As a video of the apparent beheading of another US journalist by the Islamic State (IS) sickened most of the civilised world, a mosque in Denmark expressed its support of the aims – if not the tactics – of the jihadist group.
Fadi Abdallah, a spokesperson for the Grimhøj Mosque in Aarhus, said he would welcome the establishment of a Sharia-based caliphate in Syria.
“An Islamic state will always be what we Muslims yearn for, and therefore we cannot help but support the IS,” Abdallah told Den Korte Avis. “Even if they have made mistakes, we must wait and see.”
“I understand why they are killing people”
The Islamic State genocide of Iraqis and Syrians, and its apparent beheading of now two American journalists. has angered people worldwide, but Abdallah held fast to his support of the group and said that while he does not support the violence, he accepts it as necessary.
“Things are different down there than they are here, and I understand why they are killing people," he said.
The Grimhøj Mosque has frequently been associated with terrorist sympathisers, and Danish imam Abu Bilal Ismail, a regular speaker at the mosque, has encouraged followers to kill Jews and is accused of encouraging young members to travel to Syria to fight in the holy war.
A call to remove citizenship
Opposition parties Venstre, Konservative and Dansk Folkeparti want to give the government the power to strip Dane who travel to Syria to fight of their nationality.
“We want the government to investigate whether it is possible to rescind the citizenship from these people if they have another nationality to fall back on," Venstre spokesperson Karsten Lauritzen told Berlingske.
Per capita, Denmark has the second largest number of citizens fighting in Syria, according to rankings of the Western countries compiled by the Economist.
Many leave to fight
The Danish intelligence service, PET, estimates that about 100 Danes have travelled to Syria to fight in the civil war, TV2 News reports.
Only Belgium had a higher per capita representation than Denmark.
Norway is currently at work on a bill that would withdraw citizenship from citizens who have voluntarily engaged in the military service of another country.
An anti-terrorism law in place in the UK since 2002 gives the government the power to rescind the citizenship from anyone considered to be a threat to national security.