Sweden: Not all religions should be welcomed, says priest (UPDATE: Possibly only extremists)

Sweden: Not all religions should be welcomed, says priest

In a debate article priest Helene Sturefelt titled "Don't be so naive about Islam" she argues that not all religions are acceptable, just as not all political parties are acceptable. In the name of democracy, parties have to follow Swedish law.

She says that Islam should be looked at for its teachings and content. She brings the example of Afet Queribova of Baku in Azerbaijan, who converted to Christianity in July 2007. Her husband was killed by the police. She fled with her children to Sweden and is now threatened with deportation, since the authorities don't think the threat is so serious.

She says she asked some Muslim boys in Kungsmarken what the situation was really like and they answered: "We live by our own rules, otherwise you can be disowned by your family. But we are friends with everybody, I have friends among both Christian and Muslims. They are welcome here. We fled and want to live in peace here, it's important for us."

She asked further: If one changes religions, what happens then?

To which they answered: "That's not good, they kill the man first. They allow the woman and children to be, but if they don't change, they kill them too."

She says that Muslims who convert to Christianity in Karlskrona are also persecuted by their fellow Muslims, because they do what the Koran tells them to.

She says it's a completely different reality, that people should be aware of, since Swedes, Christians who welcomed Muslims into their country, are also seen as infidels and worth less than the faithful Muslims.

The article caused a lot of debate. Some condemned her, while others think she's brave.

"We are Swedish and live here in Freedom. I could never disown a child who converts. They're my own flesh and blood," says Abboud Sleiman, an imam in Karlskrona.

"I would be very disappointed and sad if any of my children left Islam. But I could never disown them. They are my own flesh and blood," says Abboud Sleiman. The Karlskrona imam thinks it's strange that all the focus is directed at fundamentalists in Islam.

"It's just a few percent of all Muslims. Extremists exist in all religions. Most people are good."

Source: Blekinge Läns Tidning 1, 2 (Swedish)


Following the commotion caused by the debate article, a group of Christian priests from Karlskrona met with Muslims from the Islamic Cultural Association yesterday.

Helene Sturefelt: "The stories I've heard, and from the people's homelands, described negative events. But it's possible that they had met extremists. Even the Bible can be misinterpreted," she said and apologized for one thing: "I had a bad translation of the Koran. I later saw a newer version with better language entirely."

She added that everybody should be careful with democratic openness. And that includes getting to ask questions. She said she's still grateful for having this contact.

Abed Tamarji of the Islamic Cultural Association, picked a verse from the Koran. "It says that coercion shouldn't exist in issues of faith."

"Many people are afraid of the unknown. It's better to talk with us and let us explain. Islam and Christianity have much to learn from each other. This cooperation between us must continue," he said during the meeting in the local church.

Source: Blekinge Läns Tidning (Swedish)

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