Danes fighting for ISIS were paid welfare benefits, government says

About 145 Danes have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight for militant groups since 2012, according to the Danish security and intelligence services.

Officials said this week that they had identified a number of Danish citizens who, while receiving government disability pensions, had traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

“It is a huge scandal that we are paying out money from the welfare funds in Denmark to people who are going to Syria and elsewhere in the world to undermine democracy that we have been fighting for for hundreds of years,” the country’s minister of labor, Troels Lund Poulsen, said.

Last year, the news media reported that more than two dozen Danish citizens receiving unemployment benefits had traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS, even though the law requires recipients to live in Denmark.