Ramadan-Friendly Sweden

The following article from Saturday’s Dagens Nyheter was a joint effort in translation by our Swedish correspondent LN, Google language tools, and me. Since I did the final retouch, trying to reconcile the remaining peculiarities in the text, any mistakes are probably mine:

“The Ramadan Feeling is Growing in Sweden”

Ramadan is becoming more and more recognized in Sweden. Grocery shops advertise cheap dates and school-study-days (free-days) are introduced. Now begins the Muslims’ fasting month.

Ramadan in SwedenOn Monday starts — probably — the Muslim fasting-month Ramadan. On Monday evening, many Muslims in Sweden sit connected to the internet or in front of the television with their home-country channel switched on in order to get the message that the new moon has been sighted. In Sweden, the majority listen for the message that comes from the Stockholm’s mosque. There the imams have come together to bring information about the new moon.

When the message comes they will gather on Monday for night prayer, and the day after they must get up early to rush to eat before the fast begins at dawn.

During the Friday prayers before Ramadan more and more came; the men went straight into the mosque and the women took the side entrance to go up to the gallery. Those who came finally have to conduct their prayers at the entrance or outside. The imam spoke of Ramadan as an opportunity to do good deeds and to read the entire Koran during the course of the month.

23-year-old Samira Chaib, and Omar Mustafa Osman Hirzi and Sofia Aouniti, who are 22 years old, were at the prayer. Afterwards, under the mosque dome, says they about their expectations for Ramadan.

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“Each year, I want to do my best during Ramadan,” says Sofia Aouniti. “I read the entire Koran at least once.”

Omar Mustafa says he “recharges his batteries”.

“I get a stronger inner spirit, which I then rely on for the rest of the year.”

For all four, it is important every night to break the fast together with the family.

“Most important in Ramadan is to invite friends and family as much as possible,” said Samira Chaib.

Osman Hirzi boosts his morale by knowing what it is like for people, for example, in the Third World, who do not have food for days.

Ramadan is about self-control. Individuals should control their lives and resist temptation.

“Under normal circumstances, you are so influenced by advertising and pressure from friends,” says Omar Mustafa. “During Ramadan I learn that I have the power to choose how I should live my life, and that I am not wasting my time.”

All four have lived their entire lives in Sweden even though they have their roots in different countries. They think it is becoming more and more Ramadan-friendly in Sweden. Traders now note the Muslims as customers. Bargains are available in the shops and telephone companies bombard them with offers. This feels good to them. In contrast, there is a lack of attention from the municipalities and town district councils where the majority of the inhabitants are Muslims.

In Apelgård School in Rosengård in Malmö it is also Ramadan, however, and very noticeable. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Kenneth Sandelin says that 65 of about 360 students have been notified that they should not eat school food. Mostly it is the older students who fast. Sometimes it also happens that they become tired and lose concentration in the afternoon.

“Maybe a little shorter cords, but they are concerned with the school.”

Students may apply for leave up to three days to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which concludes the fasting month.

Even at Hjulsta School in northern Stockholm, many students celebrate Ramadan. Of the school’s 580 students, more than half are Muslims. During Eid al-Fitr, the teachers will have a ‘competence-expanding day’ when the students are free. During the month of Ramadan also attention is drawn to it by the teachers in the classrooms.

“It is part of our approach to connect to students’ daily lives, their background and culture,” says Assistant Principal Mona Säw.

She says that parents do not usually allow the children to participate if they are not involved in school management.

Osman, Omar, Sabina and Sofia recall how they wanted to fast when they were younger, but how their parents said no.

“My father came to school every afternoon and deceived me to take a break in the fasting,” laughs Osman Hirzi.

12 thoughts on “Ramadan-Friendly Sweden

  1. These articles just make me sick for Europe…
    I come from a very religious Catholic backround. Would the Muslims like to fast with my extended family members between Good Friday and Easter?
    I don’t think so and, no one has ever asked them to.

  2. Are you sick of Muslims because they are in Europe, or because they are fasting around you? I don’t understand what point you are trying to make in relation to this post.

    And by the way, Muslims fast more than just during the month of Ramadan. The other fasts are voluntary, and some of us fast at lease once a week in America where food is everywhere, and people are ALWAYS eating. We do not demand them to stop eating. We don’t even tell them we are fasting unless they inquire why we are not taking a lunch break!

  3. It’s the public display. Yes, we are sick of muslims being here, and especially sick of the way your religion and your customs are being held up as something superior to our own.

    Your “fast” is something I do once or twice a week, anyway, because of the way I work. Missing meals between sunrise and sunset and then gorging yourselves when the sun is down isn’t fasting. Fasting is going without food completely for a prolonged period. Last time I fasted it was for three days straight, and I didn’t even tell anyone about it. Why should I? Yet you lot, with your fake fast, get to demand everyone else “respect” your actions and treat your customs as if they are superior to ours.

    Ramadan has become the most visible expression of that, with the huge amount of exposure it gets in the media and in official policies. Christian festivals, other religions, they all get ignored because MUSLIMS have to be seen as superior to all else.

  4. @ ‘dynamite soul’

    Yes, we kuffars are sick and weary of you muslims. We are totally fed up with your stupid, ridicolous, primitive and barbaric mohammedanism and your insistence on consideration for your practizing that idiotic faith of yours. Never forget that we kuffars are evil, wicked, and mischievous people — see the evil in our faces — read about our wickedness in your sacred book: Sura 98:6.
    Do one good deed in your grand submissive life, stop violating our countries, abandon us, leave us — we do not deserve neighter your holyness nor your precence. Go back to Mecca-land!

  5. @ Graham

    Hmmm. Your answer will be ignored until I get an answer until I get a response from babs, who was the person I initially addressed.

