Denmark to make foreign mosque funding illegal

A new law proposal from the Danish government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party would make it illegal for foreign governments and authorities to give money to religious communities and institutions in Denmark.
The law will be implemented if the donations are assessed to pose a security threat and undermine Denmark’s fundamental freedoms and democracy. The ban will cover loans, gifts, donation of equipment, financial aid to staff and even hiring premises.
Extensive support to mosques from countries such as Qatar and Turkey is said to be one of the primary reasons for the ban.
In the past, countries such as Turkey and Qatar have donated money to both religious bodies and mosques.
“We have been extremely frustrated by the examples of mosques funded from abroad. And I am sure that a ban on foreign donations will stop the cash flow”, the Danish People’s Party’s foreign spokesman, Martin Henriksen, says.
Turkey has invested in mosques in Roskilde and Holbæk, and Qatar has donated an estimated DKK 100 million (€13.5 million) for the construction of a brand new mosque in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district.
However, experts fear that the move could provoke a backlash abroad.
“It is obvious that such a move could be seen as harassment in Turkey and yet another example of the religious inequality,” says Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke, a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.
According to a 2018 estimate, Denmark, a nation of 5.5 million, had a Muslim population of slightly over 300,000 (or 5.3 percent), which is increasing due to immigration.

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