Sweden : An official report targets the Muslim Brotherhood

The controversy around the Muslim Brotherhood has now reached Sweden. A report on the influence of the network in the country was just published by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB).

A ”parallel society”

According to the report – based on a study realised in November-December 2016, the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the Swedish society and its political parties through numerous Muslim organisations and individuals since the 1970’s.

The authors of the report – Magnus Norell, Aje Carlbom and Pierre Durrani – accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of striving to become the natural representatives of the Muslim minorities for the authorities. For the authors, by promoting a distinct identity for Muslims and creating a “parallel society”, the network implements its political agenda of islamization.

A controversial report

22 Swedish scholars specializing on religious studies have published a post against the report, criticizing the methodology used by its authors. The researchers point out a blatant lack of evidence and of serious references.

However the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has stood for its report, describing it as a feasibility study on the influence of the islamist network on the Swedish society and its impact on the security of the country. For Anneli Bergholm Söder, head of the Operations Department of the MSB, the aim of this study is to determine which areas of research and study should be developed in that field.

By Farida Belkacem

Sources :

http://www.thelocal.se/20170303/debate-rages-in-sweden-over-muslim-brotherhood-report

The report :

https://www.msb.se/Upload/Kunskapsbank/Studier/Muslimska_Brodraskapet_i_Sverige_DNR_2107-1287.pdf

The researchers’ declaration :

http://religionsvetenskapligakommentarer.blogspot.it/2017_03_01_archive.html

 

Opinion: Attack Will Empower Europe’s Far Right

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By Mabel Berezin

Responding to the massacre at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, President Barack Obama and other public figures such as John Kerry, author Salman Rushdie — even the far-right nationalist French politician Marine Le Pen — have defended the right to freedom of expression as a core democratic value. Huge demonstrations in solidarity with the victims are occurring throughout France and in many European capitals.

The slogan “Je suis Charlie Hebdo” is circulating widely in social media. Twitter is inundated with tweets about the political power of satire. Pictures of demonstrators holding pens in the air abound.

The political mood in Europe has been growing dark. Volatility is becoming more and more constant. In December, the Swedish government went into a crisis triggered by the right nationalist Sweden Democrats, which are vehemently opposed to more immigration and whose leader recently proclaimed that Jews, Kurds and Sami were not Swedish unless they assimilated. A last-minute compromise among the major parties saved the day in Sweden, but the Sweden Democrats — whose electoral share went from 6% in 2010 to 13% in 2014 — are not leaving the scene.

In Greece, where the openly neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn has been in the parliament since 2012, the pro-Europe government came apart and the Prime Ministerhas called snap elections for January 25. In Germany, a group called Pegida staged large demonstrations in Dresden against the “Islamification of Europe.” Prime Minister Angela Merkel in her New Year’s address told the group to stop its demonstrations, but Pegida staged another one in Dresden anyway.
And now France.

Le Pen’s goal since she became head of the National Front in 2011 has been to make it a mainstream party. In 2014, it moved from one electoral breakthrough to another. In March it won mayoral races in four French municipalities, including the traditionally socialist city of Hénin-Beaumont. In May, it came in first place in the European parliamentary elections — which saw an uptick in the fortunes of right nationalist parties throughout Europe.

Le Pen has consistently polled well as a contender in the 2017 French presidential elections. Even before the Charlie Hebdo attack, it was more than likely that she would make it to the second round in 2017. In an October public opinion poll, she outpolled French President François Hollande by 15 percentage points. Her closest rival was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and she outpolled even him.
The international media often present her as a single-issue candidate around xenophobia and immigration, but Le Pen’s and the Front’s positions have expanded considerably. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former head of the party, began a strong push against further European integration and French involvement in the Economic and Monetary Union. Unemployment outpaces immigration as the leading problem in public opinion polls.

But politicians take opportunities where they see them, and voters tend to remember dramatic events as well as everyday grievances. Nothing could be more dramatic than the public killings of 12 persons in the center of Paris.

They may well become a tipping point — Europe’s 21st-century version of a Sarajevo moment. Europe has been convulsing for the last few years. The sovereign debt crisis, the high youth unemployment rates, the failure to come up with a just and reasonable refugee policy — all these issues may crystalize around of the event in Paris whether they are directly related or not.

