Mattias Gardell

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Mattias Gardell at the Göteborg Book Fair in 2008.

Hans Bertil Mattias Gardell (born 10 August 1959) is a Swedish scholar of comparative religion. He is the current holder of the Nathan Söderblom Chair of Comparative Religion at Uppsala University, Sweden. He is also the first award winner of the Lenin prize (Jan Myrdals stora pris – Leninpriset) in 2009.

Mattias Gardell was born in Solna, Stockholm County, Sweden. He is the son of Bertil Gardell, a professor in social psychology, and the brother of writer and comedian Jonas Gardell. He earned a Ph.D. in the history of religions at Stockholm University in 1995 and became a docent in 1999. He has been working at the Department of Comparative Religion and the Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Stockholm University. He has also lived and studied in Cairo, Egypt. In March 2006 he was appointed the first holder (from 1 July 2006) of the Nathan Söderblom Chair of Comparative Religion at Uppsala University.[1]

Gardell specializes in the study of religious extremism and religious racism in the United States, studying groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Nation of Islam, and folkish movements in Neopaganism (Odinism). Ron McVan, who collaborated with Gardell for his Gods of the Blood book, states that he had "once sworn an oath of brotherhood to me in my Viking hof." Gardell is partly blamed by McVan for accusations of plagiarism.[2]

His 1995 dissertation on Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam was published in both British and American editions.[1]

As an expert on Islamophobia, he testified as an expert witness in the Trial of Anders Behring Breivik.[3]

Gardell is married to Edda Manga. He has six children from an earlier marriage.[4]

Political views[edit]

Gardell is an anarchist but prefers to use the term "libertarian socialist" to distinguish his views, so as to avoid ambiguity.[4] Likewise he considers himself pagan and has called himself a "spiritual anarchist" and is suspicious of any religion claiming there is only one God.[5]

Gardell was one of eleven Swedish activists from Ship to Gaza participating in the flotilla that tried to break the Israeli embargo of the Gaza strip. Along with his wife, Gardell was aboard MV Mavi Marmara during the Israeli armed forces raid on the flotilla on the morning of 31 May 2010.[6] He was deported from Israel and landed in Sweden on 3 June along with his wife and other Swedish participants.[7] He told Swedish journalists "We were victims of a massive military assault (...) It can not be described as anything but piracy." He also stated that the soldiers came on board with fully loaded weapons equipped with laser sights and at least four people were killed execution style.[8]



  1. ^ a b "Mattias Gardell ny professor i jämförande religionsvetenskap" (Press release) (in Swedish). Uppsala University. 8 March 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  2. ^ O.R. Blotar Question by Ron McVan, dated between 16/18 October 2010
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Ohlin, Pontus (3 April 2006). "Anarkist, hedning och professor" (in Swedish). Vår bostad. Archived from the original on 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Högström, Erik (31 May 2010). "Gardell ombord på bordat fartyg" (in Swedish). Expressen. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  7. ^ "Alla svenskar från Gazakonvojen hemma igen". Ekot. 2010-06-03. Sveriges Radio. P1.
  8. ^ Bitte Hammargren (3 June 2010). "SvD: "Det var rena avrättningar"" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2010-06-05. 

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