Waging jihad while collecting unemployment. Photo: Stringer/Scanpix
According to an Employment Ministry document obtained by Radio24syv, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) told the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR) that there have been 32 instances of Danes receiving unemployment benefits from the state while waging jihad in Syria.
The payments to the 32 individuals amount to a total of 378,000 kroner ($58,000 or 51,000 euros).
“STAR has thus far received information pertaining to 32 people who, according to PET’s information, have gone abroad in relation to the conflict in Syria while at the same time receiving social benefits in the form of kontanthjælp and dagpenge [two types of unemployment benefits, ed.],” a document from STAR stated.
Denmark has one of the world's most generous unemployment insurance systems, with those on the dagpenge scheme receiving up to 801 kroner ($122, 107 euros) per day for up to two years. Kontanthjælp is a significantly more modest benefit.
It is the duty of the municipalities and the private unemployment insurers known as A-kasser to require repayments of benefits given to individuals who are not available to the Danish labour market and to report suspicion of welfare fraud to the police. According to the obtained documents however just one of the 32 cases was reported.
Peter Skaarup of the Danish People’s Party said the revelations show just how “careless” Denmark has been with regards to jihadists.
“There has been a lot of talk about how serious it is, but when it comes to the practical consequences we can see that nobody does anything,” Skaarup told BT.
“I think that every single case should be turned over to the police immediately because you are not available to the job market when you are in the midst of Syria’s civil war and if we are to send a signal that we won’t accept these Syrian fighters going down there, we need to put more consequences in place,” he added.
PET first revealed in November that Danish jihadists were receiving unemployment benefits while fighting in Syria.