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Muslim community in Sweden

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Julia Malysheva

on 24 March 2015

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Transcript of Muslim community in Sweden

Muslim community in Sweden
Historical background
Muslims and politics in Sweden
Sweden faces the most diverse Muslim populations of all countries in Western Europe

- Different cultural ethnic, political, economic, religious, linguistic, educational backgrounds comming from over 40 countries
- Arab speaking group - from almost 20 countries
- Largest sub group = Iraqi
- As a result of political activities in North-East Africa - fair number of refugees from that region
- Social acceptance of Muslim immigration is lagging behind in Sweden compared to the rest of Europe.

Social Aspects
Historical backgroung
Social and cultural aspects
Economic life of Muslims in Sweden
Political state of affairs
Economic life of Muslims in Sweden
Main waves of immigration:
The first registered Muslim groups were
Finnish Tatars
who emigrated from Finland and Estonia in the
Labour immigration from
With liberalization of a refugee policy in
there was an increase of immigration from
Middle East
A lot of
fled as refugees to Sweden during the Iran-Iraq war from
During the
there was in increase of immigrants and refugees from the former
, most of them were
There is also a sizeable community of
, who constitute one of the largest immigrant groups during recent years.
According 2012 International Religious Freedom Report, Muslim population in Sweden estimates 500,000 - 550,000 representing about 6% of the Swedish population.
Heterogeneous Muslim population with different backgrounds from over 40 different countries.
General facts

Swedish Muslim community is
very dispersed
- consists of groups from Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, the Balkans
and Pakistan.
- The majority of Swedish Muslims live in and around the three
largest cities – Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö
Presence of
institutionalized Muslim communities
Low representation
of Muslims in the politics
Political issues within Muslim society
Muslims and politics in Sweden
Muslims in the politics of Sweden

The most
noticable figures

Nalin Pekgul
(Turkish Kurd) – held a representation in
Parliament of Sweden (1994-2002)

Mehmet Kaplan
(Turkish) – a member of
Parliament from Swedish Green Party from 2014 -nowadays.

Nyamko Sabuni
- a member of Liberal party. Has a Muslim
cultural background, but doesn't practise Islam. Accused of
being islamophob
Muslims and politics in Sweden
Political activity of Muslims

Prior to 1960 there was no representation of any immigrants in the Parliament - Sweden tried to prevent foreigners from entering the politics
1976 - change of the situation - foreigners were given a right to vote and stand in elections
2000 - Muslim representation in the parlieament is low - 3 out of 349 PMs
Three organizations
on a national level supported by the government through the Commission for State Grants to Religious Communities:

United Islamic Communities in Sweden
(The Förenade Islamiska Församlingar i Sverige -
) founded in
United Muslim Communities of Sweden (
Sveriges Förenade Muslimska Församlingar -
) which split from FIFS over internal conflicts in
- both
claim to have 38 local congregations and around 60,000
The Muslim Council of Sweden
(Sveriges Muslimska Råd -
) was formed in 1990 by FIFS and SMuF to help in their relations with the Swedish society.

All of these organization coordinate local activities to deal with specific questions like adult education, marriage licenses, burial details or visiting the sick or imprisoned.
Muslim organizations in Sweden
Muslims and politics in Sweden
Presentation Outline
Reasons for the low political activity
Reluctance to vote for inappropriate representatives
Marginalized and isolated islamic community
Segregation and disparity of Muslim gropus in Sweden
Åke Sander “Muslims in Sweden” in State Policies Towards Muslim Minorities. Sweden, Great Britain and Germany, M. Anwar, J. Blaschke & Å. Sander (eds.), edition Parabolis, Berlin, 2004.
Åke Sander and Göran Larsson “Islam and muslims in Sweden : integration or fragmentation? A contextual study”, Geneva, Berlin, LIT Verlag 2007.
Jonas Otterbeck "The depiction of Islam in Sweden: A Historical Overwiev" http://www.islamawareness.net/Europe/Sweden/depiction.html
Islam in Sweden http://www.euro-islam.info/country-profiles/sweden/#footnote_11_469
255,000 are thought to be
5,000 –


and other groups.
5,000 converts
– mainly women married to Muslim men.
The five major foreign-born groups

Muslims and politics in Sweden
Another socio-political issues
Negative perception
of Muslims by Swedish society
- 2/3 of Swedish society thinks - Muslim and Swedish
values are not compatible.
- 1/3 of Swedish society has even more radically
negative attitude towards Islam and its culture.
Negative image
of Islam through transmitted by mass media (particularly after 9/11)
within the Islamic politicians (Scandal between Kaplan and Nalin in 2014)
Labor market integration as the most important indicator of integration?
-> increased labor market integration will lead to increased integration in all other areas, just as unemployment will lead to increased segregation

- Sweden’s Muslims have unemployment rates 4 to 10 times higher than non-Muslims
- Only 39% of immigrants had a job that corresponded with their level of education

Economic life of Muslims in Sweden
- faced by muslims who grow beards, wear the hijab, or observe time for prayer
- moreover the more a person by the Swedes is associated with dark skin and with being a Muslim, the higher unemployment rate
- employers of Muslim workers are insensitive to Muslim religious needs and demands
- reinforcing negative stereotypes and prejudiced views of immigrants as being unwilling to work and only wanting to benefit from the social welfare system
- report from 2012 said that Sweden had 14% unemployment – of which only 3% were actual native Swedes
Costs displayed on following graphics
(3 biggest cities of Sweden)
Social Difficulties
- Swedish integration board - 67% said Islamic values not compatible with Swedish society, 46% did not see Muslims as Swedes, 37% opposed building mosques in Sweden
- Institutional Discrimination..
- Swedish society requires respect of their culture and ideals
- Non-religious agencies to safeguard Swedish unity
Religious aspects
Islam: 2nd official religion in Sweden
- Excercise of religion rather secularised and privatised, rarely participate in mosques
- Most Swedish Muslims - sunni
- Only a limited public acceptance of Muslim women wearing hijab
- Sweden allows Muslim religion in schools only if following basic fundamentals of democracy and all religions
- 1951 - law of freedom of religion (Religious Liberty Act)
This presentation was made by
Anna, Igor, Yuliya and Nickol

Thank you for your attention!
Full transcript