Saturday, April 29, 2006

Meanwhile, In Sweden

Officials slap down a call for separate laws for Muslims.

Sweden's largest Muslim organisation has demanded that Sweden introduce separate laws for Muslims, according to Swedish television. Sweden's equality minister Jens Orback called the proposals "completely unacceptable".

The Swedish Muslim Association, which represents around 70,000 Muslims in Sweden, has sent a letter to all Sweden's main political parties suggesting a number of reforms, SVT's Rapport programme reported.

The proposals include allowing imams into state (public) schools to give Muslim children separate lessons in Islam and their parents' native languages. The letter also said that boys and girls should have separate swimming lessons and that divorces between Muslims should be approved by an imam.


Asked whether the proposal plays into the hands of racists, Orback said that it did.

"I think it is very problematic and unfortunate that people who have been in Sweden for so long make proposals such as this that are so opposed to our intentions, when we are fighting for women's rights and the right to divorce," Orback replied.

Problematic and unfortunate, yes. Surprising, no. It's heartening, at least, that another group, the Swedish Muslim Council, does not agree with the proposals.


In an unrelated (or is it?) story, a Swedish city is working to foster democratic values among the youngest of its citizens.

"Children in Gothenburg are to become the first in the world to be given the vote in a referendum."

And yes, their votes will count and result in real outcomes.

Interesting idea, isn't it?