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BREAKING NEWS

Denmark's Quran-burning politician gathering support for election candidacy

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Denmark's Quran-burning politician gathering support for election candidacy
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A small far-right party in Denmark which has found the media spotlight in recent weeks for holding provocative demonstrations and causing widespread offence is edging closer to its goal of securing election candidacy.

To be eligible for Denmark's upcoming parliamentary elections, a party is required to have at least 20,109 voter declarations — as of Thursday morning, the far-right Stram Kurs party had surpassed 15,000.

The party is best known for its Islamophobic rhetoric and hardline nationalist policies, particularly against anyone who is considered "non-western".

On its website, Stram Kurs maintains that "Islam must be banned in Denmark", and that anyone "non-western" with a residence permit should have their "license cancelled and be expelled".

Party leader Rasmus Paludan has taken his beliefs to the streets, conducting insulting protests with aims of provoking angry reaction from Denmark's Muslim and immigrant populations.

During one such protest, Paludan was filmed publicly desecrating a copy of the Quran by dousing it in what Paludan said was "semen of Christian men and [non-believers]", before setting it on fire.

Just a week earlier, he was filmed walking into Copenhagen's Nørrebro neighbourhood, an area with a high immigrant population, where he repeatedly threw a copy of the Quran in the air, allowing it to hit the ground.

His actions sparked angry backlash from the community, and resulted in violent protests and arrests.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said Paludan's actions were "meaningless provocations", calling on opponents to "meet him with arguments - not with violence."

Responding to criticisms that Paludan's protests should be banned, he added that he was "protecting democracy and freedom of speech."

"Do not let derogatory actions aimed at specific groups in Denmark ruin our unity," he said.

Denmark's parliamentary elections are due to be held at the latest on June 17, but can be brought forward if necessary.

In order to qualify for candidacy, Paludan must have gathered his 20,109 voter declarations 15 days before the scheduled election.