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Migration Minister Questions Islamist Party Efforts

Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors has questioned efforts to establish an Islamist political party in Finland. She said that the venture shows that there are serious shortcomings in legislation governing political parties in this country.

Addressing a meeting of her Swedish People's Party's board on Friday, Thors noted that those who are trying to set up the new party are aiming at the implementation of sharia law, which she said violates the principles of Islam.

She said that when a new party is registered, there should be a check as to whether the organisation follows democratic principles. However, she pointed out that current law does not require that such groups agree with democratic aims or respect human rights. As Thors sees it, the establishment of the Islamist party would not advance intercultural dialogue within Finland.

The organisation that is seeking to set up the party -- which is led by Finnish men who have converted to Islam -- has attracted plenty of attention although it remains far from collecting the 5,000 signatures of supporters necessary to found a new political party.

Thors, who took over the new portfolio of Migration and European Affairs last spring, is chair of the Refugee Advisory Council. She has previously served as a Member of the European Parliament, deputy chair of the Swedish People's Party and chair of Unicef Finland.

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