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Thursday, 15 January 2015


Denmark’s parliament is debating whether a mosque in the country’s west should be shut after police said it was used to recruit fighters for Islamic State. “One of the most important tasks of the intelligence forces is to monitor people leaving to fight in Syria and Iraq who then try to return to Denmark,” Justice MinisterMette Frederiksen told lawmakers today. “Those people should be in no doubt that they’re being watched 24/7.” The debate, which comes a week after Islamist extremists targeted satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in France’s worst terrorist massacre in half a century, shows immigration is emerging as a key theme ahead of Danish elections due to take place by September. “In these times, it’s particularly important that Denmark consider what steps we’re taking to combat extremism,” Frederiksen said. “The attacks in France only made this debate more relevant. When such a violent, inhumane attack happens it shows our democracies, our freedom of speech are under attack.” Denmark became the target of violent protests across much of the Muslim world in early 2006, a few months after newspaper Jyllands-Posten published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The motion to shut the mosque was put forward by an opposition bloc led by the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, which polls show has won two-thirds more followers since 2011. The party now enjoys the backing of about 20 percent of the electorate, according to an average of polls compiled by newspaper Berlingske. The mosque being debated in parliament today is in Aarhus, Denmark’s biggest city after the capital Copenhagen. In a documentary by local broadcaster Danmarks Radio, a number of clerics from the mosque openly supported Islamic State, a militant Sunni Muslim group that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria. A 2013 police study showed that 22 of the 27 Danes based in Aarhus who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq had attended the mosque. Frederiksen said she was “tempted” to shut the mosque, but told parliament such a move was unlikely to win government backing due to obstacles in the country’s constitution. The biggest opposition party, the Liberals, also said it won’t back the motion. Denmark would consider taking away the passport of any citizen found to have ties to Islamic State, Frederiksen said. LINK:

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