Muslim Council of Sweden
The Muslim Council of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges muslimska råd, SMR) is an umbrella organisation of Islamic organisations in Sweden. It was founded in 1990 by representatives of the United Islamic Parishes in Sweden (Swedish: Förenade islamiska församlingar i Sverige, FIFS) and the Muslim Association of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges Muslimska Förbund, SMuF). The current chairperson of the organisation is Helena Benaouda, who succeeded Mostafa Kharraki.
Swedish social anthropologist Aje Carlbom and parliamentarian Abderisak Aden, who has founded the Islamic Democratic Institute (Islamiska demokratiska institutet), have both stated that they believe that at least part of the leading members of SMR support Islamist ideologies and are influenced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Council of Sweden currently has 9 member organisations, with a total number of about 100,000 members:
- Young Muslims of Sweden (Sveriges Unga Muslimer)
- United Islamic Parishes in Sweden (Förenade islamiska församlingar i Sverige)
- Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges Muslimska Förbund)
- Bosnian Islamic National Association in Sweden (Bosniska Islamiska Riksförbundet i Sverige)
- Islamic School Foundation (Stiftelsen Islamiska Skolan)
- Muslim Scouts of Sweden (Sveriges Muslimska Scouter)
- Islamic Information Association (Islamiska Informationsföreningen)
- Islamic Relief
- PIS[disambiguation needed]
SMR has been involved in several controversies. In 2006 Mahmoud Aldebe, one of the Board members of SMR, sent letters to each of the major political parties in Sweden demanding special legislation for Muslims in Sweden, including the right to specific Islamic holidays, special public financing for the building of Mosques, that all divorces between Muslim couples be approved by an Imam, and that Imams should be allowed to teach Islam to children of Muslim parents in public schools. The request was condemned by all political parties and the government and the Swedish Liberal Party requested that an investigation be started by the Office of the Exchequer into the use of public funding of SMR. A spokesperson of the Board of SMR subsequently stated that while it supported some of the contents of the letter it had not discussed other parts, such as special legislation for Muslims and did not think that the letter had been a good idea to communicate them in a list of demands.
Although the Board of SMR did not condemn Aldebe the letter has caused conflict within the organization.
SMR has also been accused of being closely allied to the Swedish Social Democrat Party (see Swedish Association of Christian Social Democrats). Which has been criticised both inside and outside the party.
- Swedish Television, Granskningen av islam och integrationen, del II: Socialdemokraternas oheliga röstfiske, 2 May 2006
- Sveriges muslimska råd i krismöte Swedish Radio, Friday 28 April 2006 (in Swedish). A copy of the letter sent by Aldebe can be found here (in Swedish)
- Sydsvenska dagbladet, Krav på muslimska lagar i Sverige skapar maktkamp , 28 April 2006. Folkbladet i Norrköping, Imam: Vi vill ha egna lagar - men muslimska rådets krav möter hårt motstånd, 29 April 2006
- Sveriges muslimska råd, official website