A Danish imam who preached a message containing an exhortation to kill Jews has been charged under new Danish legislation designed to curb hate speech.
Imam Mundhir Abdallah, who preaches in the Copenhagen neighborhood of Norrebro at the Masjid Al-Faruq mosque, is accused of reciting a hadith or koranic narrative calling for Muslims to rise up against Jews.
“Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” Abdallah said in a Facebook and YouTube video post in March, according to a translation of the original Arabic provided by the US organization the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
During the narrative, he is seen standing in front of a black, Shahadah-emblazoned flag similar to those used by jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda.
Public prosecutor Eva Ronne released a statement following the imam’s charge. It said:
These are serious statements and I think it’s right for the court to now have an opportunity to assess the case. It has always been illegal to accept killings of a certain group of people, but it’s new for us to target hate preachers.
While it is legal in Denmark to quote religious texts – such as the Koran or the Bible – inciting or welcoming killing is not. Under the hate speech law, those found guilty of such offences could face a prison term of up to three years.
“It has always been illegal to accept killings of a certain group of people, but it’s new for us to target hate preachers,” she added.
When the video of Mundhir Abdallah’s remarks first surfaced on social media, he was condemned by Inger Stojberg, the Danish minister for immigration, integration and housing.
“The following video is from the mosque at Heimdalsgade in Copenhagen on March 31 this year, and this calls for the killing of Jews,” she said on Facebook in 2017. “This is completely preposterous, undemocratic and awful. But it also shows why we need to lead a harsh and consistent policy.”
The local Jewish community filed a complaint over the imam’s speech in May and applauded the prosecution’s decision to press ahead with charges.
The community’s head Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, told the Danish broadcaster TV2 that “there was no doubt about the intentions” of the imam’s statement.
“It was deeply worrying,” Rosenberg added.
In May, Denmark published a list of six foreigners accused of preaching hatred — five of them Muslim preachers and one Evangelical, banning them for at least two years.
For his part, Abdallah – who lives in Lebanon and has family in Denmark – has always claimed the charge is a conspiracy.
“Politicians in the West and the media never stop attacking Islam and Muslims. Their propaganda never stops. Muslims are the real victims, not others. Our women are being attacked, our mosques are being burned,” he said last year when the charges were first being considered.
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