September 19, 2005 No.

Imam of Stockholm's Great Mosque: Expulsion of Preachers of Hate is Completely Justified; Muslim Journalist Responds: ‘Stockholm’s Great Mosque Sympathizes with Muslim Brotherhood'

Following the July 7, 2005 London bombings, and following a threat on his life by Swedish Islamists, imam Hassan Moussa[1]of Stockholm's Great Mosque in Sweden published in the Swedish daily Expressen[2] a call for national unity in Sweden to remove the threat posed by Islamists, and complimented the British government for taking action by expelling the "preachers of hatred."

In reaction to Moussa's op-ed, asserting journalist Salam Karam published, also in Expressen, a response[3] to Moussa’s call, in which he stated that the leadership of Stockholm’s Great Mosque sympathizes with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and that Sweden's Social Democrats are siding with these extremist elements.

The following are excerpts from both articles.

*Imam Hassan Moussa's Op-Ed:

"After the London Bombings, the Time for 'Buts' is Over"

"The terror attacks in London on July 7 shocked me. Like many others, I felt anger, dismay and despair when I watched the TV pictures from London. Probably most people did; but, unfortunately, not everyone. After 7/7, I realized that there is no longer any room for compromises or excuses, that there is nothing to understand – that instead, we must stand together to do everything to stop those who spread hatred and death.

"I decided to exclude the word 'but' from my sermons. After the London attacks, the time for 'buts' is over, at least on my part. I don't want to hear any more 'buts' or other excuses for suicide attacks in Europe. I never again want to hear, 'But what about the victims in Iraq' or 'But think about what the U.S. has done there and there,' or 'But think about the [immigrant-European] segregation [in European countries].'

"He Demanded That I Stop Condemning Islamist Terror – or Else"

"In the Friday sermon that I delivered at Stockholm's Great Mosque after 7/7, I condemned the attacks unreservedly. I talked about how we now must, once and for all, deal with those forces that disgrace Islam by mutilating and murdering innocent people. The TV pictures from London had left me in such despair that I couldn't hold back the tears while delivering the Friday sermon. That caused strong reactions.

"Afterwards, I was – in my own mosque – threatened by people who considered it reprehensible that I 'wept for English children.' Unfortunately, there is a minority among Swedish Muslims that holds extreme views, and that sympathizes with the London bombers. Some of these people are regular visitors to several Islamic congregations, among them Stockholm's Great Mosque where I am active.

"The negative reactions to my speech disappointed and depressed me. The fact that many expressed their gratitude to me for confronting a problem that is growing for the majority of Sweden's Muslims is comforting, but does not decrease my concerns.

"The day after my Friday sermon... I was approached by a man who threatened my life. He demanded that I stop condemning Islamist terror – or else. His threat was of such a serious nature that my wife and I decided to file a police complaint...

"The developments in the recent past concern me deeply. I have a feeling that many do not understand how serious the situation is. It is not very likely that Sweden will be hit by a terror attack as London was, but it is not impossible. The Swedish society must open its eyes [and realize] that there are extreme Muslims in the country, even if they are few, who hate an open and tolerant society, who don't want us as Muslims to be a clear part of the Western world, Europe, and Sweden. [They are] people who are prepared to go as far as necessary to achieve their goals.

We Need National Unity Against the Hatred – Before it's Too Late

"In my opinion, the situation is so serious that we should create an alliance, a national unity. I am thinking of a council with representatives from all political parties, representatives from the large religious communities, priests, rabbis – and tolerant imams, but also people from the security police and social authorities. Together we must take action against those who constitute a threat to all of us – before it is too late.

"The majority of Muslims in Sweden are disgusted by everything related to violence and hatred. To place collective blame on all Swedish Muslims, as some representatives from Folkpartiet[4] are doing, is to do bin Laden and his friends a favor.

"There are no excuses for what happened in London. England has accepted millions of Muslims. There they have been able to build a good life for themselves. Their children have been allowed to grow up under safe conditions and have been offered a high-quality education. The terror attacks in London were the thanks [shown by] some of these youths. This is heinous and unforgivable. With the results before us, we can determine that Great Britain has been too tolerant and naïve.

Britain's Expulsion of the Preachers of Hatred is Completely Justified

"The British government should have taken radical actions to stop the preachers of hatred [before the bombings], even if this would have led to the closure of some Islamic congregations. [This is] something that liberal Muslims [in Britain] have been demanding for a long time, but got no [government] sympathy.

"I also want to compliment the British government for how it has dealt with [the aftermath of] the attacks. To expel preachers of hatred is completely justified. But it is important that every individual's human rights are protected, even when it is criminals who are expelled. This is a precondition, if democracy and tolerance are to win over hatred and extremism.

"Sweden is not England. But the situation is still grave, and therefore I plead for national unity against the hatred."

*Muslim Journalist Salam Karam's Reaction:

There is No Will to Deal with Extremism

"Sheikh Hassan Moussa’s admission that there is extremism in our mosques is welcomed. But Hassan Moussa doesn’t say anything about the big problem. Sweden’s mosques are slowly but surely being taken over by a politically oriented group, the Muslim Brotherhood – a group with which many of [the mosque’s] members sympathize. In [Moussa’s] proposal for creating an anti-extremist council, it is understood that the Muslim Brotherhood should represent all Muslims and thereby further affirm its grip on the mosques.