    Excuse me for not being able to relate, as I live in the U.S. where I was born and raised and have been here for generations. My family was brought here by greedy and cruel Christian Europeans who enslaved my predecessors. I guess I could judge Christians negatively based on a terrible track record, but I’m intelligent, and I know that people are people, and there are idiots in every group.

    Superiority? I am sorry that Muslims overshadow your own culture. There are quite a few immigrants here who seem to not acknowledge American culture and are disrespectful, so I can feel your pain. But again, I am not going to judge everyone from South and Central America based on a few people.

    Hmmm. Ikea is in Sweden isn’t it?

    As far as violating kuffar countries…that’s just your colonial chickens coming home to roost.

    Wisdom of the Day: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.


  6. Graham, who are you referring to? If you were referring to me, I’m gonna go ahead and assume that you’re mentally unstable, and unable to get a grip on reality because I never called you a name.

    You can call me a nigger all you want. That’s what everyone does when they lack anything intelligent to say…on the internet that is.

    So resort to whatever you want to do because before I converted, people had shit to say about me because I was Black or a female, now it’s because I am a Muslim. You’re all alike. I’ve seen your predictable antics so much, that you don’t phase me.

    lol@ nigger.

    Try harder!

  7. “kuffar countries” would include my own country. I happen to take a great deal of offence at the use of that particular word to describe – me. You know it means rather more than merely “unbeliever”… more to the point the connotations associated with it are offensive to me. In my eyes it would be like calling africa a “nigger country”, which I’m sure you would find highly offensive, and rightly so.

    Do you see my point now?

  8. @ graham

    Actually I don’t really see your point, because you negleted to pay attention to who introduced the term “kuffar” into the conversation. Wasn’t me. Even if you searched my blog, I doubt you would find me reference anyone as a kaffir(singular) or kuffar(plural).

    In reality, you completely ignored the fact that “anti-islamist” actually included you under the banner of “kuffar”, to which you completely had no problem with. You had nothing to say when he chimed in, now you do when “I” made reference to it. Laughable, and interesting to say the least.

    As for “kuffar countries”, my bad. I thought you considered yourself a kaffir, because you never threatened “anti-islamist”. I don’t know if you are a kaffir or not, though your attitude makes me wonder.

    Kaffir is a valid term, and no one will dictate to me how I will use it, ESPECIALLY if I am using it in it’s PROPER context. I rarely use it, because I may be slandering someone, which is bad according to Islam. In YOUR eyes you think it is bad, and you equate it to the N-word, yet Kaffir does not connote ANY RACE, so the logical fallacy remains. Now, it would be hypocritical for me to call you anything related to a SLUR due to my racial background and my overall dislike of the term. I think I’ve been quite clear on my stance regarding name-calling, I can’t say the same for you.

    Here is the problem with the term. It is used abusively and in the wrong context. Much like the term “bitch”. A bitch is a female canine, not a woman, but people use it abusively to demean women. Similarly, kaffir is a person who rejects the Oneness of Allah (we call the Creator “Allah”). How can I know what you believe based upon your nationality? Your clothing? Your race? Do I have magic powers? If you don’t say anything to me, how will I know? That is my problem with people in general. They are sooo READY to make blanket statements, yet they themselves don’t want to be subjected to a blanket statement. People are too hypocritical these days.

    Before I converted to Islam, was I a kaffir? Could a Muslim have run into me on the street and just referred to me as a kaffir, even if they didn’t know me? What about the Muslims I met BEFORE I became a Muslim? Did they recklessly call me a kaffir behind my back? This is why using and abusing valid terms like “kaffir”, “jihad”, and “madrasa”, are serious problems.

    Here in the U.S. there were a lot of immigrant Muslims who were isolating themselves and being pushy, and this attitude was and is disliked.

    Many Muslims who are American born and bred, are RELATED TO CHRISTIAN FAMILIES. Those families who accept their Muslim loved ones usually have decent relationship and are supportive of each other. American Muslims are not in an atmosphere where they can assume that what mommy and daddy are doing in the faith are right, so they actually have to study and learn, not just think that they are being Islamic because they come from a Mulim country.

    I guess, since we were already born into this society, we know how to function in it.

    There are people like some of the people who have left comments. Most people who talk a certain way are racist rednecks who can only fall back on name-calling which exposes them for the weak minds that they are.

  9. Don’t presume to lecture us, you embraced a ‘prophet’ who kidnapped women in raids, killed their men, plundered their property, then raped the prettiest in his ever expanding harem. The pedophile then went on to consummate his marriage to the 9 year old girl Aisha because all those rapes just weren’t doing it for him anymore. Allah said Mohammed was an example to everyone on how to live their lives, and thus your God also endorses rape, mass murder, theft, polygamy and pedophilia. Your God is the devil and you have embraced the darkness as your guiding light.

    Read the hadith, the sura, and the quran like most of us have. Then come back and talk about how Islam is ‘accepting the oneness of God.’ You don’t know a thing about your own religion and it’s time you started reading up on it. After all, if it’s the divine word of God’s final instructions to mankind imparting all his wisdom and guidance, don’t you think it’s worth reading? At least once?

  10. @diamed: I ready REAL books by REAL scholars, not racist orientalists who have god-complexes. Your verbal assault on Allah and His Messenger don’t hurt me at all. I would advise you to NOT speak that way, but that is your choice. I know what you’re saying,”Dammit, she isn’t getting angry!”, and that would bother a sociopath. I understand. Get help.

    @spackle: After about a year, it dawned on me that my nickname is not the best fit for current events, but it is actually a musical reference, not a terrorist one. The government has been to my site quite a few times, but I haven’t been shipped to GITMO yet. Sorry.

    I probably won’t be back.

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