Sweden: Muslim youth org to return grants received from state gambling profits

Sweden: Muslim youth org to return grants received from gambling

Via Tro och Politik (Swedish):

The Young Muslims of Sweden organization (Sveriges unga muslimer) is going to give back a million kroner they've received in grants from the state via Svenska Spel, the government's gambling monopoly.

"The grant is morally questionable since gambling addiction has become more widespread," says Mohammed Kharraki, president of Young Muslims of Sweden.

Every year the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs grants money to youth organizations for their activities. About two thirds come from Svenska Spel's profits. In 2010 Young Muslims of Sweden received 1.5 million kroner.

Mohammed Kharraki says that for a while they've been having internal discussion on whether to take the money. Young people in particular are susceptible to gambling addiction, and they don't want to build their organization on money which comes from the suffering of others.

He says there are more youth organizations in the same situation. They take the money even though they do not want to, because they depend on government assistance to survive. But that means they support a system they should reject.

Last year Young Muslims of Sweden decided to save on their 2010 activities, so they'll be able to pay back the money coming from Svenska Spel.

Mohammed Kharraki says they did so by getting more sponsors for their events and by using money they've saved in the past. They did not need to cut down on any of their major activities: they organized a summer camp and theme weekends around the country, and held their annual conference as usual.

Mohammed Kharraki says that the members and clubs are happy with the decision. The Youth Affairs Board thought it was strange to get money back

The government decided from now on not to earmark money for organizations. Also, the money won't come just from Svenska Spel, but from the general budget.

Mohammed Kharraki welcomes the decision and says that they can't do without this money every year. He adds that it's a sensible decision, even if it probably didn't come due to their protests, but rather from the fact that Svenska Spel is at risk of losing its monopoly.