Social Democrat ditches Muslim holiday plan

Social Democrat party secretary Carin Jämtin has backtracked on the idea of giving Swedes a day off work to celebrate a Muslim holiday after her controversial proposal provoked a storm of criticism.

Social Democrat ditches Muslim holiday plan

The newly appointed party secretary kick-started the debate when suggesting in a interview earlier this week that any review of Sweden’s public holidays should consider making room for the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr.

Jämtin said the addition of the holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims, would help reflect the multicultural nature of Swedish society.

“One could consider whether Eid, the Muslim Christmas Eve, could be a public holiday,” she told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. “Since Sweden is heterogeneous, our holidays ought to reflect some sense that we are different.”

However, speaking to Sveriges Radio on Saturday, Jämtin said her party had no plans to conduct an overhaul of Sweden’s current battery of public holidays.

“No, we don’t want more holidays, and as such we don’t want to make Eid a holiday either,” said Jämtin. “We’re fine with the holidays we have in Sweden. That’s the view of the Social Democrats and that’s what I intend to promote.”

A wide range of critics noted that Muslims are just one of many religious groups in Sweden, while also questioning the thinking behind adding another religious holiday to the calendar in an increasingly secular country.

Sweden currently has 11 official public holidays – New Year’s Day, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May 1st (International Workers’ Day), Ascension Day, National Day, Midsummer’s Day, All Saints’ Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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