The nationalist right has been gaining strength all over Europe on just these issues. The Charlie Hebdo massacre will not only help Marine Le Pen but will be a boon to nationalist parties throughout Europe. From north to south, ordinary European citizens are already voting for parties that they had shunned in the past. If this trend continues, there will be no guns of August — just the silent assault of one nationalist electoral success after another.

Footage of first British jihadist killed in Syria shows him claiming he had family’s support

Footage has emerged of the first British jihadist to be killed in the Syrian civil war, in which he claims that his family in London supported his decision to join opposition forces fighting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. He adds: “We can’t accept enemies of Allah… killing us, abusing our religion, belittling it, taking our lands. So the Mujahedeen, those who practice jihad, are those who defend the Muslims.” Filmed over several months the young British jihadi fighter can be seen shooting weapons, going shopping, and joining a key battle for a Syrian army base called Sheik Suleiman in western Aleppo. At one point he’s asked if his mother knows where he is and replies: “I remember I called my mother once. I told her I am going on an operation tomorrow.” She said: ‘Make sure you’re not at the back. Go to the front.’” Laughing, he adds: “I don’t think my mother loves me that much. No I’m joking. She must love me for her to say that.” The Katiba al Muhajireen, now part of a jihadi alliance, is comprised mostly of Chechen and Russian fighters but there are many other recruits from America, Sweden, Britain and across Europe. Members of the militia are shown carrying a black jihadi flag associated with al-Qaida. In the film, Mazwagi is seen preparing to marry a Muslim woman from Sweden and goes to choose a sheep for slaughter for his wedding banquet. Later he is shown on his wedding day celebrating with a group of well-armed jihadists, many in combat fatigues and balaclavas. Mazwagi’s father said after his death that he had no idea about his son’s activities, claiming he thought he had been doing charity work in Syria.

Hundreds of fighters going to Syria ‘a threat to EU’

syriaSpeaking to the European Parliament’s home affairs committee, the EU’s anti-terror chief Gilles de Kerchove said the departure of hundreds of young Europeans to fight in Syria poses “a serious threat” to Europe’s security.

A report released early this month by King’s College London said up to 600 people from 14 countries, including Austria, Britain, Germany, Spain and Sweden had taken part in the Syria conflict since it began in March 2011. The largest contingent was from Britain but based on population, the figures for Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands were the most significant, with around 200 between them.

Nordic Daylight makes Muslims Indecisive

July 17, 2012

 

The Muslim month of fasting – Ramadan starts on Friday, July 20. However the short Swedish nights makes faithful Muslims concerned. When can a person break their fast?

”It is a big issue,” says Mohamed Amri, the Luleå Imam (in the far north of Sweden) Imam. According to the tradition the fast should last from dawn to sunset. For Muslims in Luleå, that means abstaining from food and water up to 21 hours.

“It is clear that is far too long,” says Amri.

A Swede was a secret agent working for three different countries

June 11, 2012

Spying against Sweden is increasing according to the Swedish Intelligence Agency (SÄPO). The Agency also suspects that at least 15 states are doing illegal surveillance in the country. The Daily News has reported that a Swedish man have been a secret informer for Libyan, British and Swedish intelligence services simultaneously. His code name is “Joseph” and he has on the regular basis reported Muslims as suspected terrorists.

Usually foreign spies target large Swedish firms and sensitive information on Swedish policies/politics. Another focus is given to spying on recent immigrant communities, and usually those who are political activists seeking asylum in Sweden. Regime critics and opposition activists who live in Sweden have regularly been threatened and their movements and activities traced.

 

The information about Joseph’s activities today is uncertain – he lives in a city in Sweden, he has children and officially his financial circumstances are highly limited. Despite that, he is regularly traveling across the world. AS recently as couple of weeks ago, he had visited his former homeland, Libya. This we his second trip since the fall of the regime. Moreover, according from the information from DN he had met with one of the rebel leaders Abdel Hakim Belhaj on his last trip.

