LONDON — What has become of Europe? New laws targeting Muslims are reminiscent of a time when innocent Jewish children were abducted by masked monks and imprisoned in monasteries to “save” them from the eternal fire of hell. In our blind mistrust of religious differences, we are returning to the Middle Ages, when the only model for integration was the forced conversion of the minority religion to the majority.
Take Denmark, where the government has introduced new laws mandating that children living in “ghetto” neighborhoods must spend 25 hours apart from their parents every week. During this time, they’ll be taught “Danish values,” including Christmas and Easter traditions, and receive Danish language classes.
By regulating life in these neighborhoods, the government hopes to “Westernize” these children and immerse them in Denmark’s secular culture and society. They see it as protection of the many at the expense of the few. But the harsh penalties for non-compliance suggest intolerance for any form of foreign teaching, religious education and cultural difference.