Stockholm protesters slam Islamophobia in Swedish media

By Atila Altuntas

STOCKHOLM (AA) – A group of Muslim activists staged a protest in Stockholm Wednesday against recent anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish news being broadcast in Swedish media.

The protesters gathered in front of the headquarters of Aftonbladet, a Swedish tabloid, and Svenska Dagbladet, a daily newspaper published in Stockholm, and held a silent protest against what they called their anti-Muslim attitudes.

Protest organizer Abdi Qayse said the protest was aimed at stopping Islamophobic and racist broadcasts in Swedish media.

Qayse said the Swedish media made Muslims appear like terrorists in their coverage and blamed them for everything.

He expressed concern over the systematic blame being broadcast against Muslims.

The Swedish media was also criticized for descriptions of Muslims and Turkish nongovernmental organizations as “extremists”, “racists”, “fascists”, and “underground organizations”.

Muslim politicians were also reportedly being put under pressure in the country due to their relationships with Turkish non-governmental organizations.

Last Monday, Sweden’s Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan, who belongs to the Green Party, was forced to resign after getting criticized in the Swedish media for a series of comments he made on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

“Despite me and my party having always fought against racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and any kind of extremism, the media has tried to show me as a racist, radical Islamist,” Kaplan, who is of Turkish origin, said.

Two days later, Yasri Shamsudin Khan, head of Sweden’s Islamic Youth Federation, left the Green Party, citing prejudice against his religious beliefs.

Khan said he had to quit because he was “subjected to a lynch campaign from both inside and outside the [Green] party” over his refusal to shake a female journalist’s hand on a local television program.

A spokeswoman for the Green Party’s youth wing was the latest person of Turkish origin and of Muslim background to resign from the party.

“I no longer feel safe in politics or in my settlement,” Semanur Taskin said in an article released on Saturday for the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, in which she announced her resignation from the Green Party.

“I have doubts over how society looks at me and my commitment [to politics] as a Swedish Muslim,” Taskin said.