Sweden’s government is closing more schools owned by the country’s Muslim community in a bid to push “anti-Islamic rhetoric” and allegedly “stop privatization” in education, a move criticized for selective discrimination.
Daily Sabah Only Islamic schools have been targeted by the legislation, triggering an outcry from Muslim organizations, researchers and schools, arguing that the decision to shut down Islamic schools was not based on poor academic results or other teaching shortcomings, but rather had political anti-Islamic motives.
Mohamed Amin Kharraki, head of the independent Muslim school Framstegsskolan in the Ragsved suburb of Stockholm, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that around 20 schools that classify themselves as Islamic or those that are owned by Muslims are being closed with only three remaining, fighting a lawsuit against them.
The inspectorate’s decision to close the school was based on a report by the Swedish domestic security service (SAPO) with “claims” about the terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood group, secret agendas, and alleged terrorist labels that have left some researchers baffled.
Sead Busuladzic, a board member of the Nyan’s political party and its top official in the southernmost Skane county, told AA that the school closures were not about education, but about the political anti-Muslim climate. He pointed out how the right-wing parties that are currently in power have explicitly said they have nothing against Christian, Jewish, or other schools.
Politicians who, in his words, are normalizing anti-Islam sentiment, have only voiced problems with Islamic schools, supposed to “stop radicalization.” In doing so, they are “influencing the general opinion and how the Muslims are viewed.”
Busuladzic explained that initially, Social Democrats had driven this issue, because they are “against all private schools,” and argued that the state should run all educational institutions. In practice, however, only Islamic schools bore the brunt of even Social Democrat policies, despite their purportedly general opposition to private education.
In past elections, instead of focusing on issues such as the economy and high unemployment, politicians have fed anti-Muslim sentiment, he said, suggesting that the school closures were a reflection of this.
When the bill was first introduced by the government, it claimed that all religious schools would be affected. However, in reality, this has not been the case as no other religious schools have been shut down except Muslim schools.
These are some of the other reasons why: