The Muslim Brotherhood in Sweden, Part Nine

Below is the latest installment on the Muslim Brotherhood in Sweden. Many thanks to Gary Fouse for translating this article from Ledarsidorna:

Faith and Solidarity: Give the Muslim Brotherhood a clear and obvious place

Over time, the Social Democrats (SD) have developed two foreign policy lines: Partly that which is presented in the media and Parliament, but also partly that which is carried out in practice. A foreign policy that is essentially influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose most faithful ally is the Social Democrat side organization Faith and Solidarity.

Ever since the mid-1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood has established itself in the Social Democrat party. As Ledarsidorna was earlier able to report, the Brotherhood has its principal seat through the Islamic Association in Sweden and particularly through Stockholm’s mosque, whose current imam, Mahmoud Khalfi, was nominated for political positions of trust after the 1994 Stockholm municipal election.

Khalfi has himself affirmed the mosque’s direction as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood in several of his own statements, which have been noticed by researcher Sameh Egyptson. The previous spokesperson for IFiS (Islamic Association in Sweden), Mahmoud Aldebe, has also confirmed the ideological direction through his own description of the Brotherhood in Sweden.

The clearest example of how this seemingly warm relationship between Social Democrats and the Brotherhood has grown is the trip that was made in 2011.

In March 2011, on the initiative of the Brotherhood movement, a delegation made up of Viola Furubjelke, head of the delegation, Mariam Osman Sheriafy (SD Board of Directors), Alaa Idris, SSU (Swedish SD Youth Association), Chakrib Benmaklouf, president of European Federation of Islamic Organizations (FIOE), and Ulf Carmesund, international secretary of the Brotherhood Movement, traveled to Egypt to gain information on the situation in the country after the riots at Tahrir Square. Among other things, meetings were held with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood who later won the subsequent election through their political party.

Viola Furubjelke is a former member of Parliament (1985-2002) and chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee. From 2005 to 2008 Furubjelke was general secretary for Olof Palme’s International Center.

FIOE, of which Benmaklouf was chairman at the time, is the Brotherhood’s European umbrella organization, and was founded by, among others, IFiS.

Mariam Osman Sheriafy later became rector for Kista Public High School, which is part of the Brotherhood’s cluster of network organizations. Alaa Idris became organizational secretary with responsibility for member registry for Carin Jämtin during the latter’s time as party secretary.

During the same period, Peter Weiderud was chairman for the Brotherhood Movement, which changed its name to Social Democrats for Faith and Solidarity. Faith and Solidarity developed into today’s organization to no longer being a Christian side organization of Social Democrats, but to an inter-religious organization where all religions are welcome. This led to the organization taking on a values-apologetic profile.

Among other things, Weiderud said that Social Democrats would accept that Muslim party members mainly held homophobic values in a debate article in SVT [Swedish State Television] Opinion. His reasoning was that these members had not come as far in their political and democratic development as Swedish Social Democrats.

The Brotherhood’s influence is clear. Far less known is that Faith and Solidarity, in connection with Egypt’s current president’s seizure of power, urged the Egyptian military regime to normalize relations with the Muslim Brotherhood.

A Brotherhood that, during the election and its brief time in power, persecuted other religious minorities, explicitly expressed that they wanted to destroy the state of Israel, as well as introducing wide-ranging, repressive religious laws.

In a press release signed by Peter Weiderud, in his capacity as chairman from August 19, 2013, after Brotherhood President Morsi was overthrown, Faith and Solidarity wrote:

“Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi’s proposal to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood provokes opponents and diminishes the room for negotiations.”

“The interim government must create a real dialogue wherein the Muslim Brotherhood gets a clear and obvious place.”

After the Swedish election in 2014, Peter Weiderud was appointed to be director at the Swedish Institute in Alexandria. Weiderud himself broke off this assignment in 2018 and the government closed the institute down, stating that the Swedish Property Agency raised the rent for the property in Alexandria, which the authorities administrator for the Swedish Church. This is an explanation that the government put forward to the opposition in the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Today, Weiderud is employed as chancellery counselor with the Unit for Conflict Management in the Foreign Affairs Department, with special orientation on inter-religious dialogue. Weiderud was permanently appointed in 2019 to the Foreign Affairs Department by then-Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström.