The government's plan would deny 'hate preachers' entry into Denmark. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix
The plan would entail establishing a list of foreign imams and other religious leaders who have encouraged or promoted terrorism or expressed ‘anti-democratic’ opinions. Those on the list would be denied visas and immediately turned away if they attempt to pass through Danish border control stations.
The blacklist plan was first floated in March when Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen vowed to crack down on religious speech that “undermines Danish legislation” and preachers who “don't respect the basic norms in our society”.
Integration Minister Inger Støjberg told Jyllands-Posten on Monday that the blacklist was a “drastic” but necessary move.
“We will simply no longer allow entry to travelling preachers of hate who inspire others to break with Danish values. We will put an effective stop to it,” she said.
The blacklist, which would be established by the Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen – DIS) would preemptively deny access to anyone designated an “extremist” by authorities. According to Jyllands-Posten, DIS would create the list using information found online or provided by Danish or foreign law enforcement agencies.
“It’s a drastic step to take but we will not accept people who undermine the Danish foundation of freedom,” Støjberg said.
The public blacklist would only include individuals who are not residents of the EU, but Jyllands-Posten wrote that the Danish government is also proposing a “secret observation list” for religious figures who legally reside within the EU.
Under the plan, anyone who ends up on the blacklist could challenge the Danish government by filing a complaint with the Immigration Appeals Board (Udlændingenævnet).
Jacob Mchangama, the director of the think tank Justitia, slammed the government’s proposal as a “form of mind control”.
“It is very unclear what [qualifies as] anti-democratic opinions and why one is not allowed to have these opinions,” he told news agency Ritzau.
Speaking to Jyllands-Posten, he also criticized the government for singling out religious figures.
“It’s a paradox that the government will only have these limitations on free speech affect religious preachers. That means that a Nazi who supports persecution of Jews can have unhindered access while religious leaders cannot,” he said.