The founder of the Islamic Online University which has campuses in The Gambia, the Canadian Muslim teacher Dr Bilal Philips is among six foreign clerics who are banned from entering Denmark for two years due to their “anti-democratic” views.
Denmark’s Integration Minister Inger Stoejberg says the government “won’t accept that hate preachers … preach hatred against Danish society.”
According to the list — published on Tuesday — Dr Bilal Philips was in Denmark in 2011.
Stoejberg said that five of the men “indoctrinate” others to “commit violence against women and children (and) spread ideas about a caliphate.” The sixth is Christian American preacher Terry Dale Jones.
The ministry said others were Mohamad bin Abd al Rahman bin Milhi bin Mohamad al Arefe, and Salman Bin Fahad Alodah who both hold Saudi passports, American citizen Kamal El-Mekki, and Mohammad Rateb Abdalah Al-Nabulsi, a Syrian living in Jordan.
“I am also very pleased that it is now clear to everyone that these people are not welcome in Denmark,” Stoejberg said in a statement.
Last year, Denmark’s parliament backed compiling such a list. Some other European countries have similar legislation. Britain, for instance, can deny entry to people with criminal convictions or those whose presence is considered not “conducive to the public good.”
The Danish law about “the public national list” was passed Dec. 27, 2016 by the right-leaning government and the opposition Social Democrats.
Reacting to the ban, Dr Philips said the ban was not actually targeted at himself as he had no plans to visit Denmark since his last visit more than six years ago. Instead he was more worried for the Danish community who were historically known for socio-cultural and religious tolerance.
“I’m not worried in the least for myself concerning my ban from entering Denmark; I’m more worried for the future of Denmark, as the country is now being turned into a society that propagates religious hatred and intolerance,” said Bilal Philips. However in an interview with correspondent Mutiu Olawuyi, Bilal refuted all the allegations made against him by the Danish government.
“Contrary to Stojberg’s allegations, as an educationalist I’ve always been known for promoting authentic Islamic education, peace, justice, tolerance and dignity for the whole human race, because that is exactly the message of Islam. And if it is the issue of homophobia, which I talked about in 1995 in a question and answer session, I merely outlined about the stand of Islamic law with regard to homosexuality, and nothing more. I therefore challenge the Denmark’s government or any other interested individual or group to present at least one clip of my lectures where I promote hatred among human race.
“My last visit to Denmark in 2011 was peaceful and in fact very fruitful. I held a lot of press conferences, and appeared on radio and TV shows to clear these misconceptions and Islamophobic attacks most importantly against my personality as a Muslim educator. I never spoke about any caliphate throughout my stay there, and neither before nor after. In fact, the message of peace and tolerance I left there gave the Muslim community in the country a more positive image, most especially in the Danish media. This is why I was quite surprised to hear that my name was listed among banned clerics who preach hatred.
“Even Germany where I went to after my departure from Denmark in 2011 has lifted the lifetime ban imposed on me after having realised that it was just out of personal dislike for Islam which was actually displayed by the then Mayor of Frankfurt,” further said Bilal.
The cleric concluded that the whole ban saga is just to stop the spread of the authentic message of Islam.
“It is obvious that the ban is targeted against Islam; not me nor any of the other banned Muslim scholars. The new right wing elements wish to stop the spread of Islam in Europe at any cost. However, it is
literally impossible as the numbers of the adherents to the religion continue to grow rapidly, whether through immigration, procreation or conversion.
“As an educator and chancellor of the Islamic Online University, an institute with over 280,000 students across the globe, studying in a range of disciplines from Islamic law to information technology, I have over 700 registered students who are from Denmark. So whether banned or not banned, the message of Islam will continue to spread beyond the control of any government or group of individuals,” he concluded.