Denmark bans Foreign Funding of Mosques


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.

Foreign Minister 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.

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.

In Macedonia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have funded the construction of over 40 mosques. Macedonia’s landscapes is riddled with mosques even in areas where there are no people living.