"Ramadan - a Swedish tradition." Yes, as long as people in the Swedish society are practicing something recurrent, it is a tradition, believes Jenny Berglund, who anwered SD's Richard Jomshof after his statements regarding Ramadan and Islam.
It all started with an interview in Sydsvenskan with Raid Amin, from Malmö's Muslim Student Association Alhambra, where Amin said that Ramadan certainly is a Swedish tradition.
Nyheter24 asked the question, whether it is a Swedish tradition or not, to the Swedish MPs - and received a mixed response. But most agreed.
- Of course. A holiday celebrated by the Swedes in Sweden must surely be regarded as a Swedish tradition, says Veronica Palm (S).
Her party colleague Hillevi Larsson completely agrees, and points out that the feast has been celebrated in Sweden since way back.
Even the Centre Party group leader Anders W Jonsson (C) is on the same track.
- As a large group of Swedes over many years has celebrated Ramadan, it is as I see it a Swedish tradition, he says.
Jonsson emphasize what he believes is an important thing. Not everyone needs to be involved and celebrate for it to be a tradition.
- Swedish tradition does not mean that all Swedes are participating. It is certainly more Swedes who participate in the celebration of Ramadan than eating fermented herring in August and definitely more than that in Lillhärdal commemorates prayer Monday. Nevertheless, fermented herring and prayer Monday are Swedish traditions and so should also Ramadan be considered as, he says.
But not all agree. Conservative Edward Riedl is one of those who are reluctant.
- I do not see Ramadan as a Swedish tradition. But as more people from other cultures and other religions become Swedes, it obviously are more who celebrate other holidays than the traditional ones, he says.
The Christian-Democrat Roland Utbult is the only one of the respondents who distance himself totally from using the term "Swedish tradition ' of Ramadan.
- No, it's not a Swedish tradition. Not in the sense of Swedish traditions passed down through generations. But it's a very important part of the Muslim year, said.
Party colleague Emma Henriksson, Christian Democrat group leader in parliament, says that it is a tricky question.
- It is not a very easy question to answer, in the sense that it is a holiday celebrated by many Swedes and has been for a long time in our country, so well, that's it, says Henriksson, and continues:
- Would a foreigner, a person who lives outside Sweden, ask what typical Swedish traditions we have, I would rather say midsummer, crayfish, fermented herring, Christmas and Easter. They are traditions in the sense that people participate regardless of whether they even know why. The fact is that Christmas and Easter are important religious festivals to most people, also to many who do not define themselves as Christians, but celebrate it as a family feast, she says to Nyheter24.
When the SD-top and MP, Richard Jomshof joined the discussion of Ramadan. it ended up with him comparing Islam with Nazism and Communism, on Twitter.
When it is Ramadan it is evident in several ways in Sweden. In Parliament, the evening meal Iftar is served when the sun is down. Many grocery stores have different offers in connection with the feast and according to the Swedish Trade organization, the turnover in food retail increases by around one billion SEK each year during Ramadan.
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