A Swedish news portal has announced the final approval by a Muslim Brotherhood associated group for construction of a Saudi-funded mosque in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. The building will include a 25-metre minaret and is expected to be completed in 2009,. According to the report, the government of Saudi Arabia contributed 44 million kronor of the 50 million kronor ($7.9 million) cost of building the mosque. The report identified the Islamic group which approved the construction as the Swedish Muslim Foundation (Sveriges Muslimska Stiftelse) which evidence suggests is likely related to the Sveriges muslimska rÃ¥d (SMC), a Muslim Brotherhood organization described by a Swedish sociologist:
The most publicly active of these organizations is SMC, whose members are connected to Ikhwan al-muslimum (the Muslim Brotherhood). SMC is consulted as an organ of supreme competence by the Swedish state and other agencies dealing with questions of immigration or religion. SMC is also one of the Islamic-political actors that has been involved in publishing texts about Islam and Muslim problems in Swedish society during the last ten to fifteen years. They publish Salaam, the main Islamic-Swedish magazine, and have been involved in producing information material about Islam directed at a Swedish audience … This umbrella organization has established a political dialogue with BroderskapsrÃ¶relsen, which is the Christian wing of the Social Democratic Party. SMC has a higher and more publicly aggressive profile than the other umbrella organization.
The SMC is located in a Stockholm mosque complex whose Imam, according to Swedish media in May 2004, gave virulently anti-American sermons in English which are then translated much more moderately in Swedish. Another local media report from April 2006 states that although they were later expelled, an Al Qaeda recruiter was operating in the mosque and that the mosque is known for having “fundamentalist” sympathizers as well as individuals associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The report on the new mosque goes on to cite a Swedish Muslim Foundation board member who commented on the role that Saudi Arabia would be expected to play in the operation of the mosque:
.. members of the Muslim community in Gothenburg would have preferred to have funded the building from within the country. “We sought funding first from our members and then applied for loans from authorities in Sweden, but there was no money available,” he said…But Mohammed insisted that the Saudi authorities would not have control over the running of the mosque. “They have not made any demands. Also, it was not them who sought us out – we went to them. “Mohammed said that the only requirements from the Saudis were that the mosque should be “welcoming to Muslims and non-Muslims.”
Previous posts have detailed the role that Saudi-financed mosques have played in the propagation of Islamic extremism.