In October 2021, a Swedish online news platform published an opinion piece by three leaders of a Swedish migrant political party tied to far-right/Islamist forces in Turkey. The piece called for an unauthorized outdoor driftwood artwork by the late Muhammad caricaturist Lars Vilks to be “burned down immediately,” accusing it of normalizing Islamophobia. According to the article:
October 13, 2021 In addition to being a black building, Nimis for many also symbolizes discord and polarization as a result of the creator’s other deeds. Preserving Nimis not only creates ambiguities regarding Swedish legal security, but will also contribute to further polarization. For many, including Muslims, it is a misery to see Nimis stand. It has come to symbolize the normalization and acceptance of Islamophobia and racism in society. Therefore, Nimis should be burned down immediately by the county administrative board. It would not be a day too late. [Translated from Swedish original using Google.]
Read the rest here.
The piece was authored by Nyans party leader Mikail Yüksel, Nyans Second Vice-Chair Adisa Hadzihalilovic, and Sead Busuladzic, Nyans board member in the Skåne county. Yüksel and his colleagues accused Swedish authorities of using “double standards” when handling illegal buildings, pointing to the prior destruction of a similar hut by a migrant artist. They also said Swedish citizens had “very strong feelings“ about the work’s creator and accused him of being a “driving force” in polarizing Swedish society.
“Nimis” is a labyrinth of different towers, mostly made of driftwood, at the foot of a cliff near the Arild village in southern Sweden. The facility, which Lars Vilks started to build in 1980, was the subject of a years-long legal dispute between the local building authority and the artist over the denial of a building permit in the forest reserve. Vilks had become famous in 2007 in connection with his drawing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and the 75-year-old artist had been living under police protection after receiving death threats over the cartoons. Vilks’ death led to public discussion about the fate of the “Nimis” artwork, with most parliamentary parties and the Höganäs municipality calling for the artwork to remain in place, pointing to its cultural significance. In early October 2021, Viks was killed in a traffic collision.
Nyans is a Turkish-Swedish migrant party whose leader Yüksel has family ties to the Turkish far-right/Islamist MHP party. According to an analysis of Turkish President Erdogan’s influence network in Europe:
In August 2019, Mikail Yüksel—a Swedish politician of Turkish origin—founded a new party in Sweden called ‘Nyans’ (Nuance). Yüksel, formerly a member of Sweden’s small liberal, slightly left-wing, Center-party, started the new party after being forced to resign on the cusp of Sweden’s elections to the European Parliament, where Yüksel had been a leading candidate. Yüksel had been pushed out for alleged connections with the Turkish Grey Wolves, the militant youth wing of Turkey’s ultra-nationalist MHP, of which his father is a member and coalition partner to President Erdogan’s AKP.