Conversion to Islam in Sweden, Muslim Community in Sweden, Historical Background of Islam in Sweden, Overview of Islam in Sweden, Islam in Sweden, Sweden, muslims in sweden, top stories,

Overview of Islam in Sweden

 Islam in Sweden encompasses both the practice of the religion and historical connections between Sweden and the Islamic world. During the Islamic Golden Age, Vikings traded with Muslims, establishing early ties between the two cultures. In recent times, immigration from predominantly Muslim countries has driven the growth of Islam in Sweden, leading to a diverse and complex Muslim community. According to a 2019 report, there were approximately 200,445 Muslims who actively practiced their religion in Sweden. However, estimates of the total Muslim population in the country range from 600,000 to 810,000, making up 6-8.1% of the total population.

Historical Background of Islam in Sweden

The presence of Islam in Sweden has a history dating back to the Iron Age, with the discovery of pre-Islamic Arabic coins in Middle Eastern burial sites. The first registered Muslim groups in modern Sweden were Finnish Tatars who immigrated from Finland and Estonia in the 1940s, with immigration from the Middle East starting in the 1970s and later from the former Yugoslav republics and Somalia. Sweden has a number of mosques for its Muslim communities and the first mosque was built in 1976 in Gothenburg. 

The Swedish government and other countries such as Saudi Arabia and Libya have supported the construction of some of the largest mosques in Sweden. In 2000, an estimated 300,000 to 350,000 people of Muslim background lived in Sweden, with about 100,000 being second-generation immigrants. In 2008, riots broke out in Malmö and in 2018, a mosque in Alby made an offer to the Moderate Party for planning permission to build a new mosque in exchange for their votes. 

Read: The Geopolitics of the Muslim World

In 2018, the Social Democratic Party in Karlshamn revoked the membership of a Muslim politician for promoting Islamic supremacy over Swedish customs. In 2019, five senior members of the Swedish Muslim community were detained and in the same year, two municipalities banned Islamic veils in educational institutions. Some preschools were also reprimanded for agreeing to force girls to wear the hijab upon request from parents.

Demographics of Muslim Community in Sweden

Estimates of the number of Muslims in Sweden range from 200,000 to 500,000, with only a small percentage being considered religious. The largest groups of Muslims in Sweden come from Iraq, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Somalia. A 2016 Pew Research Center estimate puts the number of self-identified Muslims in Sweden at 810,000, with a third of them practicing their religion. In 2050, the number of Muslims in Sweden is predicted to range from 1.13 million to 4.45 million, depending on the migration scenario. This prediction has been criticized for not considering birth rates and potential migration of immigrants to other countries.

Read: The Impact of Islamic Values on Society

The Conversion to Islam in Sweden

The exact number of Swedish converts to Islam is unknown, but estimated to be around 3,500 people since the 1960s, according to Anne Sofie Roald, a historian of religions at Malmö University College. Notable Swedish converts to Islam include Ivan Aguéli, Tage Lindbom, Kurt Almqvist, Mohammed Knut Bernström, and Tord Olsson. There have been several mosques built in Sweden since the 1980s, but in recent years, Islamic places of worship have been subject to vandalism.