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Muslims in Denmark

Though the Danish Authorities do not register people based on beliefs, Muslims are estimated to make up 4 % of the Danish population.

The Danish census in 1880 provides the oldest official record of individuals that practice the Muslim faith in Denmark.  Today, most Danes that adhere to the Islamic faith arrived in Denmark within the last fifty years. Around a quarter of Danish Muslims come from Turkey, but also from Iraq, Lebanon (mainly Palestinian refugees), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pakistan and Somalia. In addition, there are also several thousand Danish converts. Danish Muslims represent all branches of the Islamic faith.

Freedom of religion

Though the Evangelical-Lutheran Church is the official church of Denmark, Denmark has freedom of religion and the Danish law holds a number of rules that prohibit discrimination. It guarantees that everyone can manifest his or her religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching. Additionally, it ensures that people are free to wear religious symbols and attire, including the Hijab, in the public sphere, including in the parliament, public schools and services.

Muslim citizens enjoy full civil and political rights in the Danish democracy, and take up central positions as members of parliament as well as officials elected to municipal councils.

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Religious practise and education

Around 20-25% of Muslims in Denmark are affiliated with a mosque association. There are more than 100 mosques in Denmark, of which most are located in apartments, houses or disused commercial buildings. In 2014, the first newly built mosque opened in Copenhagen.

Most mosques and Muslim associations provide some form of Islamic instruction for children and youth outside school hours.

The majority of Muslim children in Denmark get their primary education in the public school system. Some parents send their children to Muslim ‘independent schools’ (‘Friskole’), which are partly private, but receive most of their funding from the state. Many of these schools offer Arabic and Islamic studies. A study carried out by the Ministry of Education in 2006 found that a higher percentage (41%) of the pupils in Muslim independent schools progressed into upper secondary school, against a national average of 26%.

Islamic studies are offered as part of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies programmes and at the departments of religious studies at the universities of Aarhus, Copenhagen and Southern Denmark.