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Abir Al-Sahlani

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Abir Al-Sahlani
Al-Sahlani in 2009
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
1 July 2019
Member of the Riksdag
In office
4 October 2010 – 29 September 2014
Personal details
Born (1976-05-18) 18 May 1976 (age 48)
Basra, Ba'athist Iraq[1]
Political partyCentre Party

Abir Al-Sahlani (born 18 May 1976) is an Iraqi-born Swedish Member of the European Parliament and since July 2019 a member of the European Parliament, representing the Centre Party. She lives in Hägersten, Stockholm.[2][3]


Al Sahlani was born in Basra, Iraq in 1976[4] to a middle class Iraqi family. Her father, Faisal Sahlani was a leading opposition politician. He was member of the Communist Party, which at that time, was banned by Saddams Hussein's Baath regime. She left Iraq with her mother, fleeing the brutality of the former regime, leaving behind her father, a political prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison.[5] Al Sahlani arrived in Sweden alone at the age of 15 and began her political career soon afterwards.[6]


Al-Sahlani studied at the Mid Sweden University (Mittuniversitetet) in Sundsvall. She holds a master's degree from Stockholm University.

In 2002–2003 she was a volunteer with Nacka School (Internationella Engelska Skolan) in Stockholm.[7]

Political career[edit]

In 2004 Al-Sahlani was appointed to the Secretary General of the Iraqi National Democratic Alliance (DNA) position.[7]

In February 2007 Al-Sahlani became a member of Sweden's Center Party. In May 2019, Al-Sahlani was elected to the European Parliament.[8] She has since been serving on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. In addition to her committee assignments, she is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on Disability,[9] the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights[10] and the European Parliament Intergroup on Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas.[11]

Since 2021 Al-Sahlani has been part of the Parliament's delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe.[12]

In 2024, Al-Sahlani was the winner of the "Best Speech" award at The Parliament Magazine's annual MEP Awards.[13]


In November 2013 Al-Sahlani took a time-out from the Swedish parliament due to alleged deficiencies in the reporting of an aid project in Iraq. According to the Swedish radio 300 000 Euro had not been reported correctly.[14] Half a year later she was cleared from all charges and made a comeback in the Swedish Parliament.[15]

Mahsa Amini protests[edit]

In October 2022, Al-Sahlani cut her hair in the middle of a speech at European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, whilst intoning the popular Kurdish YPJ women's resistance slogan, "Jin, Jiyan, Azadi" in Kurdish which translates to 'woman, life, freedom' to affirm her support for Iranian women and the Mahsa Amini protests and to call on Europe to act.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Abir Al Sahlani". MEPs European Parliament. 6 October 2022. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  2. ^ Magnusson, Erik (25 May 2009). "Från Malmö via Bagdad till Bryssel" (in Swedish). Sydsvenskan. Archived from the original on 23 May 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  3. ^ "Home | Abir AL-SAHLANI | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 18 May 1976. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  4. ^ "Home | Abir AL-SAHLANI | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 18 May 1976. Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  5. ^ "عبير السهلاني.. عراقية أشعلت الحياة السياسية في السويد". احكي. Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  6. ^ "Abir Al-Sahlani". www.centerpartiet.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  7. ^ a b "Abir Al-Sahlani - Liberal International". Liberal International. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Personröster - Val 2019". data.val.se. Archived from the original on 2019-09-21. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  9. ^ Members of the Disability Intergroup - Renew Europe Archived 2020-11-29 at the Wayback Machine European Disability Forum.
  10. ^ Members European Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights.
  11. ^ Members 2019-2024 European Parliament Intergroup on Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas.
  12. ^ Members of the delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe European Parliament.
  13. ^ "MEP awards: Seven lawmakers recognised for outstanding contribution to EU policymaking". Euronews. 21 March 2024. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  14. ^ "Riksdagsledamot misstänkt för bedrägeri". 12 November 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Friad från anklagelser - Al-Sahlani tillbaka" (in Swedish). 2 June 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women". Reuters. 2022-10-05. Retrieved 2022-10-05.