Sweden: Social Democrats force out Mustafa over ‘values’

14th Apr 2013

The Local: Embattled Social Democrat Omar Mustafa, who also chairs Sweden’s Islamic
Association (Islamiska förbundet), resigned from all his duties with the party on Saturday
night, bowing to calls from within the party that he leave the governing board.

“The party leadership believes that having a mandate within the party and within Muslim
civil society is incompatible. The party leadership’s view isn’t only regrettable, it’s also a
frightening signal to Muslims and other Social Democrats who are people of faith,” he wrote
in an open letter.

“I therefore feel that the party leadership doesn’t have confidence in me and have forced me
to resign from all my duties in the party.”

Mustafa, 28, was chosen to sit on the governing board of the left-of-centre opposition party at
last weekend’s party congress.

The election has proven controversial, however, with much of the criticism concerning an
invitation issued by the Islamic Association to speakers with known anti-Semitic views.

According to TT, the Islamic Association’s bylaws also state that men and women have
different legal status.

Mustafa’s announcement came following a Saturday night crisis meeting among Social
Democrats in Stockholm who had previously lobbied to have him included in the party’s
governing board.

“Knowing what we know now and considering how events unfolded, the situation became
unsustainable. I therefore urged him to resign,” Veronica Palm, chair of the Social Democrats
in Stockholm, told TT.Palm explained that she and her colleagues had nominated Mustafa
to the Social Democrats’ governing board because he’d “done a good job” for the party in

“We thought he had valuable experience that could contribute to the party on a national
level,” she said.

She added that the party was aware of the Islamic Association’s views about women and
the family, but explained that Mustafa “had never shown values other than those held by the
Social Democrats”.

Earlier on Saturday, party leader Stefan Löfven had made it clear that, if he is to continue,
Mustafa needed to fully get behind the party’s values.

“You can’t hold an elected position within the Social Democrats unless you can fully stand
up for the party’s values ​that all human beings are equal and for equality between women and
men,” Löfven said.

“These are the values which we base our whole political platform on. This is inviolable.”

In his open letter, Mustafa explained that he had become the victim of “unfounded attacks
and conspiracy theories about Islam, Muslims, and Muslim organizations”.

Despite leaving his duties with the party, Mustafa vowed to continue working within Muslim
civil society for “justice, equality, and human rights.”

“I plan to continue my work with Swedish-Muslim identity, against racism in all its forms,
and for a more just national and international policy,” he wrote.

TT/The Local/dl



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