NEW YORK (Mar. 26)
The attorney general of Sweden filed charges last week against an Islamic radio station there for stirring up anti-Semitic feelings in its broadcasts, the World Jewish Congress has reported.
Attorney General Hans Stark filed the charges March 21 against Radio Islam, which is broadcast by a Moslem association in Stockholm. His move followed complaints by a non-denominational Swedish committee against anti-Semitism and by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
Stark filed charges against station director Ahmed Rami for making statements “derogatory to Jews.” Conviction on the charge carries a maximum sentence of two years.
The Wiesenthal Center reports that Rami was a Moroccan army officer in the 1960s who was involved in a plot against the king and sought asylum in Sweden. The charges were made after a long delay, the Wiesenthal Center reported.
The Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism began monitoring Radio Islam’s broadcasts in 1987 and complained to authorities.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, wrote to Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson in November 1987 expressing the center’s “deep concern over a recent decision in Stockholm of the council of local radio stations to allow ‘Radio Islam’ to continue broadcasts laden with anti-Semitic invective.”
Among the maxims broadcast on the radio programs were that “Jews provoke racism and hatred” and that “Jew-Zionists control the media all over the world.”
ISSUE OF FREE SPEECH
The Wiesenthal Center joined with Carlsson “in favoring freedom of expression and worship for all,” Cooper wrote at the time. But he said “that there is no place in Sweden for the use of Swedish airwaves for anti-Jewish propaganda.”
The broadcasts apparently were riding the thin line between the right of free speech and charges against a minority people.
Last fall, the attorney general reopened the investigation when the station broadcast material from the notoriously anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” as well as material denying the Holocaust occurred. Neo-Nazis were invited guests on the program, according to Cooper.
In December, Cooper received a response to his original letter to Carlsson from the Swedish Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, which said the broadcasts did not break Swedish law.
The letter said the Swedish chancellor of justice had examined Radio Islam’s broadcasts and “found that the programs could not be regarded as an incitement to racial hatred in the sense of the case.”
But in February, Attorney General Stark presented a Stockholm court with a long list of anti-Semitic statements the station broadcast.
In Washington, Lars Romert, press consul of the Swedish Embassy, said, “Freedom of the press in Sweden is absolute. But it’s against the law to discriminate against any ethnic group, any race, any minority group or any religious group.”
Cooper said this case will “showcase how there isn’t any distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.”