A mosque in Denmark has openly declared its support for the Islamic State militant group. It comes just days after a Dane who fought with the terrorist organization in Syria stated that Denmark was “high upon [IS's] list of targets.”
The place of worship, located in the city of Aarhus, has long been accused of promoting an extreme interpretation of Islam. Mosque spokesman Fadi Abdallah told the online news source Den Korte Avis that “an Islamic state will always be what Muslims long for. Therefore we cannot help but to support the Islamic State. Even if it makes mistakes, we will just have to wait and see.”
“The conditions aren’t the same down there [in Syria and Iraq] as they are here. I can fully understand why people are getting killed,” he continued.
In July, a video emerged of the Grimhojmoskeen mosque’s imam, Abu Bilal Ismail, calling on God to “destroy the Zionist Jews,” the Local reported. The Grimhojmoskeen site has become a haven for Danish jihadists, with East Jutland Police stating that 22 of the hundred or so militants who have left Denmark to fight for IS previously worshipped there.
A recent report from The Economist calculated that when measured by total population, Denmark has sent the second-highest number of foreign fighters to Syria. Only Belgium has a higher number of foreign fighters per million residents.
The news comes less than a week after a Danish-Turkish jihadist, who was born and raised in Denmark and only referred to himself as OA, told Danish broadsheet newspaper Politiken that the Islamic State (previously known as ISIS) “has become very international and Denmark is high up on the list, believe me.”
“Denmark is not my country. The Muslims’ country is the caliphate and inshallah there will soon be an attack here. Denmark should prepare itself,” said the militant, who is also believed to come from the Aarhus area, The Local reported.
“It is an open war now. ISIS has said that all infidels should be battled. They should be eliminated and soon it will be Denmark’s turn,” OA continued.
OA is not the only Danish-born militant to have defected to fight for IS. In March, it was reported by the Copenhagen Post that a young Dane, who allegedly came from the Aarhus area of the country and went by the name of Abu Sa'ad al Denmarki, had killed himself in a suicide attack.
The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) has stated that 15 Danes – out of the 100 or so who have gone to the Middle East – have been killed in Syria fighting for IS in the country's civil war.
“We have never before seen so many leave Denmark for a conflict zone over such a short period as we see now with Syria,” the head of the Center for Terror Analysis (CTA), Soren Jensen, told Ritzau news agency.
Denmark said it will contribute to the international campaign against IS in northern Iraq and deliver weapons and ammunition to Kurdish and Iraqi government forces.
Denmark’s foreign minister, Martin Liedegaard, defended his country’s actions, saying, “I’m pleased with the broad political support for Denmark’s contribution against ISIS in Iraq. ISIS is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – threats currently faced by the international community. Our contribution to the ongoing operation will obviously not eliminate ISIS but will be used to help the Iraqis to defend ISIS’s advances themselves,” The Local reported, citing Politiken newspaper.