Not enough dialogue to combat extremism

Nearly half of Sweden’s municipalities are failing to keep up a dialogue with mosques and religious associations about violent extremism, Swedish Radio News reports.

Swedish Radio's P4 Sörmland station spoke with several imams in the towns of Eskilstuna, Nyköping and Flen who said they have not been contacted by their respective municipalities regarding collaborations against violent extremism. 

Mona Sahlin - the national coordinator against violent extremism - said that while half of municipalities are failing in this respect, the other half have established initiatives where religious communities and civil society do play important roles.

Sahlin told Swedish Radio News that she will demand that the failing municipalities improve their efforts.

“This is a major aspect of reality that the municipalities are clueless about. They must have a strategy in place to combat extremism, they must appoint responsible individuals, and they must familiarise themselves with their own communities," Sahlin told Swedish Radio News.

“If you want to demand that more imams and religious communities take part in the public debate then you also have to be in touch with them. You also have to get to know them and know who stands for a message that is about opposing IS, and who is promulgating messages that are sympathetic with IS,” Sahlin said.