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Saudi Arabia Wants to Convert Sweden to Islam

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Aje Carlbom is an Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Malmö

Translated from the original Swedish and found at:

Since the 1970s, Saudi Arabia has actively spread its interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism or Salafism, worldwide. It is the most literal version of Islam and affects many young Muslims, who regard society as a place to Islamize, writes social anthropologist Aje Carlbom.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was criticized by Saudi Arabia for their involvement in its internal affairs. For the Saudis themselves however, there is no problem to interfere in other countries’ political and social affairs.

Since the 1970s, Saudi Arabia has been actively proselytizing, on a global level, for their particular interpretation of Islam: Wahhabism or Salafism, as its become known as in later years. It is the most literalist version of Islamic interpretations (Sunni) and has influenced the thinking of many young Muslims in recent years.

The Saudi mission is organized by the Muslim World League (MWL), one of the largest NGOs with 30 offices on five continents. The main task of the MWL is to sponsor the spread of Islam in the world. The latest Swedish Quran translation, “Koranens budskap” (the message of the Quran), was partly financed with the help of Saudi capital.

An important part of the mission has been to finance the construction of mosques. The great mosque in Malmö, Islamic Center, was funded by Saudi Arabia and Libya when it was built in the early 1980s. A relationship that changed a few years before the “Arab Spring” when the World Islamic Call Society bought the mosque. It is a Libyan, competing organization, which was established by the country’s then dictator Muammar al Gaddafi.

The organization World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) is included in the MWL, who has spread its Islamic propaganda in different languages ??long before the Internet became a platform for it. Well known among those who study the spread of Islam, is the series of brochures that has been published by WAMY in recent decades.

The series tackles different subject areas in which the reader is persuaded to turn to Islam to find the meaning of life. MWL / WAMY has offices in London, whose aim is to “introduce Islam” in the UK and contribute to, as they say today, “dialogue” with the surrounding society. Another objective is to “correct the false image” of Islam, that is perceive to dominate how Westerners view Islam.

The Saudi mission has been very successful among many young Muslims in Sweden and other European countries. A common hypothesis is that young people are suffering from an identity crisis that makes them uncertain about who they really are. They find it hard to identify with the family’s cultural and religious values ??and do not feel really at home in the Swedish liberal way of life.

For an increasing number of young people, the solution to the difficulties is to search for Islamist groups and networks where they find religious and social community. In recent years, many young people has perceived Salafism more attractive than the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb out-Tahrir extreme teachings.

In Sweden, the term “violent radicalization” has had a major impact. The Islamist part of the term refers to the Salafists who develop in a militant direction and turn into jihadists. As a political movement Salafism is divided into groups that advocate violence and those who are opposed to it.

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