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Omar Mustafa. PHOTO: JANERIK HENRIKSSON / SCANPIX
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Demonstration for Omar Mustafa in front of Social Democrat headquarters, Photo: Lotta Myhrén/Sveriges Radio
Party board member steps down

Social Dems lose Muslim "trust" in Mustafa affair

Social Dems lose Muslim "trust" in Mustafa affair
4:36 min

Omar Mustafa, a top Social Democrat, left the party on Saturday, not even a week after he became a deputy on the party board, amid accusations of promoting anti-semitism. Radio Sweden spoke to Amne Ali, chair of the Stockholm section of the Social Democrats, one of the organizers of a protest Monday evening outisde the party's headquarters in Stockholm.

She thinks the Social Democrats have alienated Muslim voters by expelling Mustafa.

"We will have a lot of trust issues with Muslim voters," says Ali. "We have to make sure that people know that you can be Muslim and a Social Democrat at the same time."

Shortly after Mustafa's nomination in early April, the magazine Expo reported that while Mustafa was chairman of the Islamic Association, the organisation invited speakers who had previously made anti-semitic statements.

Mustafa responded shortly afterwards, saying the Islamic Association should have been "much better at ensuring" that the speakers had retracted any hateful comments they'd made before inviting them.

But the reporting continued. Former party leader Mona Sahlin said Mustafa had made anti-semitic statements himself without backing her statement up, while tabloid Expressen falsely reported that Mustafa had made millions in 2010 and 2011 when he was, in fact, a student living with his parents.

"We hope he will get an apology from the media and people who have accused him of being anti-semitic and other things," said Amne Ali.

Urged on Saturday to step down by the Social Democrats Stockholm section, he did, issuing a statement that the party leadership has sent "a worrying signal to Muslims and other religious Social Democrats."

"I believe that is the signal the Social Democrats are sending out to Sweden now," said Amne Ali. "These issues had been brought up in the media before. The party could have looked into them more and been better prepared when he was nominated."

Protest against party leadership

Swedish Radio News reports that around 100 demonstrators gathered in front of Social Democrat headquarters in Stockholm Monday evening, to protest against the party's treatment of Omar Mustafa.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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