Sweden Democrat leader calls for mosques to be demolished

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Sweden Democrat leader calls for mosques to be demolished
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson employed harsh rhetoric against "Islamists" in his speech on Saturday. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats, on Saturday called for a moratorium on the building of new mosques in Sweden and for existing mosques to be demolished if they spread "antidemocratic, anti-Swedish, homophobic or antisemitic propaganda".


The call was part of a sustained attack on "Islamists" made in his speech to the party's 'Landsdagarna' congress in Västerås, in which he accused the Social Democrats and their leader, Magdalena Andersson, of being "an active part of the Islamist movement in Sweden" and reliant on Islamist votes. 

"We need an immediate total stop on the establishment of new mosques in Sweden," Åkesson said. "In the longer term we need to start confiscating and demolishing mosque buildings where there is a spread of antidemocratic, anti-Swedish, homophobic or antisemitic propaganda".

Åkesson's call was immediately rejected by Sweden's Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, who is dependent on Sweden Democrat support for his position.

"In Sweden, we do not demolish places of religious worship," he told the TT newswire. "Those who express antisemitic semtiments or agitate against Muslims are offending people in our own country and harming Sweden and Swedish interests internationally."

Magnus Ranstorp, Sweden's most high-profile antiterrorism expert, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper that Åkesson's statement was a threat to Sweden's national security.

"This can contribute to worsening the security threat against Sweden and strengthens Sweden's image as anti-Islamic. We also haven't yet joined Nato yet and Erdogan may well take this up."


Opposition political parties, meanwhile, called for the government to eject Sweden Democrat appointed government officials from the government offices. 

"This is something Ulf Kristersson, [Christian Democrat leader] Ebba Busch, and [Liberal Party leader] Johan Pehrson need to take a stand against, both verbally but also in action," said Social Democrat leader Magadalena Andersson. "One way might be to eject Sweden Democrat officials from the Rosenbad [government building]." 

Muharrem Demirok, leader of the Centre Party, said that Åkesson's statement, "must have consequences". 

"If there are no consequences in its cooperation with the Sweden Democrats, the government will look like it is turning a blind eye to this type of serious attack and racism," he said. "They have to ask themselves the question, 'if this doesn't mark the limit, then it's hard to see where the limit is for what you are willing to accept."   

Åkesson's call for demolishing mosques followed a long attack on "Islamists" and the support he claimed they were given by the Social Democrats. 

"The Islamists are not longer a handful of crazies spread out in a few deprived areas around our big cities," he said. "There are here in big numbers. They are everywhere. And they have strong mutual loyalty with the Social Democrats and the Left in general." 

"The Islamists in Hamas and other antisemitic, Islamist and antidemocratic movements are openly supported by representatives of Sweden's biggest party, the Social Democrats," he added. 

Rather than combatting Islamists, he continued, the Social Democrats were "an active part of the Islamist movement in Sweden".


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