Five years of meta research concludes: Danes are not racists, xenophobes or Islamophobes, we have "rational concerns"

Islam versus Europe 17 January 2013
By Nicolai Sennels

A phobia means "irrational fear" and there is nothing irrational about worrying about a religion preaching genocide or the obvious and gigantic negative consequences of the many immigrated, fanatical, criminal and violent followers of this religion.

Professor Henning Bech from the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen and Associate Professor Mehmet Ümit Necef from the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Southern Denmark have the guts say it exactly the way it is. Translated by Nicolai Sennels, Weekendavisen January 11 2013 "Preaching to the saved":

"Falsified. Danish research on immigrants has the last twenty years assessed that there is a widespread, growing racism in Denmark. But that assumption is without scientific evidence a university professor and a university lecturer concludes in a new spectacular critical examination of the sources used by those concluding that Danes are racists.

... The book "Are Danes racist? Problems with research on immigrants" is published next week by Frydenlund publishers - but it is by no means only joyful what flows out of the 363 pages.

The two researchers have read the research on racism produced the last twenty years. The researchers wanted to determine whether there has been solid scientific evidence of the prevailing assumption of increased racism. After five years of thorough studies, Professor Henning Bech from the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen and Associate Professor Mehmet Ümit Necef from the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Southern Denmark present two closely contiguous conclusions. One is certainly good news, while the other is absolutely bad.

The good news is that Bech and Necef state that "there is much less scientific evidence of racism in Denmark, than you would think from the amount of claims that thrive in the public debate." The bad news is that "the research literature that speaks of widespread Danish racism, is typically characterized by not living up to normal standards of science."

The conclusions are based by Bech and Necef on the most relentless scientific tool you can use against other researchers: the classical source criticism. The 67-year-old Henning Bech and the 60-year-old Mehmet Ümit Necef thoroughly analyzed more than twenty Danish researchers' references, qoutes and statistics. They show that there is a clear tendency to confuse citizens' rational concerns "with racism, or so-called "new racism".

The authors point out a lot of methodological problems and sloppiness in research on immigrants. On almost every page of the book Bech and Necef use phrases such as "frivolous generalizations", "bad interviewing methods and testing", "fallacies and interpretations", "too flimsy and unsystematic selected empirical material", "assertions without evidence" and "impressionistic use of impressions, failure to cite sources and unsubstantiated information." Bech and Necef have also checked the original primary sources for quotes that research on immigrants has used to demonstrate Danish racism. The result is not a pretty sight. Politician-quotes and interviews with ordinary citizens are seemingly cut and taken out of contexts so that they can confirm scientists' assumptions of racism among Danes. ...

Mehmet Umit Necef continues: "This research takes place in a closed, uncritical circuit that promotes sloppy use of sources. The researchers are not concerned that their scientific errors will be discovered, since they are preaching to the saved. They all have this politically correct view and agree that Denmark has become a racist country." Henning Bech adds: "We do not write that the many documented chicaneries we have identified is something that scientists do consciously. I think the problem is that most scientists share a multicultural paradigm that immigrants' culture should not be used as an explanatory factor when it comes to integration. They only accept social factors as an explanation. On the other hand, they blame Western culture as well to explain the alleged racism in the Danish population. ...

This is typical for Danish research on immigrants, says Mehmet Ümit Necef:

"Conjectures become unquestionable truths. This is how the talk of widespread discrimination on the labor market has become something of an urban legend," Necef says. Bech adds: "You can get the idea that there exists a kind of public compulsion to do discrimination studies on the labor market. They must come to the conclusion that there is discrimination against immigrants and refugees, regardless of how little evidence there is. And even researchers who otherwise are serious and thorough, claim on the basis of their studies, that there is discrimination, although their studies cannot clearly prove it. We do not claim that there is no discrimination on the labor market. On the contrary, it seems to us that it is not unlikely that there is at least some discrimination, now that so many say it. We ask only whether it is documented in research. It is not, at least not in the texts we have studied." - What intentions lie behind this kind of research on immigrants? "The researchers talking about widespread racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia among Danes believe - both in their head and their heart - that immigrants actually suffer widespread racism, and that it is their scientific duty to identify and combat this," assesses Mehmet Ümit Necef.

"The intention is to do good," Henning Bech adds. "You think you are doing something good by exaggerating xenophobia among Danes and by understating the immigrants' overrepresentation in crime and unemployment statistics. But unfortunately, it can be observed that the effect of the research is negative. It can lead to demonization of Danes and make Muslims irresponsible for their own mistakes. It is clear that in the long term this will damage integration of immigrants.""

(continue reading...)