20:15 GMT16 February 2020
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    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)

    Danish politician Naser Khader, who is a senior member of the Conservative People's Party, is someone known for his scathing criticism of radical Islam, and so it was a peculiarly bitter pill for him to swallow when he was forced to admit that one of his relatives had travelled to Syria and joined Daesh.

    Last week, Naser Khader of the Danish Conservative People's Party revealed that one of his female relatives had traveled to Syria and joined Daesh (ISIL/ISIS), adding that the woman used to be "a normal Danish teenager" with the same set of problems as her peers.

    "It all happened quickly," Naser Khader told Danish Radio24syv. "I have known her since she was little. I know her parents, and they are not religious. I would even call them secular."

    Khader did not explain how exactly he and the girl were related, only admitting that he often saw her and her family at large family gatherings. By his own admission, Khader began to feel suspicious when the teenager started to adopt extreme views during Facebook debates.

    "At some point she stated that she was ashamed to be related to me because of my criticism of the Islamic State [Daesh]," Khader explained, as quoted by the Danish tabloid newspaper Extra Bladet.

    According to Khader, one day the girl became very curious about her cultural origins and sought out a Koranic school in the Copenhagen district of Nørrebro, which is known for its poly-cultural society, mostly of Middle Eastern origin.

    Naser Khader is the son of a Palestinian father and a Syrian mother, born and raised in a small rural town outside Damascus. In 1974, Naser joined his father in Copenhagen, where he had been living as a Palestinian refugee. In Denmark, Khader is known for his highly critical views of Daesh and other forms of radical Islam.

    In 2008, Khader, himself a moderate Muslim, co-founded an association of Islamism critics to promote freedom of speech and inspire fellow Muslims worldwide. As a Conservative Party member, Khader advocates a complete ban on the burka, describing it as "un-Danish" and "oppression against women."

    In 2015, Khader joined the Muslim Reform Movement, an international organization dedicated to reform in Islam based on the values of peace, human rights and secular governance. By its own admission, the organization denounced violent jihad, rejected Islamic statism and opposed the ideology of violent Islamic extremism.

    In 2016, Khader struck out at his nation's lax attitude towards integration, notoriously calling Denmark a "haven for Islamists" and suggested that moderate Muslims shared the responsibility for the rise of violent Islamist extremism and jihadism worldwide.

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    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)


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    extremism, radical Islam, Daesh, Syria, Scandinavia, Denmark
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