The Sunday Magazine

Listener mail - "Jihadi Town"

Listeners comment on Karin's documentary, "Jihadi Town."

Reaction to Karin Wells's documentary from Aarhus, Denmark

As Karin Wells told us last week in her documentary, "Jihadi Town", the Danish city of Aarhus has an unusual way of dealing with young ISIS recruits who want to come home. They are enrolled in rehabilitation programs, rather than sent to jail -- given a second chance in the name of prevention and security.

Karin's story provoked hundreds of online comments.

This is from Margaret Lonsdale of Lloydminster, Alberta: "I don't know if a program such as the one the Danes are attempting will be effective, but I commend them for trying something positive. Rejection, alienation, and the lack of a purposeful life may contribute to a person being influenced by extremists who take advantage of their instability."

From John Terpstra of Calgary: "Under no circumstances should murderous jihadists be allowed to return to the democratic civilized societies they turned their backs on. They made their choice, now let them live their wretched lives in their jihadist utopian society. Good riddance and don't come back."
From Emerset Farquharson of Burlington, Ontario: "Punishment doesn't work. It didn't work in William Wallace's time, it didn't work in Stalin's regime, it didn't work in the French Revolution. You don't need to kill people to kill an ideology. That's the wrong way to go about it."

From Donald Skogstad, Penticton, B.C.: "Denmark's approach is somewhat like Norway's treatment of prisoners -- help and rehabilitate. That has proven to lead to the lowest recidivism rate in the world. If what Denmark does works, that's all that matters."

From Annika Eleuthera in Toronto: "I am Danish-born, Toronto raised - I lived in Aarhus in 2013.  My experience is that it is openly racist and xenophobic. Danes have an arrogance that their way is the best - and therefore the only way. I'm pretty convinced that I had known some of the people who left for Syria. I hope you can have a Sunday Edition dealing with some of the factors that Denmark has itself contributed, to the alienation of those kids, and why they would feel compelled to go and find a better meaning for themselves in their life."

From Levi Garber: "I am a Jewish-Canadian student living and studying here in the beautiful city of Aarhus. I have never felt unsafe, and any intolerance I have witnessed was directed at the Muslim community by white Danes. Denmark is going through a process of re-defining itself as a multicultural society, but it is still in its early stages."

And finally.. this note from André Carrel in Terrace, B.C.: "I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate contributions made to the program by Karin Wells. Always informative, well-researched, and presented in a way that spurs interest in the subject."

You can add your thoughts here. Or click here, to send us an email. Our direct email address is

We did explore the alienation of European Muslims on the program - our special hour-long conversation is called "I am Ahmed". You can find it here.

In the weeks to come, Karin Wells will report from the city of Malmö, Sweden, where the immigrant population is growing faster than the country can cope, and the tiny Jewish community is facing increasingly blatant anti-Semitism.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

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