This is a week old from the Copenhagen Post but it is an on-going situation.
A vicar hunted from his home by local vandals is being backed by politicians and locals alike.
The country’s leading politicians, including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, attended a Sunday service to show their support for an ousted vicar at the weekend.
Police and Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) agents discreetly kept watch on Tingbjerg Church on Sunday as the prime minister, Danish People’s Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard, former Social Minister Karen Jespersen and a host of other ministers and local politicians showed solidarity with the vicar, Ulrich Vogel.
Vogel has been the vicar of the north western district of Tingbjerg, Copenhagen, since 1992, but went on sick leave earlier this month and is hiding abroad after a lengthy campaign of harassment and vandalism from local youths.
The vicarage has come under attack numerous times in the last year, with windows being smashed, bottles being thrown at the wall and in one case – someone broke in and destroyed furniture, paintings and ripped cables out of the walls. The vicarage has now been put up for sale.
There was suggestion that Vogel’s homosexuality was the reason he was being targeted by vandals, but the vicar told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper that the root of the problem is much more widespread.
‘As a vicar I represent an institution and normality that isn’t welcomed by these young people. Furthermore, lots of others who aren’t homosexual have been harassed,’ Vogel said from his undisclosed location.
Since 2008, social order has deteriorated in Tingbjerg, following a high-profile murder that was seen as an accelerant to the current gang conflict. The local school was set on fire, public transport smashed up and the destruction of private and public property has become a regular occurrence.
When a film crew from TV2 News recently went to report on the troubles in the area, local youths objecting to their presence smashed up the news crew’s vehicle.
About 70 percent of the 5000 residents in the area are from a non-Danish ethnic background and Integration Minister Birthe Rønn Hornbech suggests that a lack of integration is to blame for the troubles in the area.
‘The City Council has unconsciously crammed anti-social and un-integrated immigrants together in large housing complexes.... It’s up to the council with a whole new housing policy and the police with a far better effort to ensure that Tingbjerg is integrated into society and offenders learn to obey the laws of society,’ Hornbech wrote in a Kristeligt Dagblad column.
The extent of vandalism has surpassed what you would normally associate with pranks. It feels like malice in its purest form,’ Vogel said
Pia Kjærsgaard declared it was important to show contempt for the vandals and their actions and criticised the city council for allowing the situation to disintegrate to this point.
The comment left by a local reader:-
We see every day young palestinians throwing stones against israeli army.....In Tingbjerg young Arabs throw stones to the local preast.
I guess Tingbjerg is considered Arab territory occupied by Danish settlers.