Icelanders Show Interest In Muslim Society As Show Of Support - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelanders Show Interest In Muslim Society As Show Of Support

Published June 10, 2014

Photos by
Agéncia Brasil

Many have been in contact with the Muslim Society of Iceland to express an interest in joining, even though they are not necessarily Muslims themselves.

Yesterday, former Fréttablaðið editor Gunnar Smári Egilsson wrote a column on his Facebook explaining that, since he is not a registered member of any religious organisation, the portion of his tax money that would go to his faith goes instead to the Parliamentary Budget Committee. The chairperson of this committee is MP Vigdís Hauksdóttir of the Progressive Party, who have recently made news for using anti-Muslim rhetoric to get votes.

“I doubt Vigdís would miss my 9,000 ISK a year,” Gunnar wrote. “But at the same time, I am considering registering myself in the Muslim Society of Iceland, so that its members can use this money to protect itself from the attacks and lies of the Progressive Party and its supporters.”

He pointed out furthermore that, according to the society’s own by-laws, one does not even need to be Muslim to join the society. Rather, members are bound to encourage Muslims to practice their faith, to increase understanding and a positive opinion of Islam, to fight against religious extremism of any kind, and to combat religious discrimination.

Salmann Tamimi, the original founder of the Muslim Society of Iceland, told Vísir that he has received e-mails from people asking how they can join up, leaving him “a little bit surprised but very pleased.”

“There is no requirement to be a Muslim to be a member, and naturally everyone is welcome,” said Salmann. “But I think it’s better that people stick to the faiths that they actually believe in. It isn’t the national church that started this [anti-Muslim] discussion, so I recommend instead that people de-register from the Progressive Party, and let them feel it.”

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