New Report On Swedish Muslim Brotherhood Draws Academic Ire

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English language media in Sweden is reporting on the controversy surrounding a new report about the Muslim Brotherhood in Sweden. According to The Local article, a group of Swedish religious researchers has challenged the report’s conclusions:

March 3, 2017 A report commissioned by Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) to look into the influence of the Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood in the country has sparked debate, with a number of researchers disputing the methodology used and conclusions reached. The report suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood is secretly leading Islamists in building a parallel society in Sweden by infiltrating organizations and political parties in the country.

It also claims that there is an ‘established structure of values among the country’s political elite which stipulate how as a citizen you should approach ‘minorities”.

But in a blog post signed by 22 Swedish researchers specializing in religious studies, the claims were labelled as ‘almost conspiracy-theory like’, and the study accused of ignoring previous research, lacking sources, and basing conclusions on personal views rather than evidence.

The idea that Islamists are secretly building a parallel society in Sweden is, according to the 22 researchers ‘a conclusion which goes against the collective research’ in the field.

‘The major shortcoming of the report is that it seems to be completely unaware of Islamic research which currently exists at Swedish and Nordic universities,’ Lund University professor of Islamic studies Jan Hjärpe, who was one of the 22 researchers to sign the blog post, told The Local.

‘The list of signatories is comprised largely of active researchers who have done and do in-depth studies on a range of the relevant concerns. It is striking that MSB ordered this report without at all consulting the expertise available. I suspect this is due to ignorance on the authority’s behalf,’ he added.

MSB defended the report however, saying it is a feasibility study designed in part to present proposals for further studies and research in the area.

Read the rest here.

Although the report in question is written in Swedish, the GMBDW has machine translated portions and despite the objections referred to above, it appears to be fully credible. For example, the report identifies the Islamiska förbundet i Sveriges (IFIS) as the major organization representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Sweden. In 2013, the GMBDW had already identified the IFIS as tied to the Brotherhood in Sweden. Other organizations discussed in the report, such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) and the Islamic Relief (IRW), have also long been so identified by the GMBDW. Although the 22 Swedish researchers have objected to the report, claiming specialized and relevant expertise, the GMBDW Editor has never encountered any of their work in 16 years of daily research on the subject. We also find it distressingly common to encounter opposition to our own work from academics who also appear unfamiliar with the actual relevant material.

For the full MSB report, go here.

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