Continuing our Islamic series in the world, after Finland and Norway, we now focus on Sweden, one of the key parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula with a population of 9.8 million. Here is our article “5 Questions about Islam in Sweden.” Enjoy reading!
How large is the Muslim population in Sweden?
Sweden is home to people of various religions. Historically, until the 11th century, paganism was prevalent in Sweden. Later, in the 11th century, Sweden adopted Christianity and remained under the influence of the Catholic Church for about five hundred years. During the mid-1500s, with the emergence of reform movements, Protestantism gained strength and remained dominant until the 20th century. Until 2000, the Evangelical Lutheran Church was the state’s official church. Currently, about three-quarters of the population continue to be members of this church.
Since the late 1800s, with the emergence of several independent churches in the country and subsequent migrations to Sweden, people of different religions started to be observed. However, it’s important to note that Christianity, with its various denominations, remains the most popular religion in Sweden. Nonetheless, during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the Christian population in Sweden has been declining rapidly. Christianity now represents approximately 69% of the total population.
According to recent research, it is worth mentioning that Sweden stands out as one of the least religious countries in the world. Approximately 28% of Sweden’s population does not identify with any religion. Islam represents about 4.9% of the total population. With a population of 10 million, approximately 451 thousand people are known to be Muslims in Sweden.
When and how did Islam reach Sweden?
Islam reached Sweden later compared to other religions, and the country’s significant Muslim population arrived mainly in the late 20th century due to migrations from countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Iraq, Morocco, Iran, and Somalia. Additionally, many Syrians who were forced to leave their country due to the civil war starting in 2011 also chose Sweden as their new home. Thus, almost all of Sweden’s Muslim population consists of immigrants, and the Baltic Muslims are known as the first Muslim group in Sweden.
What are the most famous mosques in Sweden?
The number of mosques in Sweden has been rapidly increasing over time. Some of the largest mosques in the country include Stockholm Mosque, Bellevue Mosque, Brandbergen Mosque, Fittja Mosque, Gothenburg Mosque, Malmö Mosque, Trollhättan Mosque, Umea Mosque, and Uppsala Mosque, all located in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, and other major cities.
Who are the prominent individuals working for Islam in Sweden?
Rather than specific individuals, there are several social organizations working for Islam in Sweden. Supported by the Commission for Religious Communities, many of Sweden’s Muslim civil society activities are led by organizations like SMFR (Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice), a Muslim peace movement established in 2008, and Sveriges Unga Muslimer, a youth organization. Additionally, there are local associations like Mevlana Sällskapet i Göteborg.
What are the main challenges for Muslims in Sweden?
Compared to Muslims in many other parts of the world, Muslims in Sweden can be said to lead a comfortable life. They can open their own schools and receive education without any restrictions. However, there are still some issues that pose challenges for Muslims. For instance, recent studies indicate that 6% of hate crimes committed in Sweden have Islamophobic origins, generally taking the form of verbal offenses. Moreover, Sweden faces an increasing problem of gang violence, and while the extent of Muslim involvement is not explicitly known, migrants are significantly present in these groups. Furthermore, there is a trend of marginalization and radicalization among young people in Sweden.