Progressive Party in Hot Water over Anti-Mosque Comments

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Progressive Party in Hot Water over Anti-Mosque Comments

Reykjavík mosque

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, first on the Progressive Party’s list in Reykjavík for Saturday’s municipal elections, voiced her opposition to the proposed mosque in Reykjavík on Friday. Reykjavík City Council has already allocated a lot for the mosque and construction is set to begin this year.

Sveinbjörg told visir.is that her opinion was not based on prejudice but on experience, having lived in Saudi Arabia for one year. She said that it was important for people to abide by the customs in a country in which they move to.

The Progressive Party has, through its long history, been a liberal center party and the latest comments have caused an upset in the party. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and other Progressive Party ministers have not commented on Sveinbjörg’s statement but Hreiðar Eiríksson, who is fifth on the party’s list in Reykjavík, asked to be removed from the list in protest of Sveinbjörg’s comments.

According to the latest polls, the party will not secure any seats in Iceland’s three biggest towns—Reykjavík, Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður, home to 60 percent of Iceland’s population. In Reykjavík, polls suggest that the Progressive Party have a three percent support rating.

There are 2,000 Muslims living in Iceland. 

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