A Swedish, Muslim minister has been accused of being an “Islamist” with a “hidden agenda” by a former member of parliament who said his inclusion in the government signalled that Sweden had become supportive of Islamic extremists.
The comments came in response to points made by Green Party MP Mehmet Kaplan, the new minister of housing when he spoke to his native Turkish press about his views on the reasons for radicalisation and the success of recruitment by ISIS in Europe.
TheLocal.se reports that he suggested the primary driving force is widespread “Islamophobia” among native Europeans, and the best way to reverse the trend was for European governments to give mosques money.
This is not the first time Kaplan, a former spokesman for the Muslim Council of Sweden has made statements on Islam that have caused concern.
In July he hit national headlines for saying Swedish Muslims going to fight for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were “nothing to worry about” and were akin to young Swedes in 1939 volunteering to help defend Finland from the invading Soviet Union in the Winter War.
The prospect of bribing mosques into good behaviour prompted fellow Turkish born, former Social Democrat MP Nalin Pekgul to issue a stern rebuke in a Swedish newspaper, in which she countered his suggestion of Islamophobia by saying a loss of identity associated with European living was to blame.
Criticising Kaplan’s apparent immunity when speaking in support of radical Islam, Pekgul said: “For fear of being labelled as an Islamophobe, no one dares question Mehmet Kaplan and his hidden agenda”.
“It’s unforgivably naive to think that giving money to these kinds of [Muslim] organizations and mosques will work against segregation and will reach out to these youths who are being radicalized”, said Pekgul: “It’s exactly this kind of naivety that people like Mehmet Kaplan are counting on”.
Pekgul believes including an MP who appears to be such a clear supporter of radical Islamism as a minister in the new Social Democrat-Green coalition means the Government “have sent a clear signal to Sweden’s muslims that the Islamists now have the support of the Swedish establishment”.
Sweden’s Social Democrat-Green coalition took control after nationwide elections last month, in a result that may have interesting parallels for the forthcoming United Kingdom 2015 general election. Although the left-wing Social Democrat party were unable to significantly increase their vote share, they have been able to form a minority government with the Greens after new contenders the Sweden Democrats split the right-wing vote and placed third.
Like UKIP, the Sweden Democrats have campaigned against comfy political elites and unlimited immigration, campaigning under the slogan ‘Keep Sweden Swedish’: “We want to hit out against the elite who have let our society disintegrate for decades. They are to blame for the problems in our society… It is, therefore, no mystery that politicians want to be elected on the same policies which caused the problems in the first place… Their failed integration politics is solved by more mass immigration. And the problem of begging is solved by having even more people come here to beg”.