Imam: 'We want to counteract both Islamophobia and Islamism”
Three Muslims stood outside Galleria Boulevarden on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack. They wanted to talk about it,and explain, have a discussion. That is necessary, Rizwan Ahmad Afzal believes. Since he came to Sweden in 2009 the tone has hardened.
– Our purpose with this campaign is to build bridges between people and counteract both Islamophobia and Islamism. With the situation as it is at present in Afghanistan there are a lot of people who wonder, Muslims as well.
”That's why we're here, to answer questions and show that it is possible for us to live together, you with your opinion, I with mine, without hurting or threatening one another”Rizwan Ahmad Afzal, imam
Can the taliban be considered to be Muslims? Afzal quotes a verse from the Koran which says that no person may force another person into carrying out an action.
– The taliban do just that, so their actions do not follow Islamic law.
People venture forward with their questions. One young man wonders about Shia and Sunni, others take up 9/11 and its consequences. Earlier in the day a man came along who was very angry.
– He thought that all Muslims should be expelled from Sweden. But we were able to have a discussion. I hope he understands that it is a small group that damage the name of Islam. The great majority of Muslims are not aggressive.
Being a believer in such a secular country as Sweden can be hard, for Swedes in general have no understanding of religion as such.
– Religion is a matter between God and the individual, not between individuals. But it can be extremely rewarding for a person who accepts this.
He thinks the campaign helps both Swedes by giving them answers to their questions, and Muslims who have just arrived.
– We tell them how they can live in the secular Swedish community and what that implies. For example it says in the Koran that you must obey the law of the land and love the country where you live. We want to give a good picture of what Islam means.
He notices a new fear, a new anger since the war in Afghanistan flared up. He thinks reactions are much stronger and more negative now.
– That's why we're here, to answer questions and show that it is possible for us to live together, you with your opinion, I with mine, without hurting or threatening one another.