 

Joseph claims that he is not an informant working for any of the mentioned states. “You are talking to the wrong guy here. Alright. You know nothing what this is all about,” he was reported to have said to a DN’s reporter. Howoever, a fax message from the British intelligence agency MI6 from 2003 is contradicting his claims. The message is a part of a set of documents gathered by Human Rights Watch in Libya in the wake of administrative vacuum followed by the fall of Qaddafi regime.

 

The MI6 document starts with the words, “Greetings from MI6 in London” and it is a four pages long document describing a meeting with “Joseph” in Manchester. It is dated December 11, 2003 with an address of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fax message gives details about Joseph and how he was recruited by MI6. He had names of 11 Muslims from Sweden who he described as possible terrorists and accomplices. He also had a list of names of individual board members in a Muslim association in Sweden. The document further shows that Joseph had contacts with Qaddafi’s intelligence services (ESO) and the Swedish security agency (SÄPO). The document further hints that his first step has been to hand over the list of names to (MI6). The names of people he suspected to be “jihad sympathizers” in Sweden. MI6 in turn sent the list to Libya.

 

The DN had investigated the list and, at least, two individuals from the list more closely. The two persons have been in Joseph’s immediate closeness. Another individual was now deceased Muhammad Moumou (Abu Qaswarah) listed as a terrorist by both the United Nations and the European Union in 2006.

 

One of the most important question Joseph had posed is how is he to handle his contacts with the Swedish SÄPO. Joseph further wanted to inform MI6 about his contacts (with SÄPO), something MI6 was not interested in him doing. The Libyan ESO has, according to the document, been deeply aware of his informant status and work. Joseph had also been firmly instructed not to reveal his cooperation with other agencies to SÄPO. ESO and MI6 agreed that Joseph shall cancel his meetings with Swedes and inform them that he was ill.

 

”Joseph” is protected as a source by DN, however the newspaper’s reporters investigated into his real identity and could establish it after some time.  He is a 45-year old male who immigrated to Sweden in the end of 1980s from Libya. A few years later be became a citizen. He is registered to reside in a two-room apartment in a well-kept residential building. During some periods he worked as a store assistant. People familiar with Joseph describe him as secretive and suspicious of others. He could disappear without any explanation despite his limited funds on long expensive trips. He has even been convicted of domestic violence for beating up two of his earlier girlfriends. He has also been sentenced for theft and for making threats. Most recently he has been convicted of shoplifting.

 

Despite all of these issues he has established himself as a known figure in the Muslim community. “He knows people everywhere, in Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg,” one of his acquaintances comments.

 

SÄPO never comments any individual cases, however, according to their annual rapport for 2011 Libya is one of the countries which has conducted intelligence gathering in Sweden during several years. On several occasions the Swedish authorities have deported Libyan spies. Furthermore, according to SÄPO persons as information sources are tremendously important in intelligence gathering (counterterrorism etc.)

 

According to Magnus Ranstrorp (researcher at the Swedish Defense College) it is unusual to be an agent for three separate intelligence agencies. “It is unusual since there are so many states involved, that is, that the Libyan regime and the British agency and even the Swedish (SÄPO) seem to have bilateral relationships to him (Joseph).”

Signed: Mattias Carlsson

Measuring Prejudices

June 4, 2012

 

Attitudes towards Islam are being explored. A study on the public’s attitudes regarding Islam has been started in the wake of a mosque building project in Luleå (a capital of one of the northernmost districts in Sweden).

 

The idea has been to examine people’s opinions concerning Islam. This is an attempt to build better understanding regarding the Muslim community in the district, which could help the authorities to identify the different (Muslim) community needs. The study has been initiated by the adult educational association – Sensus and Norrbotten County Islamic Center (NiC). “We know from the experience in other parts of the country that racism and intolerance increase with building of mosques. We are therefore initiating some preventive effort by mapping the community’s needs by collecting knowledge (about social attitudes)”, says Anna Waara, a project leader at Sensus. The study should be completed within six months and it will hopefully lead to a longer (research) project thereafter.

Signed: Catharina Isberg

Female islamologist in Sweden demands female power

17 May 2012

The men have the power, and they misinterpret Islam. That is the opinion of islamologist and feminist Suad Mohamed. She now demands that the mosques give way to educated female imams.

