A Danish minister has been ridiculed online after suggesting that Muslims shouldn’t work during Ramadan, claiming that fasting during the month was “dangerous for us all.”
Integration Minister Inger Stoejberg claimed in a blog post that fasting could affect “safety and productivity” and urged Muslims to take time off during Ramadan.
“I want to call on Muslims to take leave from work during the month of Ramadan to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society,” wrote the immigration hardliner.
In the post, which has since been published by Danish Berlingske Tidende (BT) newspaper, the minister said the performance of bus drivers and hospital employees could particularly be affected during the fasting month.
But her comments have been received with mockery, both online and offline, with some commentators blasting the Danish minister as an “Islamophobe” and “merchant of racism”.
Gina al-Farra, consultant radiologist who works 14-hour shifts while fasting, told Al Jazeera: “I take short breaks but I find no issues doing my work while fasting.”
Naveed Baig, imam and Muslim Chaplain at the Royal Hospital of Copenhagen said: “People made fun of her and mocked her statements … [while many others] started using a hashtag in Danish that means stay calm. That was not just in the Muslim community, but amongst the wider public too.”
Some of the reactions from Twitter to Stoejberg’s remarks:
Millions of Muslims work during #Ramadan as engineers, doctors and so on. That too in far hotter climates. But according to #IngerStoejberg, in Denmark, fasting poses a threat! Heights of #Islamophobia.
— Masood Ahmed (@ahmed_masood12) May 24, 2018
Se med når vores kandidat Noura Bendali står ansigt til ansigt med Inger Støjberg i Debatten – DR i aften kl. 20.00! Husk endeligt at sende os en vælgererklæring, så vi kan stille op til det kommende Folketingsvalg via https://t.co/MgoKbUacvc 🇩🇰 @DebattenDR2 #dkpol pic.twitter.com/6s3uOanMBW
— Kashif Ahmad (@KashifAhmadDK) May 24, 2018
the fact that inger støjberg wants to "avoid negative consequences for the rest of danish society" by stripping muslims of work is islamophobic, ignorant, and shows that she really has no idea how fasting works
— s (@xofrompakistan) May 24, 2018
Observers say Ms. Stoejberg has become the face of Denmark’s increasingly tight immigration rules.