Foreign Minister: Anti-Mosque Comments Not Party Line

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Foreign Minister: Anti-Mosque Comments Not Party Line

By Zoë Robert
Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Foreign Minister of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson says comments made by his colleague, mayoral candidate for Reykjavík Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, that a mosque should not be built in Reykjavík, are not in line with the party’s policy.

Another party member, MP Sigrún Magnúsdóttir, voiced her opposition to Sveinbjörg’s comments yesterday in an interview with ruv.is, stating that they do not reflect the position of the party.  Later, Gunnar posted the interview on Facebook, saying he wanted to reiterate Sigrún’s point.

Gunnar is the first Progressive Party minister to comment on the issue. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has so far declined to comment.

Guðfinna Guðmundsdóttir, who is second on the party’s list in Saturday’s election, also wants to prevent a mosque from being built in Reykjavík whereas Hreiðar Eiríksson, who is fifth on the list, says he supports the building of the mosque and asked to be removed from the list in protest. 

Sveinbjörg said on Friday 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 to which they move.

Reykjavík City Council has already allocated a lot for the mosque and construction is set to begin this year.

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