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Islamophobia is a big problem in Europe. says Swedish MP Carl Fredrik Malm


TOT: So, what are the challenges which you have faced in endorsing these causes and the hindrances which are still needed to be overcome by you?




Carl Fredrik Malm: A lot, but above all, I feel that there is grooving support for a more active and value driven foreign policy. Of course, states and non-state actors often make considerations based on real politik and economic interests, but, nonetheless, there has to be room for a much stronger critique against extensive abuse and clearer red lines against the oppressors of the world.

TOT: “Being a member of parliament in Sweden and a supporter of democracy” – What are the steps are being taken by the Swedish Government to promote democracy in other countries?

Carl Fredrik Malm: Sweden has a strong and extensive focus on democracy in the foreign aid policy. We give 1 percent of our GDP in foreign aid. From our point of view, a larger proportion of this amount should go to supporting democracy and human rights around the world. Sweden has also taken a lead role in supporting the access to and training in information technology for dissidents, to name a few examples.


TOT: How you can describe the struggle of Kurdistan?


Carl Fredrik Malm: The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without an own nation. The Turkish state has for 70 years denied the very existence of the Kurdish people. In Iraq, the Kurds was attacked with chemical weapons. It is not particularly surprising, then, that the Kurds decide to go their own way.



TOT: Is there any progress till date which you have got in independence movement of Kurdistan?


Carl Fredrik Malm: For the Kurds, the most important question is to have the right to determine their everyday life and their own future. This must also apply to non-Kurds in Kurdistan, such as Armenians and Assyrians. However, self-determination in Kurdistan is not a question for the Swedish Parliament to decide, whether it be independence, autonomy or federalism.



TOT: What are the future prospects you have for Kurdistan independence movement?


Carl Fredrik Malm: The support for Kurdish independence will be large as long as the wide spread oppression continues in Kurdistan, albeit to a varied extension in different regions. Kurdish nationalism is a young phenomenon and to a big part a reaction to oppression from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. However, this does not necessarily imply that if and when these countries become more democratic that the demands for Kurdish independence will lose its strength. Rather, increased openness might lead to a situation where Kurds are freer to speak their mind, allowing Kurdish identity and culture to flourish, and thereby increasing the impact of the political struggle. This is problematic, not at least for Turkey. If Turkey decide to implement democratic reforms for the benefit of the Kurds, this does not necessarily mean that the Kurds will be more loyal to the government in Ankara, but rather that the Kurds will gain new possibilities, tools and channels to promote their cause.


TOT: What does your project Cuba Free Library stands for?


Carl Fredrik Malm: The Cuba Free Library is a project that I started with a friend in the late 1990’s. The purpose with the project was to gather books and magazines in Spanish and then bring them to Cuba in order to break, or undermine, the monopoly on information that the state currently have. We also supported independent libraries on Cuba. I personally visited Cuba at three occasions in order to support the libraries and follow up projects.



TOT: What are the main proposed objectives which you have set for your project Cuba Free Library?


Carl Fredrik Malm: The main objective is to contribute to break the information monopoly on Cuba. But after the mass arrests of political opponents in the spring of 2003 we shifted focus from supporting the independent libraries to instead focus on helping political prisoners and their families. This was carried out within the framework of the Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC), which is the Swedish Liberal Party’s international aid organization.



TOT: What kind of role you want to play in promoting your democratic concept in Iran?


Carl Fredrik Malm: I try to shape public opinion and give support to Iranians who work to promote democracy, because, it takes democrats to build a proper democracy. The government in Tehran has no interests in forming a democratic Iranian society, why the only possibility to build democracy in Iran is when the current government is removed from power.



TOT: What is your outlook on Communism and how you will define its role in 21st century?



Carl Fredrik Malm: Communism no longer plays a major role on the global international scene, even though there still are some armed groups and political parties that call themselves communists. The way I see it is that those who call themselves communists today are not so often the bearers of the communist ideology as once formulated by Marx and Lenin. I am however very concerned about the political heritage of oppression and control that continue to characterize the political life in many post-Soviet states. There is therefore an unfortunate, and dark, communist legacy which has been transferred to new authoritarian regimes in former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.



TOT: According to your belief what are the democratic measures which Iran should execute for the sake of democracy in country?

Carl Fredrik Malm: It’s not about Iran, it’s about the Iranians. It’s the population that needs the political and moral support in order for them to be able to contribute to political and social progress in the country.



TOT: According to Amnesty International report Muslims around the world are being discriminated and particularly in Europe. So, what are the measures you and your party have taken so far to abolish the discriminatory issues faced by the Muslims?


Carl Fredrik Malm: Islamophobia is a big problem in Europe. There is also a risk that xenophobic political parties will grow stronger now that Europe is going through hard times economically and financially. The Swedish Liberal party has a strong agenda and works extensively to counter all forms of hatred and extremism. We also believe that the EU must make it easier for immigrants from outside the EU to enter the union. Furthermore, it is important to show that Islam is not about to conquer Europe – on the contrary, many Muslims are excluded from society in many European states and face discrimination as they try to enter these societies. It is clear that radical Islamism must be opposed, but I consider these movements more as groups driven by ideology rather than religion, even if they promote and conduct their ideology and struggle on the basis of Islamic religious teachings and to a wide extent on the Islamic arena and in Muslim countries.



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