Founder of Muslim Association Sues for Hate Speech

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Founder of Muslim Association Sues for Hate Speech

By Zoë Robert
Reykjavík mosque

Salmann leading prayer at the Muslim Association of Iceland. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Salmann Tamimi, founder of the Muslim Association of Iceland, and his lawyer, Helga Vala Helgadóttir, say it is important to make a stand against the hate speech which has recently been flaring up on the internet.

An article published on visir.is on Sunday with the heading ‘Could start to build mosque after the weekend’ sparked a lot of discussion. Some of the comments on the website were particularly harsh and were directed towards Salmann and Ibrahim Sverrir Agnarsson, chair of the association. 

Salmann is bringing charges against those who made the comments on Vísir.

Muslims and the mosque have been under discussion in recent days, ever since the leader of the Progressive Party in Reykjavík, Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, said she wanted to withdraw the allocation of the plot of land to the Muslim Association of Iceland and that the issue should be voted on in a public referendum. Following the remarks, support for the Progressive Party in Reykjavík increased and the party secured two seats in municipal elections on Saturday.

Salmann criticizes the tactics of the party. “The consequences could be very, very serious for our community ... They just wanted to get votes and it didn’t matter how they got them.”

Salmann told visir.is that he is not particularly optimistic that the police will resolve the case given that there is no news on the case relating to the dumping of three pig’s heads on the plot of land where the mosque is to be built. According to Salmann, the treatment of the case was sloppy, in particular the fact that the evidence—the pigs heads and message left at the scene—was thrown out.

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