A parish within the Swedish Church (separated from the State in 2000) recently employed an imam, Othman Al-Tawalbeh, (Swedish link on him) to be stationed at a youth centre in Stockholm, Fryshuset, to help strengthen the multicultural work and counteract prejudices against Muslims and increase the cooperation between Christians and Muslims.
Politically correct do-gooders have not succeeded in preventing an animated debate within and outside the Church, though. The Swedish Church has worked hard for decades to integrate female ministers and to marry homosexuals. Many people ask what will be of this work now. Some debaters mean that the islamization has gone too far when the Swedish Church pays for being driven out of competition. But no threats have been pronounced.
The debacle has now taken another turn, when the Swedish Security Service, SÄPO, have contacted Tawalbeh after newly having found published texts on him on Arabic sites written by another Swedish Muslim, the chairman of the Swedish Muslim Association (the Swedish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), Mahmoud Aldebe.
SÄPO got worried about Tawalbeh and regards the texts on the Internet as threatening. The texts are written in Arabic and Tawalbeh is reported being an apostate, having poisoned the Islamic faith, trying to christen Muslim youngsters and defending the rights of women. SÄPO have offered Tawalbeh protection. They fear that a fatwa will be proclaimed in the Muslim world.
Now Mahmoud Aldebe also alleges having been threatened by Tawalbeh and his medial network in Sweden after Aldebe’s contribution. Aldebe is known for being the person that in a long and thorough letter demanded Sharialaws to be introduced in Sweden in 2006.
To work for a Christian church is haram, according to the Swedish Fatwa Council. And the fact that this piece of news has spread to the Arab press is problematic. Sweden already has a negative report (Lars Vilks, the cartoonist and Taimour Abdulwahab, the suicide bomber) and Tawalbeh can become yet another target. Even those who harass Vilks here in Sweden could start attacking Tawalbeh.
The Swedish Church’s desire to improve the dialogue seems to be counterproductive, particularly when the prevalent interpretation of Islam does not seem to embrace the same flexibility. Perhaps the Church should have studied Islam more closely before launching this project?
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