There are 26 Muslim schools in Denmark. While they operate independently of the public schools, the state sponsors them heavily — as it does other independent schools in Denmark — covering 75 % of their budget. The demand for Muslim schools in Denmark has grown in the last decade, as Muslim schools have increased their number of pupils by almost 50% since 2007; they now cater to almost 5,000 pupils. (It is unknown, however, how many Muslim children learn in the so-called “Koran schools,” where Islam and Arabic are taught after school to those children who do not attend a Muslim day school. Koran schools — as revealed in the Danish TV documentary “Sharia in Denmark“) — are not under any supervision from state or municipal authorities).
Danish educational authorities are currently investigating seven Muslim schools for failing to follow the laws of independent schools, including the requirement that they prepare the students for life in Danish society, and teaching them about democracy and gender equality. That amounts to more than one quarter of all Muslim schools. The first Muslim school opened in Denmark in 1980. Nearly forty years later, Danish politicians appear to be only beginning to comprehend or take seriously the challenges that several of these schools present to Danish society.
Danish news outlets exposed some of those challenges this summer:
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