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SOCIAL DEMOCRATS

Protests mount against Mustafa’s ouster

Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Social Democrat headquarters in central Stockholm on Monday night, while others took to the opinion pages of a Swedish daily to protest the ouster of Omar Mustafa over questions about his values.

Protests mount against Mustafa's ouster

Nearly 100 people marched outside party headquarters on Sveavägen behind a banner with the text, “Social democracy, yes. No to Islamophobia.”

“It’s Social Democrats protesting against the witch hunt and against all the lies that are being spread about Omar,” Anna Ardin, vice chair of Social Democrat religious group Hjärta – troende socialdemokrater (‘Heart – Social Democrats of faith’), told the TT news agency.

Mustafa, who also chairs Sweden’s Islamic Association (Islamiska förbundet), landed at the centre of the Social Democrats’ latest controversy just days after being elected to the party’s governing board when reports emerged about the Islamic group’s decision to invite speakers to Sweden with known anti-Semitic views.

As concerns from within the party mounted following additional reports that the Islamic Association’s bylaws state that men and women have different legal status, party leader Stefan Löfven issued an ultimatum on Saturday. Mustafa resigned from the party later the same day, less than a week after his election to the governing board.

According to Ardin, the treatment of Mustafa amounts to a form of Islamophobia.

“The view has spread that one can’t be a part of organized Muslim civil society and a Social Democrat at the same time. It’s important for Stefan Löfven to deny this and show that he has confidence in Omar,” Ardin told TT.

“The most serious aspect is that it seems we’ve caved in the face of this witch hunt.”

Demonstrator Malika Moor has supported the Social Democrats for 36 years, but said she wouldn’t vote for the party today.

“I don’t understand why it’s come to this. It might be because his name is Omar, because he’s an immigrant, or a Muslim. I really want the Social Democrats to explain this to us,” she told TT.

Meanwhile, 29 active Social Democrats signed an open letter published on Tuesday in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper taking issue with the party’s management of the situation.

According to the authors, it’s unacceptable that someone elected at a party congress should be forced to resign due to unfounded criticism from party colleagues and media hype.

They demand the party leadership distance itself from the accusations directed toward Mustafa and express their confidence in him. The authors also want those who published the unfounded accusations to apologize.

“We state with sorrow and anger that Mustafa was forced to leave the party’s governing board,” they wrote.

TT/The Local/dl

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NATO

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

Sweden's Prime Minister has said that her party has brought forward the date for a decision on Nato membership by ten days, meaning a decision could be in place before a state visit by Finland's president in mid-May.

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

The decision had previously been tabled for a meeting of the party board on May 24th, but could now be taken at an extra meeting of the Social Democrats ruling committee on May 15th, Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Thursday. 

“We will of course discuss the issue and then we can see if we feel ready to take a decision or not,” she said at a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw. 

She said that the security guarantees Sweden has received from the US and Germany for the period between a possible application and full Nato membership were significant. 

“It means a lot if Sweden chooses to send in an application, that we will be safer during the period up until we become members than we otherwise would be,” she said. 

“The party committee can take a decision then,” Party secretary Tobias Baudin he told Sweden’s TT newswire of the May 15th meeting. 

The meeting will come just two days after the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’, which includes representatives from all political parties, is due to submit its own reassessment of Sweden’s security situation. 

“It depends on what the security policy dialogue shows,” Baudin says of the decision. “Right now meetings in party districts are going at full pace.” 

The May 15th meeting will take place on the Sunday before the week when Finland’s Iltalehti and Sweden’s Expressen newspaper last month reported Finland and Sweden had already decided to jointly announce a decision to join Nato.

Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, is due to visit Stockholm on 17th May and 18 May on a state visit, where he will be hosted by King Karl XVI Gustaf.  

The meeting of the Social Democrats’ ruling committee will come shortly after the party holds three digital members’ meetings on security policy, on May 9th, May 10th and May 12th (although these may also be brought forward). 

There is still resistance in the party’s rank and file, with at least three of the party’s powerful leagues still openly opposed to joining: 

  • The Social Democratic Women in Sweden voted last week to continue its opposition to Nato membership.
  • The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League has said it would prefer Sweden to bolster its security through the EU.
  • The Religious Social Democrats of Sweden has said that it believes the decision should not be rushed through at a time of conflict.  
  • The Social Democrat Students’ League has said that it wants to wait until it has seen the security police analysis before taking a decision. 

None of these leagues can block membership, however. It is the Social Democrats’ ruling party committee which is empowered to take the decision. 

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