Danish identity under threat from Muslim immigrants


COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Raving xenophobe or fearless defender of Danish values

Nationalist leader Pia Kjaersgaard's anti-Muslim outbursts have earned her many labels _ and many votes.

Despite predictions of her populist Danish People's Party's demise, Kjaersgaard remains a powerful force in domestic politics after winning 14 percent of the vote in last week's election.
«The most important thing for the Danish People's Party is to maintain the Danish identity,» Kjaersgaard, 60, told The Associated Press in an interview.

«I am convinced that the Islamists want to sneak Sharia (Islamic law) through the back door, that they want to combat Western society and they want Islam to become the main religion,» she said.
Her party _ Denmark's third biggest _ has held the role of kingmaker since 2001, giving the center-right government the backing it needs for a majority in Parliament.

In return, Kjaersgaard has been able to press the government to adopt some of Europe's strictest immigration laws, which she says have been instrumental in stemming the inflow of Muslims with radical views.

There are an estimated 200,000 Muslims among Denmark's 5.4 million residents.