Swedish party under fire for 'anti-Semitic links'

Member of party’s governing body criticized for meeting with Egyptian extremists.

OMAR MUSTAFA (photo credit: VIMEO)
(photo credit: VIMEO)
BERLIN – The Social Democratic party of Sweden – the country’s largest political party – has been accused of failing to confront anti-Semitism within the party’s ranks.
Omar Mustafa, chairman of the Islamic Association in Sweden who was recently elected to the governing board of the Social Democratic party, was on Monday the subject of an expose in the Swedish anti-racist magazine Expo for questionable ties to documented anti-Semites.
On Facebook, Mustafa “liked” the page of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian theologian who has called for suicide bombings against Israelis.
In a recorded speech in 2009 on YouTube, Qaradawi 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.”
Mustafa also elicited criticism when he invited the Egyptians Salah Sultan and Ragheb al-Serjany to a conference in Sweden.
“These people have been openly anti- Semitic. Both have spread anti-Semitic propaganda,” Willy Silberstein of the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday from Stockholm.
“Salah Sultan claimed on the television channel Al Jazeera that the Jews during Passover committed ritual murder of Christians by using blood in unleavened bread.”
Silberstein added that Serjany asserted that Jews control the international media.
In his discussions with Mustafa, said Silberstein, the Social Democrat said he would invite the Egyptians again as long as they do not say any anti-Semitic things when they are in Sweden.
Silberstein objected to this way of thinking, arguing Serjany and Sultan are given credibility solely by being invited.
Multiple Post emails to the Social Democratic party headquarters for a response to Mustafa’s appointment, including the party’s head, Stefan Löfven, were not returned.
But on Twitter, Social Democratic MP Veronica Palm welcomed Mustafa to the board of governors, writing, “Congrats, [you] joined me in Stockholm representatives in the [Social] Democratic party.”
Silberstein called on the Social Democratic leader to speak up against Mustafa’s connections to anti-Semites.
“When someone like [Mustafa] is elected to lead the biggest political party in Sweden, it allows anti-Semitism to make a step forward,” he said. “Anti-Semitism is a problem in Sweden.”
Lisa Abramowicz, the secretary-general of the Swedish-Israel Information Center, told the Post that Mustafa “should be removed from the board because he is still fluffy on what he thinks.”
She noted it would “never be accepted if raving lunatics” made comments by other parties. “The person who invited such a person would be forced to leave the party.”
As the largest party in the Swedish government, the Social Democratic party carries great weight among the media and public opinion.
Critics of the Social Democrats say they have been immersed in anti-Semitism scandals over the years.
In addition to the allegations of anti-Semitism facing Mustafa, last year the Social Democratic mayor of Malmö, Ilmar Reepalu, was also charged with anti-Semitism by Swedish Jews.
Reepalu said last year that the Swedish Democratic party had infiltrated the town’s Jewish community to spread hate of Muslims.
Lena Posner Körösi, the chairwoman of the central Jewish council in Sweden and the Jewish community in Stockholm, tagged Reepalu as an “anti-Semite” in the Swedish Christian daily Världen idag because of his hate directed at Jews.
In 2010, a group of Muslims in Malmö shouted “Sieg Heil” and “Hitler, Hitler,” and threw rocks and bottles at a small group of Jews peacefully demonstrating in support of Israel.
Reepalu said in 2010 that Sweden’s Jews were largely culpable for the violence inflicted on them because they didn’t “distance” themselves from Israel and the IDF operation during the Gaza war.
Malmö has a population of 290,000 of which Muslim immigrants make up approximately 20 percent and out of Sweden’s population of 9 million, there are 450,000 Muslims.