It is by acknowledging the existence of these cultures, by addressing the principles that underlie them and by reaching out to these communities and exposing them to the differences of the countries that they have chosen to immigrate to, that you put a package of choice on the table. [52:25]
You ask: "Do you want this, or, do you want this? Do you want to continue with the old values that you have learned in the country -- we understand that you have learned it, we understand that you were brought up. But the value system here is different. There are two things that you have to choose from. Which one do you choose?"
It's very important to have that honest conversation.
Now, I know what you will say. You will tell me: "Ya, but they will resist." Yes, some will resist. Some will gradually accept. Some have already adjusted well and are not a problem at all. But given the scale of the problem, given the tensions found in Denmark and the rest of Europe between Muslims and non-Muslims. Given the negative consequences that these tensions have for social cohesion, and given the human rights aspects of this clash of cultures, it's important, and above all it's urgent that you think about these problems and you develop these programs.
When I lived in a culture [54:03] of subjection, where the power was divided between the [inaudible] and it was given to the [inaudible] I didn't have a choice. When I came to live, and I've lived here long enough in a culture of citizenship, where people choose their own government, I felt empowered. And what did I do with that power?
I made a choice. And I chose the values that underlie that system of freedom.
The Danish culture, Dutch culture, and American culture have differences -- but they also have important similarities: individual freedom, the preservation of life, the rule of law, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, an openness to the world, an appreciation of scientific inquiry, a model of conflict resolution and talking about things and aspiring to reach a consensus.
These cultures are, in my view, worth protecting and conserving [applause] [55:43]
You're party is young. It's only 15 years old. And you have done remarkable performance in agenda setting, and you've been an example to other parties in Europe. But through that aspiration of consensus, you've also chosen not just agenda setting, but to support a coalition, and, therefore, to lend stability to the country, with parties you don't agree with, but that's how democracy works.
When I was here five years ago, I was told odd things about Venstre, the liberal party. I was told -- and you know Venstre is the liberal party, the sister party of the party that I'm a member of, the VVD in the Netherlands. And I was told this was a bad party. They do not want to increase taxes, and they want to apply a restrictive immigration policy. [57:23] Well, five years later, I think those are good policies. Denmark survived the financial crisis.
And, the Danish immigration policies are being copied everywhere in the rest of Europe [applause]. Now I'm proud to tell those folks who said, "don't vote for Venstre": "Look, it was important that they made those policy chages no matter how difficult they were, because the outcome is better than if those policies were not applied.
And the subject of immigration is perhaps the most sensitive issue [58:20]. It is the hot button issue. The only issue that is more hot button, and I think in Europe we pretend -- we are more hypocritical than any other western society. I've been to Australia, people just talk about Islam. In America people just talk about Islam. It's only in Europe that when people want to talk about Islam they talk about immigration. [58:49] And maybe that's the last taboo subject. And I know that your Party does, and other parties do, but I'm talking about the mainstream, and in the mainstream when they just really talk about Islam, when they mean Islam, they talk about immigration.
I can't read Danish. But I heard rumors that your Party wants to stop all immigration from non-western countries. [applause] You do?? [people in audience say "yes"]
But I come from a non-western country! Come on! [people in audience murmur and some laugh]
It's not in my position to tell you what to do. But I would rather that you adopted a different policy. Instead of saying "No" to all non-westerners, I think it would be better if you introduced that choice that I just talked about. [applause] Yeah.
You allow people who promise to adhere to the rule of law, to respect the freedom of others, the freedom of their daughters, who work, who promise to work, and work. You can develop a contract with them. And if they don't meet these demands then you can send them back. [loud applause]
But I think it is wrong, it is morally wrong, to pre-emptively conclude that all non-western immigrants should not, must not come to Denmark [scattered applause]. Where [1:01:00] do you expect immigrants to come from? You want them to come from Germany and Sweden maybe? [half-joking groans and cries of protest and laughs from the audience at the idea of Germans or Swedes immigrating to Denmark]
It would be a loss to those from outside of the West, but it would also be a loss to Denmark, if you can't find that combination, that marriage between people that want freedom, and countries that provide freedom, to find one another. Without being rosy-eyed about it. It's very very important to spell out what Denmark is not about, what Denmark will not accept. But it's also equally important to spell out the characteristics of individuals who are welcome.
