Changes in Immigration Law Target Religious Scholars

February 18, 2004


On February 18, 2004 reported, "The Danish government announced Tuesday, February 18, changes to the immigration laws, in a measure specifically targeting Muslim scholars. Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen said after a cabinet meeting that access to a Danish residence permit for foreign religious scholars has been too easy up until now. 'That is why we now put forward new requirements for residing in the country, like the demand that imams and others have an education and that they be financially self-sufficient,' Rasmussen was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse (AFP). The proposed changes, which parliament is expected to rapidly pass into law, are part of a deal reached last September between the Liberal-Conservative government, its far-right ally the Danish People's Party (DPP), and the opposition Social Democrats. They are designed, in part, to prevent Muslim scholars from staying in the country and clip the wings of those already living in the tiny European country. 'In theory, these rules concern all clerics from all religions. But in practice, they target the imams,' DPP spokesman Peter Skaarup told journalists in September."