"These problems and challenges that Muslims face today concern us all and should be publicly discussed. The lack of openness is today the big problem in our mosques. During my visits to Sweden’s mosques and in discussions with representatives of Muslim organizations, I have noticed how extremism is growing among a small but dangerous group of Muslims.

Moussa isn't Telling Us the Truth About Our Mosques

"Up until now, this has been denied by Sweden’s Muslim organizations.

"Hassan Moussa, imam of Stockholm’s Great Mosque and chairman of Sweden’s Imam Council, now admits that his life has been threatened too.

"...Moussa is courageous for publicly telling about these threats, because it is time for Sweden to start dealing with extremism... One problem is that there is no genuine will among the Muslim organizations in Sweden to solve those problems that lead to extremism. Sheikh Hassan Moussa isn't telling us the truth about how several of our mosques are being led, and how this in turn leads to extremism.

"Around 400,000 people of Muslim origin live in Sweden. I am one of them. The Great Mosque... in Stockholm, where... Moussa preaches, and those congregations which are connected to it, have during recent years tried to portray themselves as representatives of all Muslims in Sweden, and as a model for pluralism.

"This is a risky way to present Sweden's heterogeneous group of Muslims. A great part of the 'Muslims' are non-practicing. Many others are Shiite Muslims and have their own congregations. In fact, the [Stockholm] Great Mosque doesn’t even represent all Sunni Muslims. It is well known among researchers of Islam, Muslim debaters, and also imams in Sweden that the [Stockholm] Great Mosque is run by a small group of people, of which several are from the Arab world.

Sweden's an Ideal Country for the Muslim Brotherhood

"This group sympathizes... with the Muslim Brotherhood... which preaches a strict form of Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood has condemned the 9/11 attacks, but justifies... suicide attacks against Israelis.

"The organization is also close to the Palestinian movement Hamas – whose ideology is very similar to Nazism, and which is guilty of many brutal terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

"For the Muslim Brotherhood, Sweden is in many ways an ideal country, [and it] shares the ideals of the [Swedish] Social Democrats in their view of the welfare society. Leading figures in Muslim congregations are also active within the Social Democratic [Party], and have very good relations with Sweden’s Christian Social Democrats – Broderskapsrörelsen [the Brotherhood Movement].

"The Social Democrats have, in turn, and perhaps as thanks for the support they receive from the mosque leadership, shown a tendency to shy away from the fact that there is extremism in some of our mosques. This has given the Muslim Brotherhood the freedom to force its ideology upon [the mosque's worshippers].

Mosque Leadership Calls Muslim Critics "Jews"

"Sweden’s mosques are slowly but surely being taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood. This elite does not allow the existence of other ways of thinking... and Muslims who do not sympathize with the [Muslim] Brotherhood are excluded from the leadership... or are bullied. People who have participated in Muslim organizations in Sweden, and who want to remain anonymous from fear of retaliation, have told me that they have been kicked out of mosque organizations because they criticized the Muslim Brotherhood. Others have told me that they have been phoned by the mosque leadership and called ‘Jews’ in the sense of ‘non-humans.’

"...During several visits that I made in the last year to the [Stockholm] Great Mosque, it turned out that double messages were conveyed during the Friday sermons. In Arabic there were speeches of hatred against the U.S., and in Swedish [the U.S.] was [celebrated]. When [my] article [about this] was published in Svenska Dagbladet on May 23, 2004, the [Social Democrat Democracy] Minister Mona Sahlin refused to comment on [the article]. Why? For me, the question arose: Where, in fact, does Mona Sahlin and the Social Democrats stand on the issue of fighting extremism?

Openness is the Way to Deal with Extremism

"In order to deal with the problem of extremism in our mosques, Hassan Moussa suggests in an opinion piece in this paper... that a [national unity] council be created [to fight extremism]. Implied in this proposal is that Hassan Moussa himself, and the Muslim organizations which are connected to the [Stockholm] Great Mosque, will represent Sweden’s Muslims. The proposal is an attempt to establish the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip on the mosques in Sweden. And the obvious result is that a council of a small group of Sweden’s Muslims will be granted the right to point out who is an ‘extremist’ and what is ‘right and wrong’ in our mosques. Is this how Sweden will fight extremism?

"Sweden is known for promoting freedom and tolerance. By criticizing the Muslim institutions and pointing to the problems that the Muslims in Sweden are facing, I in no way wish to harm Islam or Muslims. On the contrary.

"I want more people to gain knowledge about the Muslims’ reality and more Swedes of Muslim origin to take part in the debate. It is important for Sweden’s security and future.

"I also hope that leading Muslim organizations will open up to scrutiny and dialogue, and try to do something positive with the criticism. It is only through openness that we can counter the groups that Hassan Moussa points to as extremists. This is something which is also valid for the Social Democrats."


[1] Hassan Moussa is imam of Stockholm's Great Mosque and chairman of Sweden's Imam Council.

[2] Expressen (Sweden), September 6, 2005

[3] Expressen (Sweden), September 9, 2005 .

[4] Moussa is apparently referring to an August 29, 2005 op-ed in Expressen by Folkpartiet MP Nyamko Sabuni. In her op-ed, Sabuni wrote, "I also worry that free Muslim schools risk becoming the natural base of recruitment for future suicide bombers" ( Also, an August 30, 2005 Expressen editorial claimed that Sabuni had, during an August 29 panel debate, added to her previous demands another demand that girls under 15 not wear the veil (