Posted on March 20, 2021

Denmark Bans Foreign Funding of Mosques

Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, March 15, 2021

The Danish Parliament has approved a new law that bans foreign governments from financing mosques in Denmark. The measure is aimed at preventing Muslim countries, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, from promoting Islamic extremism in Danish mosques and prayer facilities.

Denmark joins a growing list of European countries — including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland — which have taken varying degrees of action to prevent foreign governments from financing the construction and upkeep of mosques on their territories.

In recent years, Algeria, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, among others, have distributed hundreds of millions of euros to finance the spread of Islam in Europe.

On March 9, the Danish Parliament voted 79 to 7 to approve Act 81, “Proposal for a Law Prohibiting the Receipt of Donations from Certain Natural and Legal Persons.” {snip}


The legislation was sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Integration and enters into force on March 15, 2021. Foreign Minister Mattias Tesfaye said:

“Today there are extreme forces abroad that are trying to turn our Muslim citizens against Denmark and thus divide our society. Several times in recent years, the media have reported on Danish mosques receiving millions from the Middle East, among others. The government will oppose this.


Tesfaye took action after the Danish newspaper Berlingske reported in January 2020 that Saudi Arabia had donated 4.9 million Danish kroner (€660,000; $780,000) to fund the Taiba Mosque, located in the “multicultural” Nørrebro district, also known as “little Arabia.” The donation was made by means of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Denmark.

The Taiba Mosque, one of the most conservative in Denmark, has been the base for a number of Islamists convicted of terrorism offenses.

The donation, included in the Taiba Mosque’s annual report, was the first documented proof that Saudi Arabia was donating money to Danish mosques. Berlingske subsequently reported that Saudi Arabia was financing other mosques in Denmark.

Denmark’s first purpose-built mosque — the Grand Mosque of Copenhagen, officially known as the Hamad Bin Khalifa Civilization Center — opened in June 2014 after receiving a donation of 227 million Danish kroner (€30 million; $36 million) from Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, the former emir of Qatar.

Critics of the mega-mosque, which has a capacity to host 3,000 worshippers indoors and another 1,500 in an inner courtyard, said that the organization behind the facility, the Danish Islamic Council (Dansk Islamisk Råd, DIR), was promoting a highly conservative interpretation of Islam.


Meanwhile, Turkey has bankrolled the construction of 27 mosques in Denmark, including in the cities of Aarhus, Ringsted and Roskilde and in the towns of Fredericia, Hedehusene and Holbæk.


Officials from nearly all of Denmark’s main political parties have expressed their support for the bill to ban foreign funding of mosques. {snip}


Liberal Party rapporteur Mads Fuglede added:

“We must and must never find ourselves in the hands of anti-democratic forces trying to assert their influence in Denmark. And that is why we in the Liberal Party are very satisfied that there is now broad support for implementing the work that we started during our time in government. We have a political responsibility to take care of Denmark. And we do it best by preventing donations from dark forces that want to undermine our democracy.”

Pia Kjærsgaard, co-founder of the Danish People’s Party, said:

“Obviously, Middle Eastern regimes must not be able to send money to mosques or Koranic schools in Denmark to undermine Danish values. We therefore welcome this intervention and look forward to curbing the attacks on democracy that emanate from, among other things, radicalized mosques. Of course, we must never accept attacks on our peaceful society and democracy, and I am therefore pleased that the government has chosen to implement this agreement from before the election and look forward to it having an effect.”

Conservative Party spokesman Marcus Knuth, said:

“We support restrictions on foreign donations to religious communities that oppose our Danish values. We hope that the work can lead to a more comprehensive effort against the extremist mosques and Islamist denominations in Denmark.”


Prime Minister Frederiksen recently announced that her government intends significantly to limit the number of people seeking asylum in Denmark. The aim, she said, is to preserve “social cohesion” in the country.


Muslims currently comprise approximately 5.5% of the Danish population, according to the Pew Research Center. Under a “zero migration scenario,” the Muslim population is projected to reach 7.6% by 2050; with a “medium migration scenario,” it is forecast to hit 11.9% by 2050; and under a “high migration scenario,” Muslims are expected to comprise 16% of the Danish population by 2050, according to Pew.

As in other European countries, mass migration has resulted in increased crime and social tension. Danish cities have been plagued by shootings, car burnings and gang violence.