Danish Deputy PM Wants 'Radical' Imams Out

Denmark ought to expel "radical" imams from the Scandinavian country, Deputy Prime Minister Bendt Bendtsen said Friday, March 24, following controversial statements by a Danish imam.

Danish Deputy PM Wants 'Radical' Imams Out

"Once the uproar over the Muhammad cartoons has calmed down, we should examine the imams' right to residency," Bendtsen, a member of the junior coalition party Conservatives, told Danish public broadcaster TV2, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"I think that people who behave like this have no place here and should go elsewhere," he said.

Imam Ahmad Akkari has dismissed as a mere joke statements he made in a tea break of an interview with a French TV channel on the blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

In the documentary, which was aired by French public broadcaster France 2 on Thursday evening, Akkari was shown threatening Naser Khader, a Danish member of parliament.

"If he becomes minister for immigration or integration, shouldn't we send two guys to blow him and his ministry up?," Akkari said.

Akkari blasted the cameraman for keeping his camera rolling while having a tea break.

Danish Citizen

Akkari, who is originally from Lebanon, has Danish citizenship.

Citizenship can only be withdrawn under special circumstances in Denmark, such as committing espionage that endangers the nation's security or terrorist acts against the state.

Danish imams have said the government is trying to demonize them in the eyes of the public because they "internationalized" the cartoons crisis after their calls to condemn the drawings had fallen on deaf ear at home.

They criticized Immigration Minister Rikke Hvilshoj's call to exclude some of them from integration dialogue in the Scandinavian country as a punishment.

The anti-immigrant People's Party went even far by calling for revoking citizenship of three imams including Akkari for their multi-leg Middle East tour, which was seen by the government as the main reason for whipping up the storm of controversy that led to the global row over the offensive cartoons.

The cartoons were first published by Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in September and reprinted later by European newspapers on claims of freedom of expression.

They have triggered massive and sometimes violent demonstrations across the Muslim world.

Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said he regretted the hurt caused to Muslims but refuses to apologize on behalf of the paper. The editor of Jyllands-Posten has apologized for offending Muslims but defended the paper's right to publish the cartoons.

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Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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