The out-of-date mosque representatives screened in the last week’s investigative program shocked Suad Mohamed. “The men who occupy these positions (as counselors) have much power. People come to them every day for advice. For that reason it is important to have educated and knowledgeable people who receive these people (in need). Not someone who takes us back to the Medieval period,” she told TT (news agency).

Suad Mohamed believes that the men in the report are bad representatives of Muslim and that they are ill-informed. “Nowhere in the Koran is violence and maltreatment (of women) preached. If they read about the Prohpet’s life, they will be able to find that he never, ever hit any of the women nor children.” She further argues that Islam is not a religion which degrades women. The degradation had instead appeared when men had interpreted the religion and translated (this interpretation) into law(s). She continues, “there are women who understand the religion and who can resist these men who misuse the religion, or who can become fanatical. Knowledge is power and often it is the men who are educated.”

Suad Mohamed, further argues that the conservative men, not the religion, creates problems. “The young men who occupy the positions of power within the various congregations are the children of the ruling patriarchs. They take over the ruling positions much like the way has been in the Arab world.”

According to Suad Mohamed, the men want to maintain this advantage over women and often reference weak or fabricated (a)hadith, the recorded advice allegedly uttered by the Prophet Muhammed. She argues that they should instead refer to the Koran.

She was once called herself the first female imam in Sweden. However, she realized that no one would hire her and gave up that title. She welcomes the investigative report’s (Uppdrag granskning) disclosure and she hopes that this will lead to changes.

 

About Suad Mohamed:

 A 43 year-old Ethiopian mother of four living in Sweden. She is a pre-school teacher working in Huddinge (Stockholm) and has been trained in Islamic studies at a university in Jordan. The Swedish media frequently consult Suad on controversial issues concerning the Muslim community in Sweden. She is not a representative of any known Muslim organizations; nevertheless, until recently she titled herself an imam (usually interpreted as a [religious] leader of a community). Now she describes herself as an islamologist and a Muslim feminist.

6 out of 10 mosques gave counsel contrary to the law

May 16-17, 2012

 

Two undercover women with niqab (face veil) approached Sweden’s ten largest mosques equipped with hidden cameras in order to inquire about issues of polygamous marriages, domestic maltreatment, and nonconsensual marital sex. Aired by the Swedish state television’s (SVT) controversial investigative program Uppdrag granskning (Mission Scrutiny) showed that the mosque representatives gave advices which were contrary to the Swedish laws.

 

In six out of the ten visited mosques the woman who posed as maltreated by her husband who had married several wives received advice not to report her husband to the police. The woman was accompanied by another veiled woman, a hidden camera equipped reporter, who posed as her supportive friend. In one mosque the answer was too vague to call either way, in another there was a conflict of opinions and in two mosques the advice was to report the husband’s abuse to the authorities. The overwhelming opinion given in the mosques was that the man had right to marry several wives simultaneously under certain conditions. Only one respondent argued that polygamy is disallowed in Sweden and that the man should obey by it.

 

These opinions and advice were given either by imams at these mosques or by someone who had a role as a family counselor. The host of the SVT program, a well-know reporter, Janne Josefsson, approached the two biggest mosques (in Stockholm and Uppsala) with the recordings from the women’s visit the official stand-point on issues of domestic abuse was that the mosques must abide by the Swedish law in these issues. In Uppsala, the chairman of the association disassociated himself from the person who gave the advice to the woman not to report her husband. It was later reported that the supposed imam in Uppsala was only a occasional lecturer at the mosque and not the regular imam or representative of the mosque. The recording from the program showed the man in Uppsala instructs the woman not to report her husband to the police but instead to seek solution to their problems between themselves. At one point he asked her to approach her husband through an apology, that is if she had done something wrong.

 

In Stockholm, the women had met with an imam who defended the general right of a husband to marry more than one wife and advised the supposedly maltreated woman not to report the incident to the authorities. The recording in this case showed that he had suggested to the woman to increase her efforts in showing affection to her husband, this after she claimed that she loved her husband very much and did not intend on leaving him in any case. He said among other things, “Do not deny him your love so he might change (to be kinder).” After seeing the recording showed to them by the program host, the board of trustees of the organization in charge of the Stockholm’s main mosque chose to start an internal investigation in regard to the reported counsel given by the imam.

