Danish Government plans to strip radical imams of citizenship

Imams preaching a view ‘contrary to Danish morals’ are ‘disturbing the public order’ and should be removed, officials say

Those who preach ideas contrary to the Danish constitution could be stripped of their citizenship if proposals put forward by an anti-immigration party are adopted by the country's government.

The right-wing Danish People's Party (DPP) - which currently holds the second most seats in the country’s multi-party parliament - put forward the plans in an attempt to expel outspoken imam Abu Bilal Ismail, the Local says. 

Ismail, a leading imam at the Grimhoj mosque in the city of Aarhus, has called for the destruction of Jews and a recent documentary revealed appeared to show him advocating the stoning of adulterous women and the killing of apostates.

Follow-up legislation could potentially expand the limits of the Danish constitution to restrict religious freedom in extreme cases.

Martin Hendriksen, the DPP's immigration spokesman, said: “The Constitution says that anyone can practice their faith so long as it is not contrary to morals, or disturbing to the public order,” Politiko reports. 

He continued: “When imams endorse or recommend stoning, or when an imam tells a woman subjected to violence by her husband that that’s okay, then that constitutes, in my opinion, subversive speech that disturbs the public order. 

“Some of these imams are Danish citizens, and we think we should deprive them of their citizenship.” 

The proposals have apparently been backed by the Social Democrats, the coalition’s largest group, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, practically securing a majority for the bill in parliament.

Marcus Knuth, the Liberal Party’s immigration spokesman, said it was “a really good idea”, according to the Local

“You have to come down as hard as possible on these environments. You are not just talking about twisted old imams. These are the mosques that have shaped many Syrian fighters, and they can be a threat to national security.”

Mr Ismail, who was already a controversial figure, has been at the forefront of a debate on the restriction of religious freedoms in the country since the airing of the TV2 programme called Moskeerne bag sløret – 'Mosques behind the veil' – last month.

In it, Mr Ismail, an imam of the Grimhøj Mosque in Aarhus, was caught on a hidden camera suggesting women should be stoned to death for adultery.

This was not the first time the Aarhus mosque has made headlines. In 2014 a spokesperson said the mosque supported Isis, a view many representatives of the mosque have since backed.