Jimmie Åkesson om Islamic Center i världsnyheter

Idag sändes ett reportage om Islamic Centers muslimska friskola Ögårdsskolan i TV-kanalen MSNBC Europe. Sverigedemokraternas partiledare Jimmie Åkesson kritiserar Malmös moské.

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"Police allege the shooting at Malmo's Islamic center — Sweden's largest mosque — was not random. Investigators say it was one of ten attempted murders and at least one killing perpetrated by a gunman whose objective was to "shoot at immigrants."

"Malmo's Islamic center serves a 60,000-strong Muslim community, including people who speak 120 different languages."

"Bejzat Becirov, the mosque's founder and chief executive, remains shocked by the Dec. 31, 2009, shooting through the window that wounded his colleague. The victim had been sitting at a desk when the sniper took aim and fired. Shards of glass were removed from his neck.

"He could have been hit if that pot wouldn't have been there," Becirov said, motioning toward the window sill where a heavy terracotta planter sits, palm fronds fanning out from its center.

The bullet was found lodged in a wooden cabinet. The office worker was treated at a hospital and later released.

Police arrested Peter Mangs, 38, in connection with the mosque shooting, part of a series of attacks in Malmo that started with the October 2009 murder of a 20-year-old woman. She was shot as she sat in a car with a male friend of an immigrant background. He was also seriously injured.

Mangs denies any involvement in the shooting spree. However, his father told reporters in November that his son "lived in fear of immigrants taking over Swedish society." Police in Malmo told msnbc.com that they are still investigating the motive behind the attacks. Mangs remains in custody.

Fortress of tolerance

The victim of the mosque shooting has since returned to his native Albania "and he doesn’t want to come back," Becirov added.

The attack was an affront to Becirov, who had during the past three decades strived to build a fortress of tolerance.

"It is supposed to be – and it is – an open mosque, open to everybody, not just Muslims and believers, but to everybody for just that policy: to make people come together and see that we are equals. And that's the way it's working.

"We often get the comment that this is the way you wish it would be everywhere," said the 69-year-old Becirov, who fled Communist Yugoslavia by breaking away from a student trip to Sweden in 1962. "That people can go into a mosque, or go into a church to pray no matter what religion you come from, and to work together for the common good."

An imam at the center works regularly with the Christian community, an event with the Jewish community is in the works and the site has hosted the head of Norway's far-right political party, Becirov said. The mosque's founder conceded that they might have disagreed on a few things, but insisted they were able to have a fruitful discussion.

Becirov says Malmo's Islamic center was established as "a Swedish mosque" and that the language is key to uniting people born in the country and immigrants.

It's impossible not to notice how many archetypal blond-haired, blue-eyed Swedes work there. Seventy percent of its 70-person staff are non-Muslim, Becirov said. His translator for the day – Cecilia Hallstrom, who doubles as a first-grade teacher at the Islamic center’s school – wears a small navy blue cross on the delicate chain around her neck.

Located in the immigrant-heavy Rosengard neighborhood, the mosque has been the target of more than just a gunman. Becirov said there have been roughly 300 incidents – including the release of a pig – since it was founded as Scandinavia's first mosque in 1983.

The most devastating attack occurred in 2003, when an arsonist set a fire that engulfed the complex and damaged its school. Only the walls of the prayer room remained, Becirov said. While the center was being rebuilt, another Molotov cocktail was hurled at it.

"After 9/11, we've had fires and the shooting and everything, but nobody has been able to stop us from cooperating with others," Becirov added.

'Norms and values'

Akesson is unconvinced by Becirov's claims of openness and the center's moderate approach to Islam.

The far-right politician maintains that Swedish identity is not rooted in the color of an individual's skin but instead in adherence to the "norms and values that have built up the Swedish society." He sees elements of Islam as running counter to those.

He said the Malmo Islamic center is "not a Swedish building, it doesn't look Swedish," adding that minarets "shouldn't be built at all."

Källa, MSNBC Europe onsdag 23 februari 2011:

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