in the day, the minister addressed the Arab activists telling them to “behave yourselves!”
“You live, and live in the greatest country in the world. Opportunities are right in front of you. So stop your rampage, threats and yelling!” Støjberg wrote on Facebook.
She specifically also made clear that the concept of so-called Sharia-zones will never take root in Denmark.
“No I can guarantee you that it is not [a Sharia-zone] and will never be! And you’re kinda pretty lucky that this is not a Sharia zone, as you get a fair trial when the police get a hold of you.”