Swedish politician who called to bomb Israel quits

Engulfed in row over anti-gay, anti-women and anti-Semitism allegations, Omar Mustafa resigns from Social Democrats' board.

April 14, 2013 15:27
4 minute read.

OMAR MUSTAFA. (photo credit: VIMEO)


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BERLIN – Omar Mustafa, head of Sweden’s Islamic Association and a member of the Social Democratic Party’s governing board, resigned from his post in the center- left party on Sunday amid allegations of anti-gay bias, sexism and anti-Semitism.

The 28-year-old Mustafa tweeted in 2011 that Sweden should send fighter planes against Israel instead of targeting the regime of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi as part of the 2011 NATO campaign to protect the civilian population.

Last week in Stockholm, the Social Democrats elected Mustafa to their governing board.

Immediately after Mustafa’s election to the board, however, a series of disclosures cast a spotlight upon his cordial relationship with Egyptian anti-Semites, his Islamic organization’s refusal to recognize equality between men and women, and invitations to Islamists known for propagating extremist anti-gay ideologies, sparking fury in the Swedish media and from the former Social Democrats party leader.

Mustafa has “liked” the Facebook page of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian theologian who has called for suicide bombings against Israelis and has justified the Holocaust, saying, “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption.

The last punishment was carried out by Hitler.”

With respect to Mustafa’s resignation, Lisa Abramowicz, secretary- general of the Swedish-Israel Information Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that she is “a bit surprised, since they [Social Democrats] were so adamant until just a few hours ago that as a Social Democrat he was by definition an anti-racist.”

Stefan Löfven, current party leader of the Social Democrats, initially accepted Mustafa’s statement last week that he is against anti-Semitism, and seemed willing to retain Mustafa on the party’s board.

An ensuing storm in the Swedish media placed immense pressure on Mustafa and on the Social Democrats for their willingness to retain him, ultimately resulting in Mustafa’s resignation.

Swedish media reports revealed anti-women by-laws of the Islamic Association that contain provisions for segregation between sexes and defend sexual discrimination against women.

The free Swedish daily Metro quoted Löfven as saying, “You cannot be elected to the Social Democrats unless you can fully stand up for the party’s values of human equality and equality between women and men. These are the values which we base our whole political platform on. This is inviolable.”

Abramowicz added, “I think it is a relief that the leadership of the Social Democrats at last realized that Mustafa’s views don’t correspond with the views of the Social Democrats, in many ways. You can’t be the chairman of an organization and distance yourself from that organization [the Islamic Association] and pretend you don’t share these views. I don’t know what was the ultimate straw, but I suspect it had more to do with misogyny and homophobia rather than anti-Semitism. Or the three became too much for the Social Democrats to deal with.”

Mustafa slammed the political party in an open letter published by Sweden’s leading TT news agency, saying that “the party leadership’s view is not only unfortunate, it is also a frightening signal to Muslims and other believers in the Social Democrats.”

He said that the criticisms leveled against him and the Islamic Association show “unfounded attacks and conspiracy theories about Islam, Muslims and Muslim organizations.”

Mustafa has invited the Egyptian Islamic extremists Salah Sultan and Ragheb al-Serjany to a conference in Sweden, prompting sharp criticism last week from activists combating racism and anti-Semitism in the Scandanavian country.

“These people have been openly anti-Semitic. Both have spread anti-Semitic propaganda,” Willy Silberstein of the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism told the Post last week.

Silberstein said that Salah Sultan has claimed on the Al Jazeera television channel that Jews committed ritual murder of Christians to use their blood in the unleavened bread of Passover. Serjany, Silberstein said, has asserted that Jews control the international media.

According to the Swedish paper Expressen, Mustafa’s Islamic Association invited “ the notorious anti-Semite Azzam Tamimi” to deliver a talk in 2011. The British- Palestinian academic has called Israel “a cancer” and has discussed “Europe’s Jewish problem.”

Tamini has also called for the eviction of Israelis to “a national homeland in central Europe, for instance, within one of the German states.”

Expressen further reported that Mustafa also invited “the openly homophobic Yasir Qadhi” to Stockholm’s muslim festival “Muslim Family Days.” Qadhi has termed homosexuality unnatural and immoral, and the invitation extended to him by Mustafa was criticized yesterday by the chairman of LGBT Social Democrats in Sweden, Anders Selin, who said Mustafa should consider resigning from the Social Democratic governing board.

The paper noted that in 2010 Mustafa – who at the time was affiliated with the Islamic Association’s Young Muslims youth group – invited Sheik Abdullah Hakim Quick to speak at a conference.

The radical Islamist advocates the death penalty for homosexuals.

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