In Sweden, there are a number of Muslim organizations that together constitute what is known as “Muslim civil society” (Muslimska civilsamhället). What is important, when discussing Muslim civil society in Sweden, is their political influence, their ideology and their structure.
One of the most important organizations in Sweden’s Muslim civil society is the Islamic Association of Sweden (Islamiska Förbundet i Sverige — IFIS), established in 1981. Some of the goals of IFIS, which you can read about on their website, are to “influence and form opinions on issues that concern the Muslim group and its interests in Sweden” and “increase participation, influence and representation of Muslims in public institutions and bodies”. In other words, IFIS works as a lobby organization for Muslims in Sweden.
It is a lobby organization that has been successful.
Former IFIS chairman Abdirizak Waberi represented the second largest party, the Moderate Party, in parliament between 2010 and 2014, when this party was in government. When Waberi sat in parliament, he was a member of the defense committee, which decides the policies for the Swedish Armed Forces.
Waberi’s time in parliament was a remarkable experience for many Swedes. In several interviews before 2010, Waberi said he believed in a literal interpretation of the Koran. In an interview from 2006, he supported the idea that men could have four wives. In another interview from 2009, he said that he does not shake the hand of a woman; that men and women should not dance with each other, and that he would rather live in a country with Islamic sharia law. After these interviews, clearly revealing that Waberi is an Islamist, and that he got to represent Sweden’s second-largest party in parliament, apparently without Swedish media or anyone else providing scrutiny over his past statements.
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