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Muslim Council: no support for 'special laws'

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12:33 CEST+02:00
The Muslim Council of Sweden has added its voice to the criticism of the suggestion that the country should have separate laws for Muslims.

The idea was expressed in an open letter to the Swedish political parties by Mahmoud Aldebe, the chairman of the Swedish Muslim Association.

Aldebe suggested allowing imams into state (public) schools to give Muslim children separate lessons in Islam and their parents' native languages. The letter also said that boys and girls should have separate swimming lessons and that divorces between Muslims should be approved by an imam.

It provoked an swift and fierce response across the political spectrum and was described as 'completely unacceptable' by Minister for Integration and Equality Jens Orback.

Now other Muslim organisations, including the umbrella organisation, the Muslim Council of Sweden, have distanced themselves from the letter.

"This has absolutely no support in any of our organisations," said Mehmet Kaplan, the council's spokesman, to Svenska Dagbladet.

"It's a non-issue for us. I have also spoken to the vice-chairman of the Swedish Muslim Association and he didn't know anything about it either."

At a crisis meeting on Friday, other Muslim organisations confirmed that they did not support the controversial proposals.

"This is sad. There are other important issues which are now being obscured," said Kaplan.

Speaking to Swedish Radio on Friday, Mahmoud Aldebe said that the furore following his letter was the result of a misunderstanding.

"I'm not demanding parallel laws, I'm not demanding special legislation for Muslims. I just want to adapt our laws so that the Muslim minority feels safe in society," Aldebe told SR.

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