Concerns mount about mosque’s ties to Hamas TV station
While concerns mount about co-operation between a new mosque and a Hamas-sponsored TV station, Islamic organisation Dansk Islamisk Råd has announced that they have no formal agreement in place with Al-Aqsa TV.
Mohamed al Maimouni, the media spokesperson for Dansk Islamisk Råd, which built the mosque on Rovsingsgade Road in in the Østerbro district, told The Copenhagen Post yesterday that the media centre would be used to produce content for several Arab TV stations, including Al-Aqsa.
According to al Maimouni, Dansk Islamisk Råd has created content for Al-Aqsa TV in the past and will continue work with the broadcaster as long as what it reports is in line with his own organisation’s viewpoint.
“If they try to move their content into a political direction that we do not agree with, we will decline,” al Maimouni said.
But today Dansk Islamisk Råd released a statement saying it had been misquoted.
“[Dansk Islamisk Råd] has considered formally collaborating with Al Jazeera and other selected news channels, but so far no firm agreements are in place,” the organisation stated.
According to Radio- og tv-nævnet, a national broadcasting regulator, Al-Aqsa TV has not applied to broadcast from Denmark, which could put it in violation of anti-terror legislation if it promoted Hamas.
But even if the TV station only uses the mosque’s facilities to produce content that is broadcast abroad, Jacob Mchangama, director of legal affairs at liberal think tank Cepos, argued that the relationship was damaging.
“From the point of view of the Muslim community in Denmark it’s a shame that they worked so long for a formal mosque, only for the mosque to work together with a propaganda vehicle that is spreading anti-Semitism and religious fundamentalism,” Mchangama told The Copenhagen Post.
“I’ve watched a few clips from Al-Aqsa TV and they quite clearly glorify terrorism and anti-Semitism and would be prohibited if they were broadcast from Denmark.”
No broadcast licence
A spokesperson for Radio- og tv-nævnet told The Copenhagen Post that Al-Aqsa has not applied to broadcast from Denmark and that it was too early to tell whether it would be granted permission.
“The Radio and Television Act deals with the character of the broadcast programming, not the character of the broadcaster,” chief advisor Kaspar Lindhardt said.
Yesterday a spokesperson for Dansk Islamisk Råd confirmed that Arab stations Al Jazeera, Huda TV and Al-Aqsa TV were all interested in using the mosque’s media facilities, leading a number of politicians express concern about possible links to extreme groups such as Hamas.
The Justice Ministry said it would leave it up to the Copenhagen Police to investigate the case.
“I understand that the Copenhagen Police have started to investigate the case to see if Danish law has been broken,” the justice minister, Morten Bødskov, told The Copenhagen Post. “As justice minister I have, as a matter of principle, no comment on the case.”
Martin Henriksen, the immigration spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti, called for a more robust response from Bødksov, however.
“The most recent developments confirm that there is reason to take a closer look at what will take place in this large new mosque,” Henriksen told DR Nyheder.
Mogens Jensen, Socialdemokraterne’s media spokesperson, expressed concern about the connection between the mosque and Hamas, but said the connection would not be sufficient to prevent it from operating in Denmark.
“We will have to see the content of the broadcasts before we can judge their character,” Jensen told Berlingske newspaper. “But we have tightened the law so that Radio- og tv-nævnet can ban broadcasts that promote terrorism.”