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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 11:35 GMT
Denmark to restrict radical imams
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Prime Minister Rasmussen says there will be no more easy access
The Danish government has proposed amendments to its immigration laws aimed at restricting the entry of radical Muslim clergymen.

The changes would require clerics to prove educational qualifications and financial self-sufficiency.

A government spokesman said rules would apply to all, but they were intended to curb the activities of radical imams.

The government is also planning to increase penalties for anyone hiding illegal immigrants.

The changes would affect imams already in Denmark as well as new immigrants.

Deal

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen outlined the proposals on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting.

"Access to obtaining a Danish residence permit for foreign missionaries has been too easy up until now," he said.

"That is why we now put forward new requirements for residing in the country."

The proposed changes are part of a deal reached in September between the Liberal-Conservative government, the far-right Danish People's Party, and the opposition Social Democrats.

They are expected to be approved swiftly by the parliament.

Islam is the second largest religion in the predominantly Lutheran Protestant country.

Muslims account for 3% of the population, or 170,000 people.


SEE ALSO:
Denmark banks on new visas
11 Aug 03  |  Europe
Flirting with Fascism
28 Jun 02  |  Analysis
Denmark sails into immigrant row
05 Feb 02  |  Europe
Country profile: Denmark
15 Feb 04  |  Country profiles


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