 

Mohammad Fazlhashemi, a professor of history of ideas at the University in Umeå argues that the program had showed that several of the imams have given advice which clearly goes against the Swedish law. He himself was featured in the program as commentator of these events by reading written transcripts of the conversations from these various mosques. “What these men (imams) had said to the women clearly violates their human rights”, he adds. He is strongly critical of the imams (in the program) who do not follow the Swedish legislation. He links the alleged violations with some of these mosques receiving government approved financial support. “As the mosques have received state support they have also acknowledged their obligation to follow Swedish law and the basic democratic principles.” He continues, “Now there is a need for self-examination. They need to clean up.” Mohammad Fazlhashemi, himself a Muslim, believes that the outmoded mosque-representatives support the anti-Muslim forces’ ideology, including the Swedish Democrats (extreme-right wing party with 20 seats in the parliament). “This confirms their hateful view of Muslims. This is extremely unfortunate that they (i.e. the six mosque representatives) live up to the Islamophobic prejudices.”

 

In the long run, Fazlhashemi argues, there needs to be a state sponsored university program for imams where religious leaders are educated giving them opportunity to expand their competences in fields of feminism, democracy, legislation etc.

 

Omar Mustafa, the chairman of the board in Islamic Council of Sweden, and Mahmoud Khalfi, the chairman of the board in Swedish Imam Council have been quick to distance themselves from the controversial statements made by the mosque representatives and reported in the program. Omar Mustafa said that “It has been incredibly scary, the things that came up. It is unacceptable to defend violence against women, regardless if we look at the Swedish law or the Islamic values.” He continued, “Force, violence, oppression and fear are inconsistent with the goals of a marriage.” Mahmoud Khalfi, an imam himself, agrees, “Everything (marital relationship) is built on respect and love. Force and violence have no place in the relationship. This is what we lecture and preach about constantly.”

 

Omar Mustafa’s personal view is that the men who appeared in the program need to be investigated without delay. “It needs to be clear up if these men are guilty of any criminal or/and (professional) misconduct and in case of any violations it is necessary to take necessary measures. However, he is also critical of the tone taken in the program. “They (the program editors) paint a picture that Muslims give conflicting messages (i.e. hypocritical stance). It strives to show that Muslims have two agendas, one public and one private. It (the tone and approach in the program) feels awfully conspiratorial.” Mahmoud Khalfi adds, ”Our official version is always that which we believe in and the message that we preach. However, there are individuals who commit mistakes.”

 

Additionally, in the light of these recent controversies the Islamic Council of Sweden writes on its webpage (http://islamiskaforbundet.se/sv/), that believing Muslim have “religious duty to respect and obey the country’s laws”. The Council also writes that one of its primary goals is to “work for the human rights”.

 

Five of the ten mosques (out of about 145 registered mosques in Sweden) featured in the program Uppdrag granskning (Mission Scrutiny) were regular recipients of governmental financial support: Uppsala Mosque, Stockholm Mosque, malmö Salsabil mosque, and the mosque in Järfälla. The Örebro Mosque had received this type of support earlier, however, due to unrelated administrative misconduct; the support was temporarily suspended, this according to Åke Gustavsson, the Secretary General at the Commission for Governmental Support to Religious Communities.

American Muslim blames the FBI, saying he was tortured at their behest in United Arab Emirates

PORTLAND, Ore. — His interrogators usually came in the morning. Peeking under a blindfold in a cold concrete cell, Yonas Fikre says he caught only glimpses of their shoes.

They beat the soles of his feet with hoses and sticks, asking him about his Portland, Ore., mosque and its imam. Each day, the men questioning him in a United Arab Emirates prison told the 33-year-old Fikre he would be released “tomorrow,” according to an account he gave on Wednesday at a press conference in Sweden, where he has been since September.

“It was very hard, because you don’t know why you are in there and the only person you speak to is either yourself, or the wall, or when you go to the restroom or when you go to the torture place,” said Fikre, who was held for 106 days. “I have never been that isolated from human beings in my entire life.”

An advocacy group alleges that over the past two years the FBI has been using aggressive tactics against Muslim-Americans travelling abroad to try to pressure them to become informants when they got home. Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says there have been several instances of FBI agents calling travelers into embassies or consulates for questioning.