Overview: The Kingdom of Denmark (which includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands) devoted significant assets to CT programs, domestically and abroad. Denmark cooperates closely with the United States, the UN, and the EU on CT initiatives, including within the GCTF and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
According to the Ministry of Justice, at least 158 people from Denmark have traveled to Iraq or Syria to join ISIS since 2012. The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) remained concerned that Danish fighters returning to Denmark with terrorist training would seek to radicalize others. According to the PET-administered Center for Terror Analysis (CTA), the primary terrorist threat to Denmark is small, simple attacks perpetrated by radicalized members of the Islamic community. Radicalization in prison facilities remains a particular concern. CTA also assesses a limited but increasing threat from other terrorist actors who target Denmark’s asylum centers, religious minorities, and migrants.
2019 Terrorist Incidents: There were no terrorist incidents reported in 2019.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Denmark’s Parliament passed an emergency bill on October 24 that provides the immigration and integration minister the authority to strip dual-national FTFs of their Danish citizenship. Lawmakers fast-tracked the bill because of concerns that detained ISIS fighters could escape SDF detention as Turkish forces entered northeast Syria. The legislation, which allows citizenship revocation without a trial, states that anyone acting in a manner seriously prejudicial to Denmark’s vital interests may have their Danish citizenship revoked, unless the person would become stateless.
On January 1, Denmark adopted a PNR law that allows the government to gather airplane passengers’ personal data. Danish authorities collect PNR data from air carriers and make this information available to Danish security and intelligence services.
Denmark continued to use its 2006 terrorism legislation that allows information sharing between its agencies responsible for CT and FTFs – the PET and the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (DDIS). Efforts to counter terrorism are also shared among the Danish National Police, the Public Prosecution Service, and the Danish Prison and Probation Service. Danish security and law enforcement agencies share information through the CTA, which – as the Danish government’s intelligence fusion center – constitutes the focal point for reporting from the Danish National Police, PET, DDIS, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Danish Emergency Management Agency. The Danish police and the Danish defense forces share responsibility for preventing terrorist attacks in Copenhagen and on the borders.
Counterterrorism-related prosecutions and actions by law enforcement included:
- On May 20, a Syrian asylum seeker received a 12-year prison sentence for planning to detonate explosive devices in Copenhagen in 2016. Moyed Al Zoebi was found guilty in April and was determined to have acted on behalf of ISIS.
- On November 28, three men were convicted of promoting ISIS by supplying drone equipment to ISIS fighters from 2013 to 2017. Two of the defendants were acquitted of more serious terrorism charges. The sentences ranged from two and a half to four years’ confinement.
- On December 11, Danish police arrested 21 individuals suspected of terrorist activities. Police raided and searched 20 locations spanning seven police districts in connection with the terrorism investigation. Eight suspects were charged in Copenhagen with serious terrorism offenses that carry potential life sentences if convicted. Police spokespersons said that the accused individuals attempted to obtain firearms and possessed materials used to build explosive devices. A PET official said they believed that a “militant, Islamist motive” motivated the suspects.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Denmark is a member of the FATF. Its FIU, The Money Laundering Secretariat (FIU Denmark), is a member of the Egmont Group. Denmark is also a member of the Defeat ISIS Coalition’s CIFG. In September, Denmark pledged $2 million in support of Ethiopia’s efforts to counter terrorist financing as part of a larger commitment to support global CT efforts.
Countering Violent Extremism: In September, Denmark committed nearly $1.5 million for a CVE center under the regional organization for the countries of the Horn of Africa: the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Denmark’s foreign minister also pledged $2 million to the GCERF, a global fund dedicated to countering radicalization and recruitment. In April, the U.S. embassy sponsored American Imam Talib Sharif to speak in Copenhagen to various religious and interfaith groups about anti-radicalization and community activism. Denmark’s National Center for the Prevention of Extremism announced in October that it would fund a postdoctoral program focused on “extreme Islamism” in the country. The National Center also partnered with University College Syd to develop learning materials aimed at giving children tools to maintain a critical approach to information they encounter online and on social media.
International and Regional Cooperation: The Danish government is committed to working within the UN framework, through the EU, and with other international and regional organizations. Denmark actively participates in the GCTF, the CoE, NATO, the OSCE, INTERPOL, the Bern Club, and the European Counterterrorism Center. In October, Denmark announced new military deployments to the Sahel region supporting both the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and the French-led CT mission in the Sahel, Operation Barkhane.