Swedish Muslim Council renews support for leader

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.

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

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.


Who will take Scandinavian bragging rights in the ‘Battle of the Öresund Bridge’?

FC Copenhagen fans have arrived in their hundreds in the Swedish city of Malmö, which is 30 minutes by train from Copenhagen. The two cities go head-to-head tonight in the UEFA Europa League.

Who will take Scandinavian bragging rights in the 'Battle of the Öresund Bridge'?
FC Copenhagen fans in Malmö. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's league champions FC Copenhagen (FCK in local parlance) are up against Malmö FF in the competition’s group stage, in an unusual meeting between the two geographically-close clubs.

FCK go into the match as arguable favourites, given their position as the richest club in Scandinavia and record as six-time Danish champions within the last ten years.

But the Swedish side will also fancy their chances, having won their own league, the Allsvenskan, five times in the last decade.

Danish midfielder Anders Christiansen, who crossed the Öresund to play for Malmö in 2016, said that his side were in prime position to challenge FCK for the claim of being Scandinavia’s best team.

“There has been a lot of talk about who is the biggest club in Scandinavia. If we say it’s FCK, I’d also say Malmö is right behind. And you also can’t leave out (Norwegian team) Rosenborg,” Christiansen told TV2 Sport.

Although the two cities are only around 45 kilometres apart and a train journey between them takes no more than half an hour, the Malmö-FCK match is a very rare occurrence, since each team competes in its national league.

In general, the chance for a bit of cross-Öresund (or should that be Øresund?) rivalry doesn’t come up particularly often.

In May, Malmö's Turning Torso tower retained its status as the tallest building in the Öresund region, after Copenhagen's city government rejected plans for a 280 metre tower.

That aside, bragging rights are completely up for grabs in the sporting meeting between the cities.

Thursday’s match kicks off at 9pm in the Skåne city, with the return to be played at Copenhagen’s Parken on December 12th.

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