It's very important to demand that those "subjects" make the transition to become citizens. To work hard. To learn the language. To find a job. To abide by the law and pledge loyalty to the Danish constitution. [applause]
If it is the Danish culture of openness the Danish culture of freedom the Danish culture of tolerance -- that is what I admire. It is the culture that I subscribe to. And I thought that that's the culture your young party wants to preserve and defend. And if that's the case, you have me on your side. If it's not the case, then I want to spell out that I won't endorse exclusion, blunt exclusion of all non-western immigrants simply because they are non-western.
Thank you for providing me with this platform.
[loud prolonged applause]
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The video tape of her speech is over an hour long. Ali is first introduced by Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard, and then the beginning of the speech itself is the usual pleasantries, which then gradually transitions into Ali talking in very broad terms about two very different kinds of societies in today's world: (1) on the one hand there are societies in which there are rulers and subjects, and (2) on the other hand there are societies in which there is "liberal democracy, inspired by the Enlightenmnet, where individual citizens are free and equal before the law."
This is starting about 13 minutes into her speech (what is below is only about 7 minutes of the speech, so far):
today we live in a global world, in a global world where in parts of the world where there are rulers and subjects, people are leaving, and they are coming to other parts of the world where people are citizens, and governments are government by the people and for the people. In fact, for the last 30 or 40 years [13:06] we have seen a stream of people from those cultures of subjection. And those subjects, those human beings, are seeking a better life. We see them flock to cultures of democracy.
And, we don't only see the movement [13:30] from one place to another we see two things happen. Those subjects, when they become citizens, appreciate it and celebrate it and love it -- and contribute to the new cultures that they come to. [13:49] But we also see some who do not -- who are confused. Some who find out about citizenship and what it means -- and reject it.
In other words, there is a clash. And that clash is on a local level and it is on a global level. As Danish people you have given us the most famous example of such a clash: the drawings of the cartoons of the prophet mohammed. most muslims were brought up to believe that mohammed, the founder of that religion, was infallible, and they believe that drawing this image is an offense. And when a Danish newspaper published not one image of the prophet mohammed but 12 images, you can imagine the shock and horror that went through that population.
But if you look at things from the perspective of the Danish newspaper and the Danish cartoonists, what do you see? That the prophet mohammed is portrayed as the inspiration for beheading people, for blowing people up, for telling women to stay at home. So they did what i was told Danish people are good at -- they drew cartoons. And this led to a most dramatic confrontation. Perhaps the most dramatic confrontation of the decade.
That confrontation revealed the important differences that i am talking about. The important difference between nations and peoples that are used to being subjects and rulers on the one hand, and nations and peoples that have governments that are chosen by the people, where the people are citizens.
here in denmark there was a danish imam [16:35] who saw those cartoons, 12 of them, [inaudible] he put them in a folder, he took them to the middle east. he took them to places like syria, and egypt and saudi arabia and lebanon. in all of those places, you have that relationship of subjects and rulers. the subjects [17:09] who under normal circumstances are not allowed to dissent, the subjects are not allowed to form political parties, who are not allowed to vote, who are not allowed in their day to day lives, to show what it is in their societies that they don't like about their rulers -- at that instant they were given orders by their rulers to organize and to protest, to burn embassies, to burn the danish flag, and we saw people shouting "death to denmark".
think of places like saudi arabia, where women are not allowed to drive, where women have a guardian, and only with his permission can they leave to go to school, and only when they are chaperoned. women and men are not allowed to mix. but i remember the images clearly -- in the supermarkets where women were now able to tell the difference between yogurt that was from denmark and yogurt that was not. danish yogurt, danish dairy products, were left on the shelves.
this, as we noticed, were demonstrations organized by the state, and the subjects did what they were told to do. the subject in a society like that is like wax. you can mold him or her in any way you like. he's like a zombie. there are dissidents, and opposition takes place, but it takes place in secret. conspiracy theories abound. and if you are found out the punishment is harsh. long years in prison, torture, death.
by contrast, in a liberal democracy the citizen is free. his opinion is formed, based on whatever information he can find out the issue. the institutions of the state  have the object of guaranteeing as much freedom to their citizens as possible. [20:20]
[I'll post more later today!]