Syriac minister in Swedish government Ibrahim Baylan will not stand for re-election

STOCKHOLM – Syriac Minister in the Swedish government Ibrahim Baylan (49) has announced on Facebook and in a Twitter post, he will not run in next year’s Swedish elections. Baylan said that he “will always carry my commitment and conviction with me, like the enormous gratitude and love I feel for Sweden,” but will continue his career elsewhere.

The decision of the social democrat comes after turbulent political times for the government led by SocialDemokraterna leader and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Löfven has also announced he will step down.

The Suryoyo Ibrahim Baylan is currently Minister of Enterprise – the only Syriac minister in Sweden. Since 2004, he has headed several ministries. He has not disclosed his plans for the future, nor whether he will become involved in politics for the Syriacs. With his great political experience and network, he would be a great asset to Syriac politics.

Ibrahim Baylan and his family originate from the traditional Syriac village of Saleh in Tur Abdin, southeastern Turkey. His family moved from Tur Abdin to Sweden in 1982 – they settled in Norsborg where there is a large Suryoyo community. The last Syriac resident of Saleh Atiya Duran passed away in May 2021, at the age of 90. Duran stayed with her sister Manjo in Saleh, refusing the idea of emigrating despite the difficult situation in the region throughout the years.

Syriac Orthodox St Ephrem the Syriac, Södertälje. Image: Wikipedia

Sweden has a sizable Syriac population of some 150,000 Syriacs. It is one of the largest ethnic groups in Sweden. Syriacs are very successful and integrated with major Syriac communities in Södertälje, Örebro, Gothenburg, and in various suburbs of the capital Stockholm. Another example of the high degree of integration is that Syriacs have even requested to integrate part of their own history, i.e. the Sayfo Genocide of 1915, in official Swedish school books.

There are five Syriac Members of Parliament in the Swedish Riskdag: Tony Haddou (Left Party), Robert Hannah and Roger Haddad (both Liberalerna), Robert Halef (Kristdemokraterna), and Abraham Halef (Social Democrats).