Danish Queen Says Tolerance of Muslims Has Limits

Denmark's Queen Margrethe urged Muslim immigrants to learn Danish to help them feel more at home and said in an official biography published on Thursday society should show limited tolerance of radical Islam.

"We are being challenged by Islam these years. Globally as well as locally," said the 64-year-old queen, who was interviewed by journalist Annelise Bistrup for her book "Margrethe."

"We must take this challenge seriously. We have simply left it flapping around for far too long, because we are tolerant and rather lazy," she is quoted as saying.

About 8 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million people are immigrants -- about a third of those come from other European Union countries or North America and only 150,000 are Muslims.

Among the immigrants is Margrethe's daughter-in-law, the very popular Crown Princess Mary, who is from Australia.

But Denmark has cracked down on migration in the past three years and the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party, an ally of the center-right government, has pushed through laws making it harder to bring in foreign spouses or qualify for asylum.

The monarch said people who dedicated their lives to religion were fascinating and felt she had gained insight into Islam from her studies of archaeology.

She went on to say "there is also something frightening about such a totality which is also a part of Islam. A certain response must be shown and sometimes one must run the risk of being labeled in a less flattering way. Because there are certain things with which one should not be tolerant."

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen won a second term in February thanks to the popularity of new rules which have cut the number of asylum-seekers by 80 percent. Human rights organizations have criticized such measures.

Many newcomers to the Nordic country do not learn Danish and the unemployment rate among immigrants -- particularly from developing countries -- is still much higher than among Danes, as are crime rates.

"We could have handled this challenge a bit better, if we had realized what we were up against," Margrethe said.

Muslims should learn the language properly to prevent them feeling excluded and seeking security in radical Islam.

"Therefore it is wise to make demands on the language. We should not be content with living next to each other. We should rather live together," she said.