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Minaret ban favoured by one in four Swedes: poll

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Minaret ban favoured by one in four Swedes: poll
15:29 CET+01:00
One in four Swedes is in favour of prohibiting the building of more minarets in the country, a new poll shows.

According to a poll conducted by the Sifo polling firm in conjunction with Sveriges Television (SVT), 26 percent of Swedes support putting a stop to any new construction of minarets.

Less than half of the poll’s 1,659 respondents were in favour of allowing more minarets to be built in Sweden.

In addition, 30 percent of respondents were doubtful or said they didn’t know whether or not they would support a minaret ban.

“One fourth of all respondents are against allowing people to practice their religion in Sweden. I view that is quite threatening,” Abd al Haqq Kielan, an imam and head of the Swedish Islamic Society, told the TT news agency.

The highest level of opposition to the building of more minarets is in Malmö in southern Sweden, where 39 percent of respondents supported a ban on further construction.

Currently there are five mosques in Sweden, but six minarets, as the mosque in Malmö has two, according to SVT.

The poll comes less than a week after a referendum passed in Switzerland banning the building of any more minarets in the country.

Jan Hjärpe, an emeritus professor of Islamic Studies at Lund University, told the Aftonbladet newspaper that the proportion of Swedes in favour of a ban is “roughly the same” as in Switzerland.

“Populist xenophobia exists in every fourth person. It’s clearly the general state of affairs throughout Europe,” he told the newspaper.

“I interpret it as a reaction to concern about the economic and political future. As I see it, it’s a faulty analysis of the cause of the problem.”

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