Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Culture

New, more conservative chairman elected in the Muslim association in Iceland

By Staff

  • Former and current chairman Salman Tamimi (left) has replaced Sverrir Agnarsson (right) as the chairman of the Icelandic Muslim Association. Photo/visir.is-GVA-Stefán

The Icelandic Muslim Association elected a new chairman at its general meeting which was held yesterday. The outgoing chairman, Sverrir Agnarsson, accuses the new chairman, Salmann Tamimi, of having organized a “takeover” of the association. Furthermore, Sverrir argues the motivation for the takeover was that Salmann and his followers felt he was too liberal in his attitudes.

Arguments about the hijab  

The local news site visir.is reports that Sverrir lost to Salmann by 18 votes. Salman received 32 votes, while Sverrir received 14. Sverrir has served as the chairman of the Muslim Association since 2011, when he replaced Salmann who had served as it’s chairman.

In an angry letter to his congregation Sverrir denounces the “backbiting and slander and fabrication” which he accuses “the Tamimi clan” of having engaged in in the lead-up to the general meeting. The reason for the takeover, according to his letter, is that Salmann and his supporters feel Sverrir is too liberal in his interpretation of Islam:

... one of the main point Salmann brought up against me was that I did NOT believe that wearing hijab in public was a unconditional demand up on muslim ladies, BUT HE, on the contrary was firm on that point.

In an interview with visir.is Sverrir adds that he has also been criticized for having too liberal views on gays.

A more conservative chairman in a controversial, but tiny, congregation
The Association of Muslims in Iceland is a small religious association with only 486 members, making it the third largest non-Christian religious group in Iceland, after the Pagan Association, with 2,675 members, and the Buddhist association with 1,022 members.

Read more: In wake of Mosque controversy, Icelanders show support for Muslim community

The Association of Muslims has nonetheless drawn considerable attention by many in Icelandic society who fear what they believe is the growing Muslim presence in Iceland. The association’s plans to build a mosque in Reykjavík became a major issue in the lead-up to the 2014 municipal elections when candidates of the Progressive party came out in opposition of the planned mosque.

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