‘Mustafa failed to heed warning last year’

Social Democrats in Stockholm say they did not follow up after telling Omar Mustafa a year ago to purge intolerant speakers from Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen) meetings, before nominating him to the opposition party's governing board.

'Mustafa failed to heed warning last year'

“We were certain that he had understood how serious the situation was last time and that he wouldn’t repeat this mistake,” said the party’s Stockholm district (arbetarekommun) secretary Olle Burell to the TT new agency.

Burell admitted that he and his colleagues had not made sure a year later that Mustafa had followed through and purged the list of invited speakers of speakers known for intolerant views.

“It’s one of the points that we’ve criticized ourselves about, we should have (checked up),” said Burell.

Mustafa landed at the centre of the Social Democrats’ latest controversy just days after being elected to the party’s governing board when reports emerged that the Islamic Association invited people with known anti-Semitic views to speak in Sweden.

On Saturday, party leader Stefan Löfven issued an ultimatum. Mustafa resigned from the party later the same day, less than a week after his election to the governing board, saying he was “forced out”.

Burell, who took questions from the media instead of Stockholm district chair Veronica Palm who is also an MP, said the fault lay with the party’s municipal district and not the party at large.

He added that Mustafa, once conversations were ongoing, did not make it clear enough he would refrain from inviting guests with intolerant views to speak at the Islamic Association.

“He would have needed to promise clearly never to use this method again as it had thrown up so many questions,” Burell said.

“It became unsustainable when he wasn’t clear enough.”

Despite the fracas, Burell thought Palm would be reelected as chair of the Stockholm municipal district when it holds its annual meeting at the end of April. He added that it was perfectly normal for the district secretary to field questions in her stead.

Nevertheless, at least one Social Democrat MP has called for Palm to step down.

TT/The Local/at

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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.