SWEDEN - Thursday morning, 12 young Muslim leaders from the organization Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice received their diplomas from the king of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf after their completion of the top-ranked qualified leadership course, “Value-based leadership”. The diploma ceremony took place in in the heart of Stockholm at the royal castle.
Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice is the fastest-growing peace movement in Sweden, setting high ambitions with its vision. Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice aims to become one of the leading organizations in Europe promoting peace and security on a global basis, based on Islamic principles, justice and Human Rights. It puts this vision into practice on a high scale, activating members in local sections in grass-root activities to national media statements – all under the idea that “secure people create safe societies” and accomplished “by Muslims for the society”. Experienced leaders with visions and strong values are an essential part of creating a stable and great organization based upon values which can be reproduced into the general daily life of people in society.
The course, “Value-based leadership”, is a qualified leadership course for young leaders within the non-profit sector. Those accepted to participate in the course have high ambitions and visions for their leadership. It is taken over a period of six months and 14 days and is divided into four modules. The modules are (1) leading groups, (2) leading with diversity, (3) leading oneself and (4) leading with profit and values. During the course, assignments are handed out between each occasion and each young leader is assigned a mentor with long-term experience of leadership in the private sector.
This is the first time young Muslims in Sweden take part in a qualified course of this type. Their participation will empower them to continue building a leadership among Muslims in Sweden, to promote high quality work and contribution for a better and sustainable society.
As we follow the agenda in Sweden and further on in Europe we will find many challenges facing the societies therein. Over recent decades, the idea of Muslims as a part of Europe has been widely discussed – in many cases by talking about Muslims and not by talking to Muslims. This, even though history gives us clear facts of centuries of Muslim presence in Europe.
The uprise in nationalistic movements with racist agendas shows the challenge in practice. We hear about the Sweden Democrats in the Swedish parliament talking about immigrants, and suggesting that reforms are needed “to make immigrants not feeling safe staying in Sweden anymore”. In the last election they put Islam on top of their propaganda. We hear about the Finnish elections bringing forward the “True Finns” party (19.1 %), which wants to ban the Swedish language from being taught in Schools in Finland. We hear about France dictating how people should wear their clothes by banning the niqab. We hear about the provoking attitudes of top position holding politicians in Netherlands. We hear about ill debates about Islam and Muslims in Denmark. And these are only a few examples on the top layers of what’s happening on a national level in Europe – concerning racism/nationalistic ideologies, as well as Islamophobia and anti-Muslimism tendencies – and not even the everyday local challenges.
This must change. Muslims are a part of Europe and can never be underneath the line of talks about the future of our European nations. Only together can we come forward and create a sustainable future, and it is on all parts to understand the collective psychology and create a comprehensive approach so to avoid misunderstandings. We are living on a multicultural continent, and understanding each other and respecting our differences is essential for a fruitful development.
I would like to stress the importance of bringing forth leaders and representatives with good understanding and with values which strengthen individuals, the organization and the society. By doing so, we can create a peace movement which reproduces leaders with an identity based on Islamic principles and which organize activities and events and take part in the discussions of current challenges concerning all citizens.
Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice aims to become one of the leading organizations in Europe promoting peace and security on a global basis, based on Islamic principles, justice and Human Rights.