COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) " Denmark should halt immigration from Muslim countries to stem the threat of violence from extremists, the nation's second-largest party argued Thursday.
The deputy party leader of the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party, Soeren Espersen, and other officials said the existing 270,000 Muslims in Denmark, a country of less than 6 million people, already posed a severe risk of harboring sympathizers to the Islamic State militant group.
Denmark's largest party, the opposition Social Democrats, condemned the comments and compared them to the anti-immigrant policies of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Social Democrat lawmaker Lars Aslan Rasmussen, whose father is Muslim, said the Danish People's Party's position amounted to "religious discrimination, religious apartheid. ... It's far out."
Martin Henriksen, the Danish People's Party immigration spokesman, told The Associated Press that his party " which supports Denmark's year-old minority government but holds no positions inside it " would not seek a law explicitly banning Muslim immigrants, but that would be a primary goal.
"Islam is a belligerent religion. One should not be blind that many who commit terror find inspiration in Islam. That is why there is a connection between the number of Muslims in a country and the general security risk," Henriksen said.
He declined to back the details of a proposal attributed to party colleague Espersen calling for Muslim immigrants specifically to be banned for four to six years. Espersen, who was quoted as telling this to the Berlingske newspaper, declined to comment Thursday to the AP.
Henriksen said any crackdown on immigration should be written as "religion neutral" but still have the greatest impact on reducing Muslim migration.
"The consequence should be that Muslim immigration would drop, which is our goal," Henriksen said. "If we can get it to a total halt, it would be very, very good. We would like to get it as close to zero as possible."
Denmark has experienced little violence from Islamic extremist quarters. The most recent deadly strike came in February 2015, when a Danish gunman of Palestinian descent killed a filmmaker and a guard at a synagogue and wounded five police officers before being fatally shot himself.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings