AFP, November 27, 2023
Swedish far-right politician Jimmie Åkesson said mosques that spread anti-democratic, anti-Swedish, homophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda should be confiscated and demolished.
Controversial comments made by Swedish far-right politician Jimmie Åkesson over the weekend have inflamed debate both at home and abroad.
The leader of the Sweden Democrats (SD) said on Saturday during a speech at the party’s annual congress that he wanted to destroy mosques with “anti-Swedish” messages.
“We must also start confiscating and demolishing mosques where anti-democratic, anti-Swedish, homophobic, anti-Semitic propaganda or general disinformation is spread,” he said.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, a conservative whose coalition government is supported by the SD but has no SD members, condemned the comments on Monday.
“I think this is a disrespectful way of expressing oneself, a polarising way of expressing oneself,” he told public broadcaster SVT.
“It gives a bad image of what Sweden stands for internationally,” he added.
Sweden has yet to complete its NATO accession process, pending the approval of Turkey and Hungary.
Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has called on the Nordic country to take measures to control Islamophobic acts, in particular demonstrations to burn copies of the Quran.
Åkesson’s comments this weekend have attracted the attention of the international press, particularly the Turkish media, which has been highly critical of the politician.
In response to the criticism, the far-right politician has written a column in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in which he claims to be “deeply tired” of references to the NATO process and urges Sweden to stop playing Erdogan’s game.