A recent report has revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is well established in Sweden. The report -- written at the behest of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and commissioned precisely because of a lack of research on the MB in Sweden -- caused an outcry against the authors. Twenty Swedish academics, who specialize in Islam and Muslims, protested the report. They called it "substandard work", which did not take account of "the extensive research available about Islam and Muslims in Sweden".
According to the report, the MB has been operating in Sweden since the late 1970s in the guise of a number of Muslim-Swedish organizations, all centered around the Islamic Association in Sweden (IFIS), which itself was established in the mid-1990s as an organizational front for the MB.
IFIS has founded other organizations in Sweden, among which are Islamic Relief, Ibn Rush, and Sweden Young Muslims (SUM). These have not only given the MB a dominant position within so-called 'Muslim civil society' in Sweden, but also enabled it to amass considerable Swedish taxpayer funds that have helped consolidate its position.
The authors of the report conclude that the MB's activists are "building a parallel social structure, which poses a long-term challenge in terms of Sweden's future social cohesion". The authors are being most diplomatic.
According to the report, the Muslim Brotherhood in Sweden promotes:
"...a system of 'cultural pluralism', where every minority group is on the same level as the majority group... The ideal is... that Sweden should be organized in different 'groups', each group having the right to practice its particular values. The Swedish population should, even though it is in the majority, be a group among other groups: all groups should have the same status".
The prevalent idea of multiculturalism, and the accompanying identity politics, thus play directly into the hands of the MB. A video ad from a charity backed by the Swedish government constitutes a particularly blunt example of this kind of thinking. In it, Swedes are told,
"Sweden will never be what it once was. Sweden needs to be a safe space for refugees... It is time to realize that the New Swedes will claim their space. And bring their culture, language and habits. It is time to see this as a positive force... It is time to create a country together that is proud, inclusive and sustainable. Something new -- The New Country".
The last sentence is spoken by a young woman in a hijab.
There seems no reason for the hysterics among Swedish academics that the report appears to have provoked. In fact, they could easily fact-check the report simply by checking the website of the primary group mentioned in the report, the Islamic Association in Sweden (IFSI), which clearly states (at the bottom of the linked page) that it is a member of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE), generally acknowledged as an umbrella organization for local Muslim Brotherhood organizations from all over Europe.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2005, then-president of FIOE, Ahmet al-Rawi, said, when asked about ties with the MB, "We are interlinked with them with a common point of view. We have a good close relationship."
If Swedish academics purporting to study Islam actually followed news from the Middle East, they would also know that Egypt's former president, Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, when he became president of Egypt in 2012, included secretary general of the FIOE, Ayman Ali, on his presidential advisory board.
Not even Swedish academics should need further 'empirical' proof to see that the Islamic Association in Sweden's membership of FIOE constitutes de facto allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood. What Swedish academics are evidently ignorant of, however, is that the MB deliberately operates in a secretive manner. The UK government's experts, in their own review of the MB, published in December 2015, wrote that "from its foundation the Muslim Brotherhood organised itself into a secretive 'cell' structure...This clandestine, centralised and hierarchical structure persists to this day".
That deliberately opaque and secretive way of operating appears intended to create precisely the confusion and ignorance on the topic, evidently enfolding those academics who ought to know most about this topic. The obfuscation also makes it hard for authorities to crack down on the MB. As Mohammed Akif, the former General Guide and supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a former head of its Islamic Center of Munich, explained about the MB in an interview in 2005:
"We do not have an international organization; we have an organization through our perception of things. We are present in every country. Everywhere there are people who believe in the message of the Muslim Brothers. In France, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) does not belong to the organization of the Brothers. They follow their own laws and rules. There are many organizations that do not belong to the Muslim Brothers. For example, Shaykh al-Qaradawi. He is not a Muslim Brother, but he was formed according to the doctrine of the Brothers".
Formal membership with a card and a yearly subscription, Swedish-style, would probably not be the modus operandi of an organization working fundamentally to undermine societies in order to remake them in the image of Islam -- as tidy as that would 'empirically' make matters for Swedish academics.
The Swedish mainstream society would be wise to take this preliminary report extremely seriously, and not discard it. The Muslim Brotherhood is an organization the goal of which is to obtain an Islamic state, a caliphate, ruled by sharia -- and to bring about that state -- if necessary, by jihad. It is an organization the Egyptian branch of which called for jihad as recently as 2015, thus belying claims that the Muslim Brotherhood is 'peaceful'. As the murderous actions of Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood organization, clearly show, it is not.
Historically, the Muslim Brotherhood has spawned other terrorist organizations, such as Al Qaeda -- which, in turn, has spawned ISIS.
The Swedish headlines in March have been filled with news about the return of 150 ISIS fighters to Sweden. A Swedish minister has already said that they should be "integrated back into society".
The Swedes would do well to pay attention to the influence of extremist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, or the long-term result might not be what many Swedes would like.
Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
 The report was commissioned by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, a state authority, as a preliminary feasibility study, gauging the Muslim Brotherhood's influence in Sweden before engaging in further study and research.