ABSTRACT: Shahamak Rezaei, Marco Goli, Svend Møballe Issues related to the integration of immigrants have been widely discussed in Denmark since the beginning of the 1970s. But, the new millennium brought with it tensions for the Danish public and for Danish politics regarding what is seen by many as “the failure of integration policy.” After coming into government in 2001, the new Liberal – Conservative coalition introduced a fundamentally different policy for migration and integration. This new policy created many institutional and administrative changes and impacted migration considerably. For instance, not only was there a remarkable cut down in the number of immigrants entering the country, but there was also a decline in supporting immigrant population’s participation in civic areas. It seems that the scope, the content and the intensity of the debate, as well as the overall discursive structure and institutional setting have been undergoing important changes. Based on empirical evidence and theoretical articulation, this chapter posits a rather cautious hypothesis. Our argument follows that growing religious identification among immigrants and attachment to religious organisations and associations, as well as development of the so called “Parallel Society” seem to reduce immigrants’ overall participation in democratic processes. The empirical challenge would be to determine whether the new Danish policy on migration and integration, together with the dominant discourse in Danish media and public debate, provide the religious and ethnic identification and participation with an attractive mode of civic and political participation among immigrants; whether these are newcomers or ‘old’ immigrants. There exists a rather substantial variation in the extent to which immigrant groups are represented in public debate. It appears that the most politically active immigrants at the local and national levels and in the media are individuals who focus on issues related to Islam, or are considered to have Islamic affiliations. Danish policy of contradiction (that is formal openness and substantial closure) specially with regard to substantial inclusion in the concept of the “Danes” leaves the ground open for non-democratic forces. Below, we will introduce the major developments in Danish immigration policy, the main characteristics of its immigrant population, immigrant participation in different spheres of life and finally, the public and media discourse with regard to immigration. The structure and content of the following presentation attempt to bring about empirical evidence in support of our aforementioned argument.
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Eighth EUROFOR Marie-Curie conferencein the framework of the series: "From Immigration Politics toMigration Management - Changes in Migration Governance" European and National AgenciesDealing with the `Non-Accepted, 2006