Breaking Barriers: Sweden’s First Muslim Party Hopes to Make Way Into Parliament
With the percentage of Muslims in Sweden having grown exponentially over the past several decades, it’s been only a matter of time for the first Muslim party, Jasin, to pop up in the Nordic country’s political spectrum.
Jasin, Sweden’s first Muslim party, has recently applied for registration and is making no secret of its ambition to enter parliament as soon as the next general election in 2018.
By its own admission, Jasin is open to “all people with a foreign background” and seeks to spread Islam, while simultaneously claiming to be secular. In describing itself, Jasin claims to respect Swedish law and aims to improve the country, eliminate poverty and crime, and combat racism and discrimination. At the same time, however, it is ready to strike a blow for “immigrants from the Eastern world,” and “unite them under one roof.”
While Jasin is described as an independent party “seeking to protect everyone’s rights,” the emphasis is placed on non-Swedes, above all Muslims, the Swedish news outlet Nya Tider reported. According to Nya Tider, in its application Jasin claimed to intend to keep within the Quran, follow Shia imams and Sharia laws. Despite associating themselves with Shia Islam, Jasin claims to be welcoming of Sunnis as well.
In addition to practicing Islam as a “divine, logical and knowledgeable” religion, Jasin seeks to disseminate “the true side of Islam,” which it says has been forgotten and is portrayed as a belligerent religion. On its website, Jasin condemned all forms of extremism and racism.
In an interview with the Swedish news outlet Samhällsnytt, Jasin secretary Mehdi Hosseini revealed that the party is led by Iranian imam Sheikh Zoheir-Eslami Gheraati currently residing in Tehran. Admittedly, though, Jasin is working to bring him to Sweden.
Perhaps somewhat predictably, immigration is the focal point of Jasin’s program.
“As regards immigration policy, we propose that all those seeking protection, be it financial or political, are welcome in Sweden. However, we want people who commit gross crimes to be expelled and their citizenship abolished,” Mehdi Hosseini told Samhällsnytt.
Furthermore, Hosseini argued that the integration policies of Sweden’s established parties do not work and suggested that religion may play a big part in uniting people. On a more concrete level, one of Jasin’s ideas is to reduce the retirement age to 55 years to free up more jobs for better integration. On Jasin’s website, the Swedish parties’ practice of pinning the problems on immigrants was compared to “sweeping the dust under the rug.”
The JaSin Group Association, which is behind the eponymous party, has its headquarters in Malmö and Lund and claims to be working for the benefit of immigrants in Sweden. Jasin is currently in the process of gathering signatures and has over 450 of the 1,500 needed for a party to be formally registered.
The exact number of Muslims in Sweden remains a highly debated topic due to the fact that the profiling of people by religion is not allowed in the country. Various estimates, however, put it as high as 600,000, or six percent of Sweden’s population. The majority of Swedish Muslims are Sunnis, originating from Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Somalia and Turkey with Shias from Iran also being present.
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