Swedish Muslim Council renews support for leader

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Swedish Muslim Council renews support for leader
Swedish Muslim Council Chairwoman Helena Benaouda

The Swedish Muslim Council declared its support on Sunday for chairwoman Helena Benaouda despite the fact that one of the terror suspects in Copenhagen is the father of her daughter's children.


Vice President Moustafa Kharraki told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on the web on Monday that the decision was preceded by a discussion of what has happened recently, but that there has been no internal criticism of Benaouda.

"Neither the board nor the member organisations have called for her resignation. There is no reason for us to question her credibility," he told SvD.

The board has concluded that Benaouda cannot be blamed for what someone else has done.

"We feel that she has done nothing, even if it happens to be a person she is related to," said Kharraki.

At the end of December, five people were arrested on suspicion of planning an attack against Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten's editorial office in Copenhagen.

One of those arrested was Munir Awad, 29, who has two children with the Benaouda's daughter.

Benaouda told newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) that she first learned of the arrest when a journalist called her.

"I asked my daughter and when we looked for him, he was not there," she recalled.

Benaouda said that if the allegations against Awad are true, it would be surprising that her daughter did not know anything and that she should have known.

At the same time, she said that the relatives of the extremists were often kept out of such plans.

Awad has previously been imprisoned abroad on two occasions, once in Ethiopia and once in Pakistan.

Awad has a debt with the Swedish debt office after the country's foreign affairs ministry paid for his repatriation from Ethiopia. It remains unclear how he could have afforded the trip to Pakistan.

"I have no insight into their finances. However, I know that my daughter has no money. She said that Munir paid," said Benaouda.


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