Malmö-based artist Dan Park was reported to the police after a recent visit to the Jutland town of Silkeborg.
Park and a team of supporters posted flyers featuring a refugee family portrayed as terrorists. The flyers, which were also distributed to private post boxes, were a recreation of the ‘Refugees Welcome’ logo.
Instead of depicting a fleeing family holding hands and running, Park’s version shows the family members clutching weapons and dragging a child who is wearing a suicide belt. The flyers read “Terrorist Welcome – bring your weapons.”
Image: Dan Park
The flyers were reported to the local police in Silkeborg, who after legal consideration said there were no grounds to charge the artist or his supporters with making threats or inciting terror. Instead, those involved with displaying and distributing the image will each be fined 1,000 Danish kroner.
“The three people who were part of the distribution will be charged with hanging the posters on, among other things, electrical boxes. That is not legal. On top of that, they received an admonition that they think twice before doing something like that again,” police spokesman Flemming Just told MidtJyllands Avis, adding that the posters had been displayed in other Danish towns as well.
Michala Bendixen, the chairwoman of Refugees Welcome Denmark, told The Local that Park's comparison of refugees to terrorists was “sad”.
“Most of the refugees are fleeing from precisely terrorism in some form and only a small part of terrorism in Europe has been committed by Islamists.The main reason Syrians give for choosing Denmark is 'human rights' and the main reason for granting asylum is a refusal to join military forces – most refugees are so sick of war and fighting,” she said.
“Dan Park is an established racist who will do anything for attention. I think we should ignore him,” Bendixen added.
“As much attention as possible”
The head of a Danish committee that supports Dan Park’s work told the regional newspaper that the flyers were meant to “attract as much attention as possible”.
“To consider the works as incitement to terror couldn’t be more wrong. [If that’s the case] then one doesn’t understand that Dan Park utlilizes a lot of irony in his work. The discussed piece ‘Terrorists Welcome’ is clearly not an incitement to terror but to the contrary is about the risk that there could be terrorist among the many refugees coming to the country,” Ibi-Pippi Orup Hedegaard told MidtJyllands Avis.
Park is no stranger to controversy in Denmark or Sweden. The artist first garnered attention in 2011 with a picture of the leader of the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) superimposed on the image of a naked man in chains with the text “our negro slave has run away”. Park was given a fine and a suspended sentence.
In August 2014, the artist was convicted by a Malmö court on charges of inciting racial agitation and defamation and sentenced to six months in jail.
That incident followed two earlier convictions for racial agitation. The Swedish state ordered nine of Park’s controversial works – which include an image that depicts three Swedish residents with African backgrounds portrayed with nooses around their necks, a Catholic bishop receiving fellatio from a young boy and Jesus having sex with Muhammad – to be destroyed, but the Danish Free Press Society (Trykkefrihedsselskabet) obtained the pieces and sold them online.
In October 2014, the group displayed Park’s banned works in Copenhagen, both at the Danish parliament building and in a basement location in the district of Østerbro.
Park was then assaulted in Copenhagen on New Year’s Day, which he said was a direct result of his controversial artwork.
The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) said last month that there was little risk that terrorists were among the refugees and migrants currently entering Denmark.