Swedish Church Hires Imam

18 March 2011
The Swedish Church has hired an Imam – Othman Al-Tawalbeh – to work with interreligious dialogue. The decision has been debated during the last week, especially amongst members of the church, but also in Muslim communities. While some are positive towards the collaboration, some Muslims have criticized as well the church as Al-Tawalbeh. The most critical voice comes from another Swedish Imam, Mahmoud Aldebe, who commented on the issue in Arabic media earlier this week. Tawalbeh felt Aldebe’s critique was formulated in such a way that it could create a threatening situation for him, and there has been rumors of Aldebe trying to get a fatwa against Tawalbeh from Jordan, his country of origin. Swedish Secret Police has been talking to Tawalbeh and is investigating whether or not there is a threat against him.
Othman Al-Tawalbeh is fairly well known in Sweden. He has been working in different dialogue projects for years. Also Aldebe is well known to the Swedish public, especially for his 2006 letter to the Swedish government asking for adaptations of the Swedish law in issues concerning the Muslim minorities.