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Progressive Party Councilor Stands by Mosque Comments

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Progressive Party Councilor Stands by Mosque Comments

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, representative of the Progressive Party in Reykjavík, said in an interview with DV today that she does not regret comments regarding the building of a mosque made during the municipal election campaign earlier this year.

Sveinbjörg stated during the campaign that she wanted city authorities to go back on their promise to the Muslim Association of Iceland on a free lot to build a mosque in Reykjavík. In the interview, Sveinbjörg reiterated her opinion that a mosque in Reykjavík is “unnecessary.”

“According to the constitution, we have our churches and I think there is no need to build a mosque here,” she said, pointing out that there are already two places of worship for Muslims in the capital. “We need to take a look at why the rise of Muslims is being discussed in neighboring countries.”

During the campaign, the debate, such as on the Progressive Party’s Facebook page, quickly turned into general opposition towards Muslims and a mosque in Reykjavík, resulting in support for the party surging and achieving two seats on the city council. Prior to Sveinbjörg’s statements, polls had suggested that the party would not gain any seats in Reykjavík.

As reported earlier this week, 42 percent of Icelanders are against the Muslim Association of Iceland building a mosque in the country while 29.7 percent said they supported it, according to a new poll by MMR. The results are similar to previous polls conducted by MMR

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