• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Denmark wants to deport extremist imams
The Mosque at Grimhøjvej, Aarhus, that is at the centre of the political storm. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix

Denmark wants to deport extremist imams

The Local · 3 Mar 2016, 12:02

Published: 03 Mar 2016 12:01 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Mar 2016 12:02 GMT+01:00

Marcus Knuth, the integration spokesman for ruling party Venstre, proposed on Thursday that all foreign imams be banned from Denmark following hidden recordings of imams at the Grimhøj Mosque saying that adulterers should be stoned and that children should be beaten for not praying.

Knuth's call came after opposition leader Mette Frederiksen of the Social Democrats suggested that European countries set up a joint system to combat extremist imams that would entail deporting those known to have spoken against democracy or encouraged violence in other countries.

See also: New clip from Danish mosque: Hit kids who don't pray

But Knuth said more immediate action is required.

“Mette Frederiksen is talking about a joint European solution against radical imams, which sounds good, and would be fine in the long run. But I think we need a concrete Danish solution in the short term,” Knuth told news agency Ritzau.

“I believe we should go further [than the proposed European cooperation], and see whether we can deport all foreign imams that come to Denmark,” Knuth continued. “I’m not saying it’s possible under current laws, but we should look into it.”

“If you have to find out who is radical and who isn’t, you need an as-yet non-existent European registry, and I think it will take too long. We need some initiatives that will work here and now.”

Church minister: "Completely unacceptable"
Church Minister Bertel Haarder said on Wednesday that one step the government could take would be to strip imams who espouse of their legal authority to officiate weddings. 

"It is completely unacceptable when religious leaders encourage that type of thing," he said in a press release about the mosque's support for stoning adulterers. 

"It is not only a human rights violation it also goes directly against all ambitions to create better integration," he added. 

Despite the calls for action, controversy around the Grimhøj Mosque is not new. This week’s TV2 documentary has re-ignited a national debate about the Aarhus mosque, which in September 2014 made international headlines after declaring its support for the terrorist group Isis. In January 2015, the mosques’s chairman, Oussama El-Saadi, doubled down on the comments in a DR documentary, saying “we want the Islamic State to come out on top. We want an Islamic state in the world.”

Clips from the new TV2 programme show a visiting Copenhagen imam telling a female-only audience that children aged ten and older who refuse to pray should be beaten in an "educational" way and, in a previous clip, imam Abu Bilal Ismail is seen advocating the stoning and whipping of adulterers.

Ismail has previously been caught on video calling on God to "destroy the Zionist Jews".

"A national fight for freedom"
Frederiksen told Berlingske on Thursday that Danish Muslims need to undergo a "national fight for freedom" to get out from under the “extreme pressure" within parts of the Muslim community.

"We have a very large group of Muslims who are well-integrated and embrace Danish society. But they are under extreme pressure from the radical Muslim environment, which, unfortunately, is growing, and is much more than just Grimhøj Mosque," the opposition leader said. 

Story continues below…

But Thomas Hoffmann, a professor of Quranic Studies at the University of Copenhagen, told Politiken that many Muslims in the public debate in Denmark have said that they do not feel represented by the leaders of the Grimhøj Mosque or their form of Islam.

“The promotion of this kind of punishment [stoning adulterers and hitting children, ed.] by the Grimhøj Mosque is highly unlikely to be representative of what the majority of Muslims in Denmark or the rest of the world wish for or actually practice,” said Hoffmann.

The Islamic Society in Denmark (Islamisk Trossamfund) recently released a statement saying it "does not want to see anyone stoned neither now nor in any other hypothetical situation".

The Grimhøj Mosque itself responded to a transcript of the recordings by stating that the video only gives a small insight into the teachings of the mosque and does not reflect the whole picture.

“We cannot believe everything that comes from you. The recording only shows a few seconds rather than hours. Therefore, it is not certain that you did not just collect things to cheat people,” the mosque's chairman, Oussama El-Saadi, told TV2.

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
File photo of volunteers awaiting arriving migrants at Copenhagen Central Station. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix

UPDATED: A total of 79,600 kroner was seized from five Iranian nationals.

Roskilde Festival 2016
The Local's not-quite-live Roskilde 2016 blog
Young love, summer and Roskilde – could it be more beautiful? Photo: Bobby Anwar

We're posting updates all week as a field in Roskilde is temporarily turned in to the fourth largest city in Denmark.

Opinion
Stop trashing your city, Copenhagen residents!
This is not a garbage can! Photo: Louis Volpe

Denmark and its capital have a lot to be proud of, but the way residents treat the entire city like a rubbish bin is not one of them, writes American expat Louis Volpe.

Danish bankers eye Brexit cash-in
File photo: Vladimir Wrangel/Iris/Scanpix

Experts in the Danish finance industry have called for changes to tax laws so that Denmark can take advantage of a potential banking exodus from London following last week's Brexit vote.

Dejlige Days Welcome
Why you should learn Danish (and how it will benefit you)
Learning Danish will open up personal and professional opportunities. Photo: william87/Iris/Scanpix

Relocation expert Melanie Haynes offers up her eight top reasons for why you should at least make an effort to learn the local language.

Danes with foreign spouses to be hit by new restriction
Some 200,000 Danes living abroad could be impacted by the new rule. Photo: Iris

Danes and their foreign spouses will now have a much harder time living in Denmark.

Danish students and caps: What’s all the noise about?
Thousands of young students have taken to the streets of Denmark wearing their caps. Photo: Knud Erik Christensen/Colourbox

During the month of June, Danish towns are overtaken by jubilant young adults wearing assorted styles of graduation caps (studenterhuer). The Local brings you a guide to what the caps mean, their history and significance to the class of 2016.

Photo gallery
Devil horns up! A photo journey through Copenhell
Copenhell was completely sold out for the first time ever. Photo: Philip B. Hansen

The Local joined the headbanging masses at this year's Copenhell heavy metal festival to bring you this devilish photo report.

Roskilde Festival 2016
From Russia with love: Snowden addresses Roskilde
Snowden's broadcast address was watched by a large and enthusiastic crowd. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

Broadcast live from Moscow, whistleblower Edward Snowden was greeted like a rock star by the festival crowd.

Cage eggs soon to be a thing of the past in Denmark
Cage eggs are laid by hens that never see the light of day. Photo: Vi Ælsker Æg

Denmark’s largest retail company will stop selling eggs laid by cage chickens.

Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
International
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
National
Denmark scraps green card but spares current holders
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
National
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Society
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
National
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Culture
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
2,269
jobs available