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Leaders Of Swedish Migrant Party Call For Artwork By Late Muhammad Caricaturist To Be „Burned Down,“ Accuse Its Creator Of Sowing Discord

January 9th, 2022 14:12

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.