A new clip from a hidden camera used for the TV2 documentary ‘Mosques behind the veil’ (Moskeerne bag sløret) shows an imam at the controversial Grimhøj Mosque in Aarhus suggesting appropriate ways to physically punish children who do not pray.
The clip shows an imam telling the female-only audience that children ten and older who refuse to pray should be beaten in an “educational” way.
“Fear Allah, brothers and sisters, teach your children to pray. It is mandatory for you to teach them to pray from the age of seven years old. And even to beat them if they do not pray when they are ten years old,” the visiting Imam from Copenhagen is heard saying in video.
“You hit them as education and to learn,” he continued.
The recording continues to show a member of the female audience query the imam as to how a child should be beaten if they fail to pray.
“It is not allowed to punch them, knock them into a wall or break their bones. It is also not allowed to take a knife to them and cut them. You hit them as education and learning. Not as violence,” the imam replies.
The TV2 clip was the second in as many days to reveal some of the controversial messages espoused at the Aarhus mosque. In a previous clip, imam Abu Bilal Ismail advocates the stoning and whipping of adulterers.
Garbi Schmidt, a professor of Intercultural Studies at Roskilde University, said that the comments about hitting children legitimize the use of violence within the Islamic community and that more should be done by individuals to protest against such teachings.
“The religious scholars who would want to be role models within the community should stand up and say this is an unacceptable interpretation of our religion,” Schmidt told TV2.
The Grimhøj Mosque received a transcript of the recordings and responded 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.
Child psychologist Kuno Sørensen from Save the Children Denmark (Red Barnet) believes the mosque's teachings could be criminal.
“It is very problematic. In this way, as it is said here, it is supporting something that is a criminal act, an act that is harmful to children,” Sørensen told TV2.
The new TV2 documentary has re-ignited a national debate about the Grimhøj Mosque, which in September 2014 declared its support for the terrorist group Isis, comments reiterated by El-Saadi just a few months later.
Ismail has also been caught on camera calling on God to “destroy the Zionist Jews”.
In the wake of the new documentary, a number of politicians have called for the mosque to be closed down.
Justice Minister Søren Pind said on Monday that he was looking in to the issue.
“I'm aware of the problems created by religiously clouded individuals. I've worked on it since taking office,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that “answers will come”.