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Denmark bans 6 foreign religious 'hate preachers'

May 2, 2017

The list includes five Islamic preachers and US pastor Terry Jones and is aimed at preventing hate speech and protecting public order. Defiance of the ban could lead to a three-year jail term.

Dänemark Flagge
Image: picture-alliance/blickwinkel/S. Ziese

On the list are six foreign religious authorities: five Islamic preachers who are nationals of Canada, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United States and US Evangelical Pastor Terry Jones, who burned copies of the Koran in 2011.

"I am also very pleased that it is now clear to everyone that these people are not welcome in Denmark," Inger Stoejberg, the country's immigration and integration minister said on Tuesday while announcing the newly-published sanctions list.

The six religious leaders have been banned from entering Denmark for the next two years in order to prevent hate speech and protect public order.

A list of anti-democratic individuals

Dänemark | Ministerin für Integration, Ausländer und Wohnen Inger Stojberg
Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration Inger StoejbergImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/P. H. Olesen

Stoejberg described the listed individuals as "hate preachers" and "traveling fanatical religious preachers who try to undermine our democracy and fundamental values of freedom and human rights."

Violation of the ban could result in a fine or up to three years' imprisonment.

It was unclear whether any of the preachers had traveled to Denmark in the recent years, although German agency dpa reported that US imam Kamal El-Mekki had visited the Scandinavian country in the past and Canadian Muslim cleric Bilal Philips had traveled to Denmark in 2011.

From secret documentary to parliamentary law

The list of banned preachers was spurred by a February 2016 hidden-camera documentary that captured a radical imam in a Danish mosque preaching that adulterers should be stoned. The documentary's broadcast led to a debate in Danish society about how to stop the construction of parallel societies and prevent religious fanaticism.

Read more: Denmark extends ID checks along border

Pastor Terry Jones
US Evangelical preacher Terry Jones is one of the sanctioned individualsImage: picture-alliance/dpa

The law underpinning the creation of "the public national list" announced on Tuesday was passed in December 2016 with support from both the right-leaning government and the opposition Social Democrats.

Denmark is not the first European nation to have such legislation. The United Kingdom can block individuals with criminal convictions or those whose presence is "not conducive to the public good" from entering the country.

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The Danish ban is to be implemented by the country's Immigration Service.

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cmb/jm (dpa, AP)