A new mosque complex under construction in Copenhagen, Denmark, may breach European Union anti-terror rules by rebroadcasting Hamas-controlled Al-Aqsa TV, the Copenhagen Post reported Sunday.
The Copenhagen Post said precedent was created when EU legislation was used to revoke a broadcasting licence from Kurdish TV station ROJ TV because of its connection to the separatist PKK organisation, which is on the EU’s list of terrorist organisations.
Hamas is also designated by the EU as a terror organisation, and because Al-Aqsa TV is owned and operated by the group, its broadcasts may also be illegal.
The newspaper cited Mohamed al Maimouni, the media spokesperson for Dansk Islamisk Råd, the 25,000-member organisation responsible for constructing the mosque, as confirming that Al-Aqsa TV would broadcast from a media center in the mosque, along with Qatar-based Al Jazeera and Egypt’s Huda TV.
“We have already worked with Al-Aqsa when they have asked us to provide them with news footage from Denmark,” Al Maimouni told The Copenhagen Post. “Last year, we agreed to shoot a small segment about the daily life of a Palestinian family in Denmark.”
Al Maimouni said the relationship with Al-Aqsa was “strictly professional.” He told the newspaper, “We have decided to keep working for Al-Aqsa as long as what they report is in line with our viewpoint. If they try to move their content into a political direction that we do not agree with, we will decline.”
The 73,000 square foot mosque in Rovsinggsgade, in the Nordvest district, designed by Copenhagen’s Wenzel + Tuxen Architects, is Denmark’s largest mosque. It was financed by a 150 million kroner ($27 million) donation by the former ruling emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
The newspaper said, as ruler, Al-Thani reportedly maintained business connections with Israel, but also supported Hamas, most recently in 2012, when he offered $400 million of aid to Hamas-controlled Gaza.
The newspaper cited Lars Aslan Rasmussen, a Social Democrat, member of the Copenhagen City Council and spokesperson for the city’s social affairs committee, as saying, “A few weeks ago, Dansk Islamisk Råd said that there would be no connection [to Qatar] and we can now see that is a lie. The mosque is a gift from Qatar but it’s not free. I have always said that they will expect something in return, and this shows that they are making some claims for their money. This will not be a moderate mosque and it will present integration problems.”
The city councilman, who is of Turkish background, said he welcomed mosques being built in Copenhagen, but not with strings attached by Qatar or with links to Hamas.
“There’s nothing wrong with mosques, it’s just a problem that it already has a negative reputation,” he said.
The newspaper said the Justice Ministry had yet to comment on the situation, while the Culture Ministry’s radio and TV board, Radio og TV Nævnet, which is responsible for approving TV broadcast licences, had not answered whether Al-Aqsa TV had applied for a broadcast licence.