The Danish government has banned seven individuals from travelling abroad this year on suspicion they would go to fight, using new counter-terror laws passed in March.
Since the security law was introduced Danish police have made charges 14 times, resulting in seven individuals having their passports cancelled, or issue of new documents stopped. Six of those affected were suspected of going to fight for Islamist groups including the Islamic State, while one was hoping to join Kurdish forces.
Although the Kurdish Peshmerga are not an enemy of the Danish state the laws are wide-reaching, allowing the government to place travel bans on anyone who is suspected of “tak[ing] part in activities that increase security risks for Denmark or other states or are otherwise a significant security risk”, reports TheLocal.dk.
This is a point of contention in Denmark. The 22 year old Danish-Kurd woman who had her passport taken for attempting to join anti-Islamic State forces has appealed against the decision, claiming fighting against the enemies of the Danish state shouldn’t incur the displeasure of the government. Despite that the government legislation works on the presupposition that any fighting in Syria will merely add fuel to the fire of conflict, thereby increasing security risks.
“We’re on the same side as Denmark. I don’t understand why they are going after me”, said the young female fighter in October on her passport suspension. She had already travelled to Iraq to fight with Kurdish Peshmerga in the past.
Dealing with ISIS recruitment is a major problem for many European states, as Muslim mass migration has provided nations with large bodies of disenfranchised youth prime for radicalisation — or in many cases, individuals arriving already primed by Islamist groups.
Sweden is one such country struggling with radical Islam — second city Gothenburg has a higher Islamic State recruitment rate than any other in Europe. Of all the Swedish citizens who had travelled to the east to fight, half had came from just that city.
Former chief of Gothenburg police Ulf Boström said of the trend: “This is the network that has the strength, intellectual capacity and ability to coordinate. There are no fools. They know their opponents”.
He called Sweden and Belgium “sleeper countries”, where cells of Islamists could easily lie low, undetected by the security services as they passed through the large Muslim populations there invisibly.
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