The Swedish Muslim Green party member who quit because of backlash after he refused to shake a woman’s hand, blames racism for the row.
Green Party politician Yasri Khan quit the party after he made an appearance on Swedish television and refused to shake the hand of a female journalist, opting to put his hand on his heart instead. Since his retirement from politics Khan had not given a detailed justification for the move until now. “This would not have happened if I was white,” Khan said in an interview with Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter.
Khan made it clear that the real problem in Sweden is racism and Islamophobia saying, “there is Islamophobia in Sweden. I am quite sure I would not have been treated like this if I’d been a white man. I wish that Sweden was more tolerant.”
Mr. Khan is described as a devout Muslim who practises a traditional form of Islam that was taught to him by his parents who migrated to Sweden from southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia which Khan refers to as Patani.
He said that the reaction from the Swedish Prime Minister and the general public reflected intolerance of his beliefs saying, “for many people it will be a symbolic act. But for me it is a consequence of my faith and my religion, and I have to be respected for who I am,” and said, “this is about my struggle to be allowed to be myself as a Muslim in Sweden. It has been a lifelong struggle for me.”
The symbolic act of refusing to shake a woman’s hand also brought criticism from feminists in Sweden who saw it as a symbol of disrespect.
When asked if he was a feminist Khan replied in the affirmative but stressed that he wasn’t a fan of what he called “white feminism” dismissing their criticisms saying, “as a Muslim, there is very much of me together with third world feminism, but not the white feminism where apparently a handshake is very important.”
The retirement of the former Green Party member was preceded by what many are calling an Islamic infiltration of the Swedish Green Party. Former Housing Minister and Green Party politician Mehmet Kaplan was forced to step down after images emerged of him dining with Neo-Nazi Turkish nationalists.
Kaplan was photographed sitting down for food with the so called “Grey Wolves” in Turkey last year. The Turkish nationalist group have an avowed hatred of Armenians with one of the men at the dinner having been recorded shouting at a public rally, “the Armenian dogs should beware. Death to the Armenian dogs!”
The government of Turkey actively denies a genocide of Armenians took place during World War One, and those who question the government position in Turkey are frequently arrested for “insulting” the state. Turkey recently put pressure on the European Union to remove funding from an art project that was in honour of those who were killed in the tragedy. The EU removed advertising for the event from their website, but refused to deny the funding to the symphony who were behind it.