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Denmark to restrict radical imams

Feb. 18, 2004 • Thursday February 19, 2004

The Danish government has proposed amendments to its immigration laws aimed at restricting the entry of radical Muslim clergymen.

The changes would require clerics to prove educational qualifications and financial self-sufficiency.

A government spokesman said rules would apply to all, but they were intended to curb the activities of radical imams.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

The government is also planning to increase penalties for anyone hiding illegal immigrants.

The changes would affect imams already in Denmark as well as new immigrants.


Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen outlined the proposals on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting.

“Access to obtaining a Danish residence permit for foreign missionaries has been too easy up until now,” he said.

“That is why we now put forward new requirements for residing in the country.”

The proposed changes are part of a deal reached in September between the Liberal-Conservative government, the far-right Danish People’s Party, and the opposition Social Democrats.

They are expected to be approved swiftly by the parliament.

Islam is the second largest religion in the predominantly Lutheran Protestant country.

Muslims account for 3% of the population, or 170,000 people.

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