Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Support for Denmark's anti-immigration Danish People's Party has soared in the wake of Muslim protests against cartoons of the prophet Muhammad


Backing for the DPP is up 4.9 points since elections a year ago to 18.2 percent, a poll of 1,124 Danes by Megafon for broadcaster TV2 on Feb. 23 showed. The Liberal-Conservative government's support fell 1.9 points to 37.4 percent and backing for the opposition Social Democrats fell 3.7 points to 22.1 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 1-3 percentage points.

The 11-year-old DPP, which in 2002 compared Islam to a "plague," may overtake the Social Democrats as Denmark's second- biggest party, said Roger Buch, associate professor of political science at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus. The increase in support for the DPP may cause a dilemma for the government, which relies on DPP backing in parliament.

"We're witnessing a shift in the Danish political landscape," Buch said. "This can, without a doubt, be attributed to the whole Muhammad cartoon debate."

Muslims across the globe are protesting against cartoons of the prophet Muhammad published in the biggest daily, Jyllands-Posten, in September. Demonstrations erupted last month after a Danish Muslim delegation went to the Middle East to rally support against the government for not censuring the paper.

Pia Kjaersgaard, leader and founder of the People's Party, has said members of the delegation should be tried for treason and should lose their Danish residence permits. She has also demanded that imams sign declarations of loyalty toward Denmark.

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Protesters burn consulate over